Programming note: The Sharks' season opener in Los Angeles against the Kings is Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
UPDATE (Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.): The Sharks general manager Doug Wilson announced that the club has assigned Taylor Doherty to the Worcester Sharks, the team's top development affiliate in the American Hockey League.
Doherty, 23, was selected with the 57th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft by the Sharks. He has played the last three-plus seasons with Worcester.
SAN JOSE – All summer long, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said his team was going to get younger by the time the season rolled around.
The final 2014-15 roster shows he wasn’t kidding.
Rookies Mirco Mueller, 19, Chris Tierney, 20, and Barclay Goodrow, 21, have all made the club out of camp, while guys like Tye McGinn, 24, and Eriah Hayes, 26, are also still Sharks now that training camp has officially concluded.
“We provided them the opportunity, they came in and they earned the spots on this team that we said we would provide for them,” Wilson said. “They’ve made the team on performance. That’s the way it should be.”
Along with second year players like 20-year-old Tomas Hertl and 21-year-old Matt Nieto, Wilson said his team would be one of the youngest in the NHL when the season gets going on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
“Until you saw what the lineup was going to be, it was conjecture. Now, you see where it is,” Wilson said.
Goodrow won’t be in the opening night lineup, as he’s recovering from a hand injury he suffered while blocking a shot in the Sharks’ final preseason game. He’s not officially on the 23-man roster due to the injury, but he’s expected to assume the left wing on a third line with Tierney and Tommy Wingels once he gets healthy. That’s where he would have started against the Kings.
Instead, it will be McGinn in that spot, while the fourth line is unclear. The Sharks’ top six will be Joe Thornton centering Hertl and Joe Pavelski, while Logan Couture will play with Nieto and Patrick Marleau.
Mueller is likely going to be with Brent Burns on defense. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun form the top pair, and Matt Irwin and Jason Demers will skate together as the third pair.
The youngsters will get plenty of minutes.
Wilson said: “We believed in these players, but they had to come in and prove it to their teammates and their coaches. They’ve done that. There’s no reason why they can’t continue to do it.”
The Sharks will start with three players on injured reserve in Raffi Torres (right knee), James Sheppard (left knee) and Tyler Kennedy (upper body). Only Torres will be out long term, as Sheppard and Kennedy have rejoined the Sharks for practice.
When they get healthy, decisions will have to be made.
“Sometimes the freshmen, or sophomores or juniors make the team, and the senior gets bumped out. That’s the nature of this game,” Wilson said. “But, the players that we have that have come in see the game and think the game and are mature, and have the game to play with the details.”
Forwards: Mike Brown, Adam Burish, Logan Couture, Andrew Desjardins, Barclay Goodrow (non-roster/injured), Eriah Hayes, Tomas Hertl, Tyler Kennedy (IR), Patrick Marleau, Tye McGinn, Matt Nieto, Joe Pavelski, John Scott, James Sheppard (IR), Joe Thornton, Chris Tierney, Raffi Torres (IR), Tommy Wingels.
Defense: Justin Braun, Brent Burns, Jason Demers, Scott Hannan, Matt Irwin, Mirco Mueller, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
Goalies: Antti Niemi, Alex Stalock.