Sharks recall forward Timo Meier

Sharks recall forward Timo Meier

Perhaps the Sharks’ best prospect in years can give the team an offensive jolt.

Timo Meier, the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, was recalled on Thursday and will join the team in Montreal. He’ll likely make his NHL debut on Friday night against the Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Meier leads the AHL Barracuda in goals with nine, and is third on the team with 15 points in 17 games. He’s plus-eight rating is tied for the team lead. 

The Sharks are potentially down a couple more forwards after Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win in Ottawa. Logan Couture was hit in the head by Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman on a dirty and dangerous cross-check in the third period, while Joonas Donskoi did not play despite taking warmups. It’s thought Donskoi is dealing with something minor, although he has struggled to produce this so far this season. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) remains out for at least next several weeks.

San Jose was likely going to recall Meier regardless of Couture’s injury, as Mirco Mueller was no longer needed as an eighth defenseman with David Schlemko and Marc-Edouard Vlasic both healthy enough to play against Ottawa on Wednesday. Meier would have been recalled earlier in the month, but came down with the flu.

The six-foot-three, 210-pound Meier is part of a deep 2015 draft class that has already made its mark on the NHL with names like Connor McDavid (Edmonton), Jack Eichel (Buffalo), Mitch Marner (Toronto) and Zach Werenski (Columbus). Meier is the only player among the top 11 picks overall that has yet to play a single NHL game.

The 20-year-old would have had a chance to make the Sharks’ opening night roster, but came down with mononucleosis in the first weekend of training camp, keeping him out of action for a month. He made his professional debut with the Barracuda on Oct. 28.

The Sharks will bring a three-game winning streak into Montreal on Friday, but still sit just 21st in the NHL with 2.43 goals-per game.

What rookie Antti Suomela's AHL stint means for Sharks' forwards


What rookie Antti Suomela's AHL stint means for Sharks' forwards

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks didn’t hold a practice Tuesday. But there still was news out of the South Bay, as Finnish rookie center Antti Suomela was reassigned to the AHL Barracuda for the first time this season.

The 24-year-old tallied eight points (three goals, five assists) in 27 NHL games since making the Sharks' roster out of training camp. It's unclear as of right now how much time Suomela -- who spent time centering the third and fourth lines -- will spend in the AHL. But the reassignment will, no doubt, give the Finn an opportunity to log game time.

Sharks fans likely noticed the absence of that No. 40 sweater recently, since Suomela was scratched two games in a row after Czech winger Lukas Radil was recalled from the AHL club.

Radil, who brings three years of KHL experience to his NHL campaign, scored his first NHL goal Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes. He also set up defenseman Radim Simek’s first NHL goal Monday against the New Jersey Devils.

Given Radil’s current success playing with Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson on the Sharks' fourth line, it wouldn’t make sense to take the line apart. So, instead of having Suomela practice with the Sharks and then having him post up in the press box on game night, it makes more sense for him to get some games in with the Barracuda. That way, he can stay fresh and get a bit of a boost from playing with the AHL club.

Suomela impressed in his first couple of NHL games as the third-line center, finding success with Evander Kane and fellow countryman Joonas Donskoi on his wings. He scored his last goal on Nov. 13 against the Nashville Predators -- one day after being a healthy scratch, no less -- and tallied his last assist four days later against the St. Louis Blues. He had not scored a point in his last seven games prior to his reassignment.

As with the length of Suomela’s reassignment, it’s also not entirely known how the Sharks’ fourth line will shake out. While Radil has found success through a couple of games playing with Goodrow and Karlsson, it’s also possible San Jose could recall another one of its rookie centers to play on that line. Forward Francis Perron, whom San Jose acquired in the Erik Karlsson trade, currently leads the Barracuda with 22 points, and he hasn't seen any NHL time yet.

There also has been speculation the Sharks could be in search of a fourth-liner ahead of the NHL trade deadline. While Joe Thornton’s move to third-line pivot has helped spread San Jose’s depth throughout the lineup, having another weapon in the bottom six would behoove the Sharks if they want to make a deep playoff run. If that’s the case, we likely won’t see members of this season’s rookie contingent recalled unless there’s an injury to one of the Sharks’ staple forwards.

In the meantime, Suomela will join the Barracuda as they travel to Southern California this upcoming weekend for games against the San Diego Gulls and the Ontario Reign. The Cuda currently leads the Pacific Division of the American Hockey League with 33 points, and a 15-3-1-2 record so far on their 2018-19 campaign.

Sharks ship Antti Suomela to AHL after back-to-back healthy scratches


Sharks ship Antti Suomela to AHL after back-to-back healthy scratches

SAN JOSE -- Antti Suomela has been a healthy scratch for the last two Sharks games. Now, the 24-year-old center will spend some time in the AHL.

The team announced Tuesday that the Finnish forward, who made the NHL roster out of training camp, has been reassigned to the San Jose Barracuda.

With the Sharks still toying with finding winning combinations in their bottom six, the move likely is to get Suomela some playing time so he isn’t practicing and then sitting up in the press box every game.

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The Sharks have made similar moves with their rookie centers this season, including Rourke Chartier, Dylan Gambrell and the more-recently recalled Lukas Radil -- who scored his first NHL career goal Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes.

Suomela has been a healthy scratch a couple times this season, but he bounced back from the first time by scoring a goal. He has sat out of back-to-back games, however, since Radil was recalled from the Barracuda.

Suomela, whom the Sharks signed last summer, has registered eight points (three goals, five assists) in 27 games played for Team Teal this season. It’s unclear at this time how long his stay at the AHL level will be.