A number of tweets mentioning young Sharks goaltender Alexei Melnichuk began circulating late on Saturday night, as the St. Louis Blues managed to find the back of the net seven times in regulation, the fourth time this season the Sharks have allowed at least six goals.
Devan Dubnyk allowed all seven of the St. Louis goals in a 7-6 loss, dropping his save percentage to .892 on the season. Despite many fans calling for the 22-year-old Melnichuk to get some time in the net, Sharks coach Bob Boughner explained why he wants the up-and-comer to get some more reps before getting him back on the ice.
"He's a big part of the future of this team, the plan would be for him to get some games with the Barracuda, which I know the Barracuda are going on an upcoming road trip, and I think that's the plan to get him into some game action first," Boughner told reporters Sunday morning. "I think the plan is to flip those guys and get some games for Melnichuk, but of course, yeah I think that is a big part of the future, and if we think he's ready to make a difference and help the team out, then of course he's going to get his chance."
Melnichuk has made one appearance with the Sharks this season, going a perfect 5-0 on save chances in a Feb. 11 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
With both Dubnyk and Martin Jones well below .900 save percentages, calls for Melnichuk to get some chances in the NHL aren't likely to cease anytime soon.
The Sharks occupy the bottom of the Honda West Division standings with just 16 points, and will need stronger defense and play at the net to climb back up the ladder.