SAN JOSE - The Sharks placed Marc-Edouard Vlasic on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Mirco Mueller on Monday.
Vlasic, who was hit in the face with a shot on Dec. 30 against Philadelphia and didn’t play on Saturday in Los Angeles, will miss at least Tuesday’s rematch against the Kings and Thursday’s game with the Wild, both at SAP Center.
He does not require surgery, though, and coach Pete DeBoer said he’s “optimistic after that” that Vlasic could return by Saturday’s home game against Detroit.
Vlasic tweeted out a picture on New Year’s Day, showing the damage that was done by Shayne Gostisbehere’s slap shot that deflected up into his face off of Joel Ward’s stick in the final minute of the Sharks’ 2-0 win.
Happy New Year! Thank you for all the kind messages. Doing well, I've got these 4 girls taking care of me. pic.twitter.com/nEcWIWvI68— Marc-Édouard Vlasic (@Vlasic44) January 2, 2017
San Jose is 1-1 this season without Vlasic, beating the Maple Leafs in a shootout on Dec. 13, 3-2, and losing to the Kings on Saturday, 3-2. In 35 games, he has nine points (3g, 6a), a plus-one rating and 31 penalty minutes.
Mueller, who has yet to make his NHL season debut, has no goals and eight assists in 25 games with the AHL Barracuda this season. The former first round pick in 2013 was recalled from Dec. 11-14, but did not play. In 50 career NHL games, Mueller has one goal and three assists for four points and a minus-12 rating.
He could play on Tuesday, as defenseman David Schlemko is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Schlemko did not practice on Monday and is questionable for the Kings game.
“We’ll see tomorrow when Schlemko wakes up,” DeBoer said. “These types of things test the depth of the whole organization. So far we’ve passed those tests, for the most part. I know as a coaching staff we feel real comfortable with the guys we bring in here, like Mirco.”
Mueller, who is himself sporting a beat up face after getting hit by teammate Danny O’Regan’s stick on Saturday in the Barracuda game, has been playing in all situations for coach Roy Sommer’s AHL team.
“I think I’ve been getting a lot of trust from Roy, a lot of ice time, which definitely helps your confidence and your play in general,” Mueller said.
The 21-year-old played in just one NHL game in the calendar year of 2016 – last season’s finale on April 9.
“There’s a lot of guys that are playing here on the back end right now. It’s a pretty stacked D,” he said. “I’ve just got to be patient myself, and play the best I can.”
Mueller skated with Dylan DeMelo on Monday, while Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun were paired together.