SAN JOSE – The Sharks’ roster has been a bit bare since last Monday’s trade deadline.
San Jose saw four players depart and only one added in forward Ben Smith from Chicago on March 2. That leaves 12 healthy forwards, or just enough to dress four complete lines.
It seems a bit strange that the Sharks, trying to get back into playoff position, wouldn’t have at least one extra body in town just in case a player were to get hurt in practice or during warm-ups. Just last week, Matt Irwin suffered a freak injury when he hurt himself taking a shot in practice and has now missed the last two games. Taylor Fedun was subsequently recalled from Worcester.
After the NHL trade deadline, each team is limited to four non-emergency recalls. Fedun’s was classified as an emergency, so it doesn’t count towards that number.
According to general manager Doug Wilson, the decision on whether to recall an extra forward is made by the coaching staff.
Todd McLellan gave his reasoning for that on Tuesday.
“We got into an emergency situation because of Matt Irwin’s injury, so we’ve used that recall there. We haven’t been in that situation with a forward,” he said.
“Moving forward, I think we’re going to need one at some point. But, the group that’s playing knows that they’re playing each night. They’re preparing for it, and as we need it, we’ll get it.”
Of course, if the Sharks were to lose a forward on late notice, they could always move Brent Burns up front and dress Fedun on defense. Considering Burns’ minutes have been slightly reduced lately, likely due to his ongoing erratic defensive play, it may be fair to wonder if that’s something the coaching staff is considering anyway.
In 69 games as a forward last season, Burns had 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points. While his scoring output is similar this season – he has 49 points in 67 games as a defenseman – Burns has a -3 rating, a big drop off from his +26 rating last year while playing primarily on the wing of Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.