San Jose Sharks News And Notes: Couture’s Status Clarified

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It’s been a very tough year for the San Jose Sharks as they’ve been hit hard by the injury bug throughout the 2015-16 season. San Jose suffered another blow on Wednesday night as Logan Couture missed the second half of the Sharks’ 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers after suffering a lower-body injury.

Many wondered if the injury was related to his fractured right ankle that had kept him out of action for an extended period of time as he had only returned to the ice the night before against the Calgary Flames.

Turns out Couture suffered a completely unrelated injury that will see him miss an indefinite amount of time.

General manager Doug Wilson announced that Couture suffered a right thigh injury that contained a small arterial bleed in that particular area. Wilson said Couture had a procedure to close the artery and he’s expected to make a full recovery; however, at this time, they don’t know how long Couture will be out.

Wilson reiterated this was a separate injury than before, and he doesn’t believe the injury to be long term.

It’s another tough blow for Couture who has only managed to appear in five games this season, posting two assists. Coming off a career-high 67-point season last year, big things were expected from Couture, who was also named as an alternate captain for the first time.

Instead, he now faces another recovery period, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t make an appearance until after the new year

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Ben Smith, Marc-Edouard Vlasic Near Return

On the flip side, another injured Sharks player inches closer to a permanent return as forward Ben Smith was assigned to the San Jose Barracuda for a conditioning assignment.

Smith took a puck off the side of his head back on Oct. 17 in a game against the New York Islanders which forced him to receive around 20 stitches. Smith returned 11 days later and played in two games, but has missed the past 18 games as he’s been dealing with concussion symptoms.

He’s another one of San Jose’s forwards who’s had a tough luck season to date, but maybe now he is fully back and ready to go following his assignment with the Barracuda.

Also, it appears that Marc-Edouard Vlasic is close to returning to the Sharks lineup as well as he was practicing with the team on Friday morning.

This is big news for San Jose if Vlasic can return for their matchup with the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night. The Sharks have struggled mightily on defense in Vlasic’s absence as San Jose allowed four goals in each of the three games that he missed since suffering the injury against the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 4.

Needless to say, the Sharks will gladly welcome him back into the lineup.

Ryan Carpenter Gets His Shot, Mirco Mueller Sent Down

With the Couture news, the Sharks decided to call up forward Ryan Carpenter from the Barracuda, while sending Mirco Mueller back to the AHL.

It’s a well-deserved move for Carpenter who leads the Barracuda with 18 points (two goals and 16 assists) in 20 games thus far. In only his second professional season, Carpenter leads San Jose with a plus-12 rating.

Next: Barclay Goodrow Leads The Way For San Jose Barracuda

Meanwhile, this will be the fourth occasion already this season in which Mueller has been called up and sent back down to the Barracuda.

He clearly needs more time to develop at the AHL level, but injuries have forced the Sharks, with their lack of defensive depth, to continue to bring back the youngster.

In 10 games with the Sharks, Mueller has failed to register a point with a minus-four rating in 10:34 of ice time. In seven games with the Barracuda, he’s posted one goal and two assists with a plus-four rating.