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Behind the Scenes of the Barabanov Trade (+)

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The trade for Alexander Barabanov is shaping up to be Doug Wilson’s last great gift to the San Jose Sharks.

At the end of the 2020-21 season, Wilson acquired Barabanov from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Antti Suomela, in one of his last trades as Sharks GM.

Even back then – Barabanov had just one assist in his first 13 NHL games with the Leafs – the return for Toronto GM Kyle Dubas was a little baffling.

“He’s better than Suomela for sure,” an NHL scout told San Jose Hockey Now right after the trade. “I think Barabanov has a shot to play in the NHL [regularly]. I’d try him over a few guys in your line-up.”

Scout Likes Barabanov: “I’d try him over a few guys in your line-up.”

Since the trade, Barabanov has solidified himself as an NHL forward, notching 56 points in 94 games for the San Jose Sharks. Meanwhile, Suomela has gone from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies to currently, the SHL.

But the Barabanov-Suomela swap, San Jose Hockey Now has learned, wasn’t really about Wilson getting one up on Dubas.

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