SAN JOSE – Marc-Edouard Vlasic is still day-to-day with a lower body injury, but it appears unlikely he will return at any point during the Sharks’ six-game homestand that concludes early next week.
Head coach Pete DeBoer offered the following update on the Sharks’ essential defenseman on Tuesday morning:
“I think everyone is positive he’s going to be back [before playoffs],” DeBoer said. “The good news is with [Dylan] DeMelo playing the way he is, we don’t have to rush him and push him back in earlier than he needs to get back in. The key for him is that he’s healthy come playoff time, but he’ll be back before that.”
“I would term it day-to-day, but it could be a week, it could be 10 days.”
Vlasic is still not skating, and DeBoer had no timeframe as to when the 28-year-old would get back on the ice after he was injured in a collision with Shane Doan on March 17 in Arizona.
“That’s in the doctors and therapists hands. Again, it’s not long term. I don’t know exactly when he’ll start that process,” DeBoer said.
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The Sharks have done just fine without Vlasic so far, beating the Rangers on Saturday and Coyotes on Sunday, allowing just one goal over the two wins.
As DeBoer mentioned, DeMelo has played admirably while slotted in Vlasic’s place with Justin Braun on what would probably be considered the team’s third pair. Paul Martin and Brent Burns, and Brenden Dillon and Roman Polak have served as the top two pairs.
DeMelo had not played an NHL game since Feb. 22 before returning on Saturday, getting bumped down the depth chart after San Jose acquired Polak just before the trade deadline. He was eventually reassigned to the AHL to play some games with the Barracuda.
The 22-year-old received a glowing review from his coach on Tuesday.
“He’s picked right up from when he left the lineup. I think he’s having an exceptional rookie year,” DeBoer said. “For him to jump in with Brauny there, it allowed us to keep the other two pairs together where we foresee our pairs being. We didn’t have to jumble everybody up, and they’ve both done a real good job.”
A right-handed shot, DeMelo is currently playing the left side where Vlasic typically skates.
“He’s as outfitted as anybody skill-wise, IQ–wise and composure-wise to be able to do that,” DeBoer said. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”
The Sharks host the Blues on Tuesday night, Oilers on Thursday and Stars on Saturday before the homestand concludes with the Kings on Monday, March 28.