The San Jose Sharks took their first road trip of season heading up north to take on the Calgary Flames in their second game in two nights.
That was definitely a game of preseason hockey. In spite of the sloppy play the San Jose Sharks still have a lot to take from their 6 – 4 loss at the Saddle dome.
Much like the first contest San Jose iced a young group of skaters mixed with a couple NHL regulars. This made for a high scoring contest with not many stoppages in play. Here’s what stood out the most in this back and forth affair versus their division rival.
Depth on Display – While much of San Jose’s media hype has been surrounding the prospects making their debut in the Bay Area. The Sharks reminded us that they have had skilled players already on their AHL squad the Barracuda that may have been overlooked in 2018 – 2019.
Jayden Halbgewach played in 64 games for the Barracuda last season accumulating 35 points in the process. The 21-year-old is no stranger to scoring especially in juniors. And in this game he put those skills on display compiling 2 assists while exhibiting strong play along the boards and also providing an effective net front presence despite his small stature.
Playing alongside Halbgewach for most of the game was Manuel Wiederer. The German native has spent the last two seasons on the Barracuda but hasn’t caught much traction in his 91 games in Teal. Nevertheless, against the Flames he netted two goals and dictated play with his line mates for much of the night.
This isn’t to say that these skaters are the ones who will take the spots on the Sharks 23 man roster, although anything is possible when a team is doing everything it takes to win. Still it’s good to see players like these two get rewarded for their hard work and ability to play the style of hockey that the Sharks have instilled organization wide.
More Names to Deal With – There were a few other notable prospects who made a strong case for ice time with the Sharks. Ivan Chekhovich demonstrated that he can get to the dangerous areas of the ice scoring 2 points with a goal and an assist. Lean Bergmann the other German on Team Teal scored early with a stand alone wrist shot at the top of slot.
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It’s still unclear who the Sharks are favoring out of this group of skaters. But there’s still plenty of time to sort through this mess with 4 preseason games remaining on the schedule.
The Gamble of Gambrell – At the start of training camp it’s been made clear that the Sharks are going to give Dylan Gambrell an opportunity to take a spot in the top six of this lineup. However after a lackluster showing in this game against the Flames his future with the big club is uncertain.
The 22-year-old led the Barracuda in points per game rate last season. But in this match-up the forward looked lost playing along Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl. It’s unclear if they’ll try Gambrell in that role again but it’s likely that a different skater will be given a shot to take those top six minutes the next time those two gets iced into a line-up.
Looking really swell for Aaron Dell – Antoine Bibeau started tonight’s game for the Sharks in net. While he made a few decent stops and had a tough task of tracking one of the leagues best scorers in Johnny Gaudreau. Overall the 25-year-old netminder looked a little rusty in his first start of the 2019 – 2020.
Bibeau allowed 5 goals on 20 shots in what was a wild game for both goalies. Still if he or Josef Korenar have any intentions of threatening for the back-up role they’ll need to put together better starts than the two previous contests.
There is still plenty of time to evaluate things in the upcoming weeks. In these next few games we should anticipate seeing the Sharks testing out their power play and potentially see a start from Martin Jones. Until then it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the amount of players attending camp shrinks in the next few days.