Danil Gushchin is excited to be on the San Jose Sharks power play tonight.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to show what I can do,” the 20-year-old Russian prospect told San Jose Hockey Now this afternoon.
When the San Jose Sharks announced their first 14 roster cuts yesterday, Gushchin was one of the striking names who survived the initial cut.
Forwards Ethan Cardwell, Brandon Coe, Dillon Hamaliuk, Mark Liwiski, Mitchell Russell, and Ozzy Wiesblatt were sent down to the San Jose Barracuda.
Defenseman Patrick Holway joined them.
San Jose Sharks draft picks, forwards Liam Gilmartin and Max McCue, were returned to the London Knights (OHL), while defenseman Jake Furlong was returned to the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
ATO tryout forwards Braeden Bowman and Josh Lawrence, and defensemen Samuel Mayer and Mitchell Smith were returned to their respective junior clubs.
The Sharks roster is down to 50, 26 forwards, 16 defensemen, and eight goalies. See the full roster here.
This is what’s striking about Gushchin surviving the initial cut: It’s very competitive up front for the Sharks in this training camp, so keeping a forward roster spot is particularly valuable. Think about the caliber of prospect that the 2020 third-rounder has beat out? 2020 first-rounder Wiesblatt and 2021-22 Sharks Prospect of the Year Coe stand out.
The other survivor that catches my eye is 2020 second-rounder Tristen Robins, who turned heads at the recent Rookie Faceoff. So what have Gushchin and Robins done to stick around?
“Their pace, they play to their strengths, which is what every young player has to do,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn offered.
Gushchin personally counts his shot, stickhandling, and lack of fear against bigger players as his strengths. In the Rookie Faceoff, an NHL scout told SJHN that tenacious 5-foot-10 center Robins “is both fast and strong enough to get under bigger players.”
So it appears that Gushchin and Robins have earned themselves long looks. Expect them to stick around until at least this Friday night, because the Sharks will need to field full rosters for split-squad games in Vegas and Anaheim.
After Friday night, when the Sharks should cut their roster down to an expected 27 for their trip to Europe the next day?
Well, let’s see what the pair of 20-year-olds can do to keep turning heads in the next few days.
EXTRA: Quinn actually had a lot more to say about 2021 fifth-rounder Artem Guryev, who also survived the first round of cuts.
“All hell breaks loose when he’s out there. He’s got a tenacity to his game that not a lot of guys have, as a young kid, 19 years old,” Quinn shared. “He’s got to learn to corral it a little bit, but if you’re gonna play in this league, you have to have a special quality. He’s got size, he can skate. Shown the ability to make a good outlet pass. Just got to corral his aggressiveness, [keep] him on the inside a little more.
“There’s a lot to like about him.”
For what it’s worth though, the competition for a roster spot on the Sharks blueline at this camp, in my opinion, isn’t as fierce as the battle of the forwards.
But Guryev did stand out at the Rookie Faceoff too, for the reasons that Quinn enumerated:
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