The Sharks had a day off Monday after their long road trip. But there was still news coming out of San Jose as the team announced they reassigned forward Dylan Gambrell to the Barracuda. He is expected to play for the AHL club Monday evening when they host the Tucson Roadrunners at SAP Center.
Gambrell was called up to the big club during the Sharks’ recent five-game road trip when Joe Thornton left the trip and was placed on injured reserve. It is possible Gambrell is simply getting game time in, since he did not start for the Sharks while he was on the road with them.
Prior to being recalled, the 22-year-old forward was a key piece to the Barracuda’s season-opening win over the Ontario Reign, recording three points (2g, 1a) in that game before joining the Sharks on the road. The University of Denver product made his NHL debut for San Jose last April, playing in three games at the end of the 2017-18 regular season.
[RELATED: Sharks not panicking]
Joe Thornton played in the Sharks’ first two games of the regular season but left at the start of their five-game road trip due to an infection in his surgically-repaired knee. The team has not given a timetable as to when the 39-year-old forward will rejoin the team. Before being placed on IR, Thornton registered an assist in the Sharks’ 3-2 overtime win over the LA Kings on Friday October 5.
Thornton is currently ranked 16th overall on the NHL’s All-Time Points Leaders list, 29 points shy of tying Teemu Selanne at 1,457 points.
After going 1-1-1 on home ice, the San Jose Sharks are looking to regain their recent dominance on the road as they make a stop in Pittsburgh to duke it out with the Penguins.
The Sharks are coming off a disappointing overtime loss to the Boston Bruins. San Jose rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a third-period lead thanks to a hat trick from Joe Thornton. But after Boston tied the game up late in regulation in debatable fashion, they notched the game-winner in OT to beat the Sharks 6-5.
San Jose enters Thursday’s game with 78 points in the standings, three points behind the Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division.
The Penguins, for their part, are coming off a 4-3 road win over the New Jersey Devils, going 5-4-1 in their last 10 contests. Pittsburgh currently sits in third place in the Metropolitan between the Washington Capitals and division-leading New York Islanders.
[NHL trade deadline: What Sharks fans need to know before February 25]
This is the second and final time the Sharks will face the Penguins this year, after defeating them 5-2 in San Jose on January 15. In 40 total meetings between the franchises, San Jose holds a 20-15-3-2 regular season record.
Sharks projected lines and pairs
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joe Pavelski
Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow – Micheal Haley – Melker Karlsson
Radim Simek – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Erik Karlsson
Martin Jones – projected starter
Penguins projected lines and pairs
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
Zach Aston-Reese – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel
Jared McCann – Nick Bjugstad – Patric Hornqvist
Tanner Pearson – Matt Cullen – Dominik Simon
Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Jack Johnson – Justin Schultz
Marcus Pettersson – Chad Ruhwedel
Casey DeSmith – projected starter
The NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching. There's already been some movement on the Sharks' front, and it appears more may be coming down the pipe.
According to John Hoven of Mayor's Manor, the Sharks and Ducks are involved in trade discussions surrounding Anaheim goaltender Ryan Miller.
The Sharks (35-17-8) possess the second-best record in the Western Conference, sitting a single point behind Calgary, but goaltending is a potential area of improvement. San Jose ranks dead-last in 5-on-5 save percentage (.897) per Natural Stat Trick, while Aaron Dell (.907) and Martin Jones (.881) rank 55th and 67th among the 68 goalies who played 500 minutes at full strength this season.
Miller has posted a 6-2-1 record with a 2.39 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 12 games in a backup role for the Ducks this season. He's appeared in 57 career playoff games, considerably more than both Jones and Dell combined (44 games).
[RELATED: Here's what Sharks fans need to know before trade deadline]
The Sharks aren't exactly loaded with assets to send the other way in a potential trade, but if it costs San Jose just a third-round pick as Hoven suggests, perhaps they'd find that palatable.
In any case, it appears as if the Sharks aren't entirely comfortable with their current goaltending situation.