SAN JOSE – Although he is still not skating yet, the Sharks expect injured defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to return for the playoffs.

Vlasic, who has a lower body injury and has been spotted wearing a right knee brace, will travel with San Jose on Friday on its final road trip of the season to Nashville and Minnesota. He was seen walking with a slight limp at SAP Center after Monday’s game against Los Angeles.

“He’s going to travel with us, which is good news,” said Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott on Thursday morning, filling in for Pete DeBoer. “He’ll be able to be around our people on this road trip. When he gets back [is] up to our medical team. Obviously with Marc-Edouard, he’ll have to make the final decision when he feels he’s ready, but he will travel so that’s good news.”

Is Vlasic, who has been out since March 17, expected back for the first playoff game in approximately two weeks?

“That’s the plan. It is. I think if anything he’d like to try and get in before the playoffs if it’s possible, but again, that’s going to be up to the medical team and how Marc-Edouard feels, but I think that’s his goal,” Spott said.

“If anything, he’s had a good rest during this time, because we’re going to need him in the playoffs, and that’s the focus right now.”

In 67 games, Vlasic has 39 points (8g, 31a) and a plus-15 rating.


Matt Nieto, out with a right hand injury, is able to skate, and did so again on Thursday. He was hurt blocking a shot in the same game that Vlasic went down.

“He’s skating hard and working hard, so that’s the good news,” Spott said. “When he does get back it will be a seamless transition, so just a matter now of when he can get back in the lineup. His legs are going to be underneath him, so that’s huge.”

Nieto, who has 17 points (8g, 9a) in 67 games, will also accompany the Sharks on their road trip.