Jonny Brodzinski

Why Patrick Marleau signing could be just start of Sharks roster moves

Why Patrick Marleau signing could be just start of Sharks roster moves

It's hard to imagine the Sharks making a bigger roster move than they did this week when they brought Patrick Marleau back on a one-year contract.

But Marleau's return likely is just the beginning. The Sharks are tight against the salary cap and, given the team's 0-4-0 start this season, it's very possible more players on the current roster could be on the move.

San Jose already waived forward Jonny Brodzinski to make room for Marleau on Wednesday. That, in all honesty, is kind of surprising, given Brodzinski has been one of the more impressive players out of San Jose's crop of newcomers. But considering Brodzinski's reported $700,000 contract value reportedly is identical to Marleau's, the move appears to be more about money than anything else. If Brodzinski clears waivers, he could play for the Barracuda in the AHL this upcoming weekend. 

Keep in mind, though, that the 26-year-old forward is also one of 10 Sharks who can become unrestricted free agents after the season. Given how determined the Sharks currently appear to want to right the ship four games into the season, that structure means flexibility for more moves.

Despite Marleau's emotional reunion, the Sharks clearly aren't going to be sentimental when it comes to making adjustments. San Jose's integration of younger players will take time, but these early-season moves show Sharks aren't looking to take a year off of contending.

If that means changing up the roster after just four regular-season games, then so be it.

The next question, of course, is just how quickly these moves will help the Sharks on the ice. Marleau's best days are behind him, but San Jose could use an offensive boost from its former captain. 

[RELATED: Marleau 'extremely emotional' upon re-joining Sharks]

As NBC Sports California statistician Darin Stephens noted, San Jose has been historically snake-bitten through four games. 

If the Sharks can't quickly get on the other side of history after adding Marleau onto their roster, they'll have no choice but to make more changes. 

What Sharks' newcomers will contribute to start of 2019-20 NHL season

bergmannus.jpg
USATSI

What Sharks' newcomers will contribute to start of 2019-20 NHL season

The San Jose Sharks' contingent of newcomers was whittled down from a large grouping to a select few over the last week of the preseason. And those players who got to continue fighting for a job in the final two games before the the 2019-20 opener have shown us what they can bring to the table.

Sure, it might be easy to dwell on what happened in the final tuneup game -- a forgettable but fight-filled 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. But make no mistake, these are the players primed to fill in roles for San Jose as the season starts.

Here's what you need to know about the Sharks' arsenal of newcomers ahead of Wednesday's season-opener at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and what they can bring to the lineup at this start of the season.

Lean Bergmann

In a preseason where many of San Jose's prospects didn't stick out as being ready for the NHL, Bergmann made his presence known. At just 20 years old, the German winger has both the size and the speed to compete against more seasoned NHL forwards.

Bergmann -- who hasn't shied away from saying he's gotten into a scrap or two in his hockey career -- even ranked third on the team in Sunday evening's preseason finale with two hits against a tough Golden Knights lineup.

Look for Bergmann to be a player that helps fill out San Jose's bottom six. Even when he isn't getting on the scoreboard, Bergmann helps push back the opposition and creates room for his linemates. He's looked confident skating on San Jose's fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson, and brings an added boost of physicality.

Mario Ferraro

The 21-year-old defenseman was already one of the most talked-about rookies heading into training camp. He then went above and beyond to prove he was ready to play in the NHL. With Radim Simek not quite ready to return to game action, Ferraro has earned a spot filling in San Jose's blueline.

One trait that makes this rookie such a useful weapon in the Sharks' arsenal is that DeBoer isn't limited with who the energetic young defenseman plays with. Through the final two preseason games, Ferraro skated alongside Tim Heed and Dalton Prout, but also took a couple of shifts with Brent Burns.

If the team isn't playing well and coach Peter DeBoer decides to mix up his line combinations and defensive pairs, Ferraro can pencil into different roles. 

Jonny Brodzinski

While he has 54 NHL games on his resume, Brodzinski is new to the Sharks after spending the bulk of his career playing in the LA Kings organization. At 26 years old, the Minnesota native is older than his fellow newcomers. Nevertheless, he's demonstrated hustle throughout the preseason that can add another dimension to the Sharks' offense.

Brodzinski looks to be a player that will help fill out San Jose's bottom six, but could also be a forward DeBoer moves throughout the lineup if he decides to throw his combos in the blender. He was moved around a bit when things went south for the Sharks in their loss to Vegas on Sunday.

Danil Yurtaikin

The Russian forward is something of a sleeper coming out of this year's training camp. San Jose signed the speedy 22-year-old as a free agent back in April, and he's since opened eyes -- not to mention scoring the Sharks' lone goal in their preseason finale against the Golden Knights.

What Bergmann brings to the Sharks' offense in physicality, Yurtaikin brings in speed. He's an explosive skater who can add match up well against skill-heavy offenses. He'll more likely be a skater DeBoer takes in and out of the lineup depending on what roster the Sharks are facing.

Dylan Gambrell

He wasn't in the lineup for San Jose's preseason finale. But this is a player you'll be seeing more of.

While not a completely new face to Sharks' fans, Gambrell is getting his first season start at the NHL level. After a slow start to the preseason, the versatile forward got an offensive jolt in last Thursday's game against the Calgary Flames, notching two goals while on a line with Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane. 

DeBoer's big note for Gambrell following that Thursday night contest was that he wants to see more consistency from the Washington native. If Gambrell can successfully build on the strides he made in his last preseason appearance, we'll be seeing more of him as the regular season gets underway. 

Jonny Brodzinski's audition for Sharks roster spot off to good start

Jonny Brodzinski's audition for Sharks roster spot off to good start

SAN JOSE - When Jonny Brodzinski played on the Ontario Reign during the 2016-17 season, he regularly faced a San Jose Barracuda roster consisting of Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, and Marcus Sorensen -- among other names familiar to Sharks fans.

Now, the 26-year-old out of Minnesota is sporting the same teal sweater as the aforementioned players while the Sharks preseason gets underway. 

Heck, he and Sorensen are even playing on a line together to kick off training camp.

"I played against a lot of these guys, yeah," Brodzinski reflected after Tuesday evening's preseason game. "Played against a lot of them and now we're teammates. It's exciting."

The Sharks have roster spots to fill on offense and having a player with Brozinski's skillset could help fill out their forward attack. While Sharks' bench boss Peter DeBoer insisted he isn't penciling in his final roster just yet, he's impressed with what he sees from Brodzinski so far.

"He's got a great shot, he's got good speed, he works hard," DeBoer observed. "He's auditioning for some pretty big roles we have open here. He's one of a handful of guys here where tonight was the start of that audition."

The coach was right. Although Tuesday's contest against the Anaheim Ducks ended in a 4-3 loss, it did help kickstart observing the talents of San Jose's roster hopefuls. And Brodzinski's resume was on display. 

Following an NCAA career at St. Cloud State where he posted 112 points (64 goals, 48 assists) and a plus-42 -- and helped lead the Huskies to their first Frozen Four appearance in 2013-- Brodzinski spent four seasons with the Reign and occasionally got recalled to play for the Kings. The 6-foot-1 winger spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between the AHL and NHL as he developed his game, building himself up to be a regular goal-scorer.

That scoring consistency, mixed with the element of speed Brodzinksi demonstrated in Tuesday evening's game, could be one piece of the puzzle pieces the Sharks are looking for to bolster their bottom six.

Brodzinski may still be in the audition phase of his tenure in teal, but he's also getting some veteran guidance along the way. Playing wing opposite Sorensen also means he's spent the start of the preseason on a line with Joe Thornton. Sharks' general manager Doug Wilson said ahead of training camp how excited the organization was that No. 19 would be around for another season to help usher in the next wave of new players -- much like Thornton did with Sorensen last season. So far, Brodzinski is getting that exact opportunity.

"All of those guys, especially Joe, are pretty easy to play with," Brodzinski complimented. "He sees the ice really, really well."

This isn't to say the line combinations won't get mixed up at some point before the regular season starts. DeBoer isn't one to get too attached to combos and pairs, no matter what time of year it is. For the time being, though, Brozinski is trying to figure out how he can best contribute to that line.

[RELATED: Martin Jones aims to prove himself again]

"Those guys have a lot of chemistry already," he said of Thornton and Sorensen. "So, I'm just trying to mesh. Find the way that they play and try to acclimate my game as much as I can to the way they play.

"Now I just have to take this opportunity and run with it."