SAN JOSE – For better or worse, the Sharks haven’t deviated from their season-long plan of integrating younger players into the lineup.
Of course, playing time for one prospect means a reduced role for someone else.
Lately, that someone else has been Tyler Kennedy. The 28-year-old forward has been a healthy scratch in each of the last two games, as San Jose has opted to play rookie forwards Chris Tierney, Daniil Tarasov, Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson ahead of the former Stanley Cup winner.
A pending unrestricted free agent that still possesses offensive talent, Kennedy is a prime candidate to get moved before the NHL’s trade deadline on March 2. In 20 games, he has four goals and five assists for nine points and a +5 rating.
“The trade deadline is always an unsure time,” said Kennedy, who was acquired by the Sharks for a second round pick in the 2013 offseason. “It’s part of hockey. It’s a business. You’ve got to understand that and just go about your business, and if something happens, something happens. But, I’m happy to be here and I like it here.”
Despite dealing with four separate injuries this season on top of his being an occasional healthy scratch, Kennedy has kept an upbeat attitude. He skated on Sunday and was one of the last players off of the ice, as he works to get back into the lineup.
“I think it’s part of being a good teammate to be positive and not get down on yourself or be grumpy around here,” Kennedy said. “It’s tough, because we have such a good team and good players coming up. You see the young guys, they’re really good players. I believe in myself, and I’ve just got to go to work every day with a positive attitude, and make sure I’m doing the best I can.”
There’s a good chance Kennedy will draw back into the lineup on Monday against the Flames, depending on the health status of Tommy Wingels (left hand), and Tarasov, who didn’t skate Sunday after missing some time in Saturday’s game after a blocked shot.
“I’ve just got to make sure I’m ready,” Kennedy said. “I think that’s the biggest thing for me is to make sure I’m acting professionally, and make sure I’m supporting the guys. When I’m called upon, make sure I do my job.”