NHL

Sharks make final roster trims before opening regular season in LA

We are finally just a day away from the opening of the 2014-2015 NHL season and the Sharks have made their final roster decisions before heading to LaLaLand and watching the Kings raise their championship banner.

So for those of you who aren’t glued to post-season baseball because you’re too busy anxiously counting down the minutes until puck drop on Wednesday night, here is a look at how the Sharks trimmed their roster before they hit the road for LA:

Offense

It was a long shot that the young line of Barclay Goodrow, Chris Tierney and Nikolay Goldobin would all make the Sharks opening night roster, despite the chemistry they displayed in preseason play.

Fans will at least get to see one of the three suited up for the start of the season.

The Sharks announced Monday that they had assigned their 2014 first round draft pick to HIFK of the Finnish Elite League for the upcoming season to, as Doug Wilson said in the team’s Monday afternoon release, continue his development “similar to the path Tomas Hertl took.” Sure, it’s a bummer after the 19-year-old forward looked good in camp — albeit looking nervous as heck against the Kings last Tuesday — but the hope is that he’ll get more “seasoning” in Europe and be ready for the NHL next season.

Goodrow sustained a hand injury stemming from San Jose’s final preseason tilt against the Anaheim Ducks. He joins the company of Raffi Torres, James Sheppard and Tyler Kennedy, all forwards who will miss the start of the regular season.

That leaves Tierney, who could potentially start the season on a third line combo between Tommy Wingels and newcomer Tye McGinn. Although it wouldn’t be surprising if that line is tinkered with over the first few games, given that the Sharks really don’t have their bottom six set in stone.

Defense

Nobody actually needed to wait until the Tuesday afternoon deadline for roster cuts to know defenseman Mirco Mueller would make the opening night bill. It was almost guaranteed following San Jose’s Monday morning roster cuts that the 2013 first round draft pick would be suiting up in teal for the season opener against the Kings.

But when news broke Monday morning that prospect Taylor Doherty was put on waivers — he cleared waivers Tuesday and was assigned to the Worcester Sharks, the team reported Tuesday — and that Taylor Fedun was reassigned to the Sharks’ AHL club, it was a sure sign that the 19-year-old Swiss d-man was a lock for a roster spot.

Mueller was already a favorite headed into training camp, and added to his stock with speed and confidence during preseason games–he was one of the few prospects that didn’t look rattled against the large Kings offensive lines last Tuesday. He logged playing time paired with Brent Burns during the last part of exhibition play and will likely be on the blue line with Burns when the season starts.

Reassignment to AHL camp isn’t a knock on Fedun, who registered an assist on Joe Thornton’s goal against the Kings at the Tank last week. He’ll get more developmental work and play time in Worcester. Plus, knowing that a player like Fedun is available to call up should someone in San Jose get injured is very reassuring.

The Sharks and their assembled roster face off against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings on Wednesday, October 8. Puck drop at Staples Center is scheduled for 7 pm.

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