San Jose Sharks prepare to host the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Shark Tank

Mar 14, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Kent Johnson (91) beats San
Mar 14, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Kent Johnson (91) beats San / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Another battle for draft position tonight. The Sharks rarely get to take on a team that is somewhere around them in the positioning for the draft. Still, the Columbus Blue Jackets are another bottom-feeding team looking to try and stabilize a season debilitated by injuries. After firing general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, the Blue Jackets will be taking a new direction as they approach the trade deadline.

As for the Sharks, the game plan is the same. Look for any positives to take away from those who will be moving on at the trade deadline while getting growth from the younger players on the roster. As we get closer to the start of the chaos and mayhem of March eighth, there is going to be a lot of turnover on the roster, so now is the best chance the Sharks will have to inflate the values of their trade pieces and make someone desire them more than they already do.

For the lineup tonight, Nikita Okhotiuk is expected to return to the fold on the blueline as Kyle Burroughs comes out. Getting all of the young ones into the roster is going to be important for the rebuilding Sharks as they try to essemble a young core for the future. Kaapo Kahkonen will get the nod between the pipes after his 39 saved on 40 shots in Winnipeg when the Sharks were shutout.

Projected Lineups

San Jose Sharks

Fabian Zetterlund - Mikael Granlund - Anthony Duclair
Alexander Barbanov - William Eklund - Luke Kunin
Kevin Labanc - Nico Sturm - Filip Zadina
Justin Bailey - Ryan Carpenter - Mike Hoffman
Mario Ferraro - Jan Rutta
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Ty Emberson
Nikita Okhotiuk - Henry Thrun
Kaapo Kahkonen
Mackenzie Blackwood

Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau - Boone Jenner - Jack Roslovic
Yegor Chinakhov - Dmitry Voronkov - Kirill Marchenko
Kent Johnson - Cole Sillinger - Emil Bemstrom
Alexandre Texier - Sean Kuraly - Justin Danforth
Zach Werenski - Adam Boqvist
Ivan Provorov - Damon Severson
Jake Bean - Erik Gudbranson
Elvis Merzlikins
Daniil Tarasov

Puck Drop

A traditional 7:30 puck drop will suit the Sharks as they return to the SAP Center. The Sharks are coming off that dominant display by Filip Zadina in Calgary that won the Sharks the game while the Jackets are trying to right their own ship after firing their general manager. These are two teams that are hoping for the first overall pick and the right to draft Macklin Celebrini, and it's from the Shark Tank tonight.