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Preview/Lines #16: Joe Will’s Message to Danil Gushchin?

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Top San Jose Sharks prospect Danil Gushchin is back to add more energy and effort to where the team needs it most: Offense. After an impressive month in the AHL (13 points in 11 games to lead the San Jose Barracuda), Goosh will play his first Sharks game of the season tonight.

Sharks in Desperate Need of Offense, Recall Gushchin

He said he found out about being called up late on Sunday night after Barracuda won against Charlotte Checkers, 5-1.

“Barracuda GM Joe Will called me, ‘Goosh, you’re not sleeping yet? Good game tonight, congrats to the team. You’ll be with the Sharks tomorrow. Just play your hockey, produce what you can produce.’”

But don’t let the numbers confuse you. The start of the AHL season was somewhat slow for Gushchin. While earning assists, he couldn’t score in four games.

“Of course, I felt the pressure,” Gushchin said. “Especially when the guys created can’t-miss opportunities for me. I almost felt bad for my teammates who would do everything to help me score. And when I finally scored [on Oct. 25], it just got so much easier.”

The 21-year-old forward is playing his second year on a professional level. When asked if he changed any of his offseason routines last summer, he said, “Not really.”

Just like in 2022, he went to Yaroslavl, a city in Russia that’s represented in the KHL by Lokomotiv, to practice with Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ivan Provorov. Provorov and Gushchin also hosted a charity practice/fundraiser on Aug. 13.

“Ivan has his own program. It’s very, very intense! Nikita Okhotiuk can confirm.” Gushchin pointed at Okhotiuk who sits next to him in the locker room. “Nikita was there for two summers, too. Bicycles, boxing, running, gym, ice—we had everything, right?”

Obviously, such an offensive-minded player as Gushchin is expected to shoot, create chances, and score. But San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn also wants the 5-foot-8 winger to play a stronger two-way game.

Gushchin is getting there, at least in the AHL.

“He’s played a more complete game,” Quinn said on Monday.

“He asked [me] to be better defensively, to play better without a puck,” Gushchin said about Quinn. “How successful was it? We’ll see tomorrow.”

San Jose Sharks (2-12-1)

These were the lines from practice yesterday, perhaps Marc-Edouard Vlasic is out too?

Florida Panthers (9-4-1)

Panthers @ Sharks on ESPN+: Lines, Goalies, Betting Odds

Where to Watch

Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers is 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on ESPN+/Hulu. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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