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The San Jose Sharks have revealed their opening night roster, which can be seen below.
FORWARDS (13): Rudolfs Balcers, Alexander Barabanov, Nick Bonino, Andrew Cogliano, Logan Couture, Jonathan Dahlen, William Eklund, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, Matt Nieto, Lane Pederson, Jasper Weatherby
DEFENSE (7): Brent Burns, Mario Ferraro, Santeri Hatakka, Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Radim Simek, Marc-Edouard Vlasic
GOALIES (2): Adin Hill, James Reimer
INJURED RESERVE (1): Jeffrey Viel
NON-ROSTER (1): Evander Kane
In net, we don’t have any surprises. On the back end, five defenders were locks, though Nikolai Knyzhov, who played in all 56 of San Jose's games last year, is injured and was not listed on the roster. According to San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng, Knyzhov is likely to be placed on injured reserve.
Meanwhile, Jacob Middleton isn’t likely to be a long-term member of the lineup but he does have a little bit of NHL experience. Santeri Hatakka is the most interesting addition to the roster, given that he’s just 20 years old and doesn’t have any AHL experience. I’ve liked Hatakka in the limited action I’ve seen him in, but he’s still a surprising addition.
The forward group is by far the most interesting area to focus on. The Sharks have 13 forwards on the roster and nine of them should come as no surprise, given they all played with the Sharks last season. However, there are some very interesting additions, as well as omissions.
Notably, top prospect William Eklund is on the opening roster. A seventh-overall pick in this year's NHL Draft, Eklund put up great numbers in Sweden last season and if he can have an impact during a trial run, he could claim a permanent spot in the lineup. Jonathan Dahlen, who’s torn up Sweden’s second-highest professional league for the last two years, was also included on the roster and could finally look to win a spot in the NHL.
Two other interesting names are Lane Pederson, who was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in an offseason trade, and Jasper Weatherby, who comes straight from the NCAA. It’s pretty surprising the two forwards made the roster and even more surprising that Dylan Gambrell was waived and sent to the AHL in order for it to happen. Gambrell had spent the majority of the last two seasons with the Sharks and while he had failed to make an impact, it seemed likely that he’d at least have a roster spot.
John Leonard, who was a decent depth forward for the team last year, was also sent to the minors a little while ago. I’m a bit less enthused about that decision, given that Leonard was actually progressing relatively well in a limited role.
Some other notable omissions include Noah Gregor and Jonah Gadjovich, though Peng had noted in the tweet above that Gadjovich could take the last forward spot (given that only 22 players, rather than 23, are listed).
Jeffrey Viel was also placed on injured reserve but perhaps the most notable name not listed as part of the forward group is Evander Kane, who is listed as a non-roster player. Kane is currently under investigation by the league.
So the Sharks’ opening roster certainly came with some interesting decisions and we’ll have to see what happens from here. At the very least, the Sharks are seemingly going to be willing to try out some younger players in their lineup this year.
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