Lane Pederson is getting a look on the wing tonight.
What does that mean for the San Jose Sharks’ fourth-line center candidate?
It doesn’t mean he’s out of that competition – Pederson is vying for the 4C role against incumbent Dylan Gambrell and rookie Jasper Weatherby. Weatherby is waiver-exempt, Pederson and Gambrell are not.
But tonight will be a chance for Pederson to demonstrate his versatility. For what it’s worth, the 24-year-old noted that he has a lot of experience specifically on the right wing in his WHL, AHL, and NHL career. Also worth noting: Gambrell has skated plenty on the wing too.
“I want to see him play that position in a game,” Boughner said of installing Pederson besides center Nick Bonino and left winger Rudolfs Balcers.
Being a sort-of Swiss Army knife might be Pederson’s ticket to the San Jose Sharks’ opening night line-up on Oct. 16.
Pederson did win 50 percent of his faceoffs last year at the NHL level, 52 percent at the AHL level. And while he still hasn’t shown up on the scoresheet this preseason, he’s been involved offensively, be it on the power play or receiving set-ups from William Eklund:
Pederson has been basically a point-per-game player at the AHL over the last two seasons, and from my observation, could provide a slightly higher offensive ceiling than Weatherby or Gambrell.
“I want to be a reliable player on both ends of the ice, strong defensively, and chipping in on offense when it comes,” Pederson said. “I think I still have more to show offensively.
“I’ve gotten pucks in the slot and I’ve looked to pass. Gotta have more of a shot-first mentality.”
The San Jose Sharks appear to believe in Pederson. They send a 2024 fourth-round pick to Arizona this summer for the projected depth forward. The big question for Pederson, can he be a valuable depth forward or just another guy?
“It’s just nice to go somewhere where you’re wanted,” Pederson said. “It does feel good.”
San Jose Sharks
Sharks have recalled Melnichuk, Reimer starts tonight, we'll see how Hill is in a couple days. Plenty of time off from final Oct. 9 preseason tilt and Oct. 16 regular season opener https://t.co/a4kUGAkaqe
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 4, 2021
Lines for tonight’s game vs. Ducks:
Dahlen – Couture – Meier
Eklund – Hertl – Barabanov
Balcers – Bonino – Pederson
Viel – Weatherby – Raska
Ferraro – Burns
Middleton – Karlsson
Vlasic – Hatakka
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) October 4, 2021
Personally, I’m interested in seeing what Jonathan Dahlen offers tonight. He’s been decent, but in my mind, he hasn’t popped the same way that his younger countryman Eklund has in the preseason. Both have received similar opportunities on the power play and with some of the San Jose Sharks’ higher-skilled forwards.
Dahlen has made some small, crafty offensive plays in every appearance, but he hasn’t wowed me yet, save for a meaningless shootout goal.
Fair or not, a lot is riding on the 23-year-old Dahlen and 18-year-old Eklund right now. Even with Evander Kane on the roster, there were a lot of questions about San Jose’s depth on the wings. Without their leading goalscorer last year? Like I said, they’re asking a lot out of two prospects.
Per the Ducks, they’re sending these players to SAP Center tonight – it should be a battle of 2021 lottery picks, as Anaheim should dress third-overall Mason McTavish and San Jose will play seventh-overall Eklund.
1 Lukas Dostal
36 John Gibson
12 Sonny Milano
20 Nicolas Deslauriers
21 Isac Lundestrom
22 Kevin Shattenkirk
23 Sam Steel
28 Vinni Lettieri
29 Greg Pateryn
32 Jacob Larsson
34 Jamie Drysdale
37 Mason McTavish
39 Sam Carrick
44 Max Comtois
46 Trevor Zegras
47 Hampus Lindholm
49 Max Jones
53 Buddy Robinson
63 Axel Andersson
67 Rickard Rakell
72 Hunter Drew
86 Simon Benoit
Where to Watch
Puck drop against Anaheim is 7:00 PM PT at SAP Center. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
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