San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner has liked what he has seen from Alexander Barabanov since the Sharks acquired him 11 months ago.
“I think his game has grown since we got him last year,” Boughner said yesterday. “He came in and immediately made an impact. We got him in that trade at the deadline, and I think that helped our skill level.”
The 27-year-old notched seven points in nine games after the Sharks acquired him from Toronto for Antti Suomela at the last Trade Deadline. The second-year winger has continued his success this year with 29 points in 49 games.
But Boughner thinks Barabanov can be even better.
“Certain nights, he has that urgency to his game and desperation,” commented Boughner. “It’s just consistency. More of the consistency and being an inside player a little more on a nightly basis.”
There are difficulties in how both the Ontario-born coach and the Russian winger work on making corrections, but they’re working through it.
“I think that the language barrier is not easy,” recognized Boughner. “There’s certain things you can have in a meeting, and you sit down and watch shift tape and whatever, and he nods his head that he understands, but it’s not easy for him. I couldn’t imagine being in situations the other way around. He’s still learning the game over here, and he’s only been around for a short time.”
The Saint Petersburg native has spent most of his pro career in the KHL and is still improving his English.
Despite the difficulties, things have been overwhelmingly positive for Barabanov with the San Jose Sharks.
“I think his game is getting better and better,” Boughner said. “There’s a reason people are talking about him.”
Just who are the people who are talking about him? They can be broken down into two groups.
The first are teams looking to add a player with skill to their roster.
“He’s had a good year, to the point where I’m sure he’s going to garner some attention at the [Trade Deadline],” Boughner acknowledged.
The second are those who would like to see the pending unrestricted free agent remain in teal.
“Moving forward, selfishly as a coach, I’d love to see him back,” Boughner said of “Barbie”. “I’m not speaking for management or ownership or anything like that. I just think that, on our team, he supplies that certain level of skill we may not have in some other players.
“If you look at our top-six forwards, I think that he probably fits in as a top-six skill forward here, and it’s tough to lose that skill.”
This group, by the way, includes Barabanov himself.
SAN JOSE SHARKS (25-25-7)
When the San Jose Sharks visited LA on Thursday night, they walked away with a 4-3 overtime victory. Tomáš Hertl ended a 12-game goal drought and Zach Sawchenko notched his first NHL win. The Sharks look to build on that as they turn around to take on the Kings at home.
Adin Hill is expected to start tonight, but the line-up won’t be announced until two hours before game-time.
The Sharks should run similar lines and pairings as their Thursday victory:
#SJSharks lines…Middleton is in:
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 11, 2022
LOS ANGELES KINGS (32-19-8)
This is how the Kings roster played out on Thursday night — how will the Kings come back on the Sharks in tonight’s rematch?
Tonight's @LAKings Lines Rushes-
Kempe – Kopitar – Kaliyev
Moore – Danault – Athanasiou
Iafallo – Byfield – Brown
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Anderson-Dolan
Maatta – Roy
Bjornfot – Durzi
Moverare – Spence
— Zach Dooley (@DooleyLAK) March 11, 2022
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks is at 6:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on Bally Sports West and NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
Four points in four games for Alexander Barabanov 😤 pic.twitter.com/eg0R6XFl33
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) May 3, 2021
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