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Why Aren’t Struggling Sharks Calling Up Top Prospects? Quinn Explains



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Are the San Jose Sharks feeling the heat to call up William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau?

The Sharks, 2-7-0 to start their 2022-23 campaign, have averaged a league-worst 1.9 Goals Per Game. Some offense will come naturally, of course, as forwards Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl will surely produce more than the one combined goal they have tallied so far.

However, there could be even more internal options for the team. While the NHL club has struggled to light the lamp, the San Jose Sharks’ minor league affiliate has had no such problem. The San Jose Barracuda are 4-0-0 with 13 goals scored so far. That’s a solid 3.25 Goals Per Game, which the parent club would love to be matching.

The Barracuda boast the organization’s top prospects, most notably Thomas Bordeleau and William Eklund. Bordeleau, who didn’t look out of place in the NHL last season, has recorded three goals so far. Eklund has a goal and assist through his first four AHL games. And both have provided their share of highlight-reel plays.

GOTTA SEE IT: Bordeleau Almost Connects on Amazing Between-the-Legs Pass

So why aren’t Bordeleau and Eklund up with the Sharks and helping them to score?

“I think every organization balances the short-term and the long-term future,” said head coach David Quinn on the possibility of calling up some of the team’s top prospects. “We, certainly, are very high on some of the guys playing for the Barracuda.”

On that balancing act, the San Jose Sharks coach continued that “sometimes the best thing isn’t to put them in the National Hockey League when they’re not ready because all of a sudden they lose confidence. There’s some adversity that they might not be able to handle.”

He added: “It’s not just, are they physically ready? The other piece of it, are they mentally ready? There’s a lot that goes into that.”

Through four AHL games, it is hard to say whether Eklund and Bordeleau are truly ready for the grind of the NHL season. Two weeks ago, when both were sent down to the AHL, Eklund shared that “they want me to play a lot of minutes and be that guy.”

Eklund’s Challenge: Be ‘That Guy’ in AHL

Are Bordeleau and Eklund the go-to guys for the Barracuda yet? It may be too early to tell.

For now, the NHL club will work with what they have.

“Everyone understands that we are challenged offensively right now, [but] we think we can improve here with the guys we have and do some things differently that will produce more offense,” said Quinn.

However, the head coach did say he will be catching some Barracuda games at brand-new Tech CU Arena during the San Jose Sharks’ current six-game homestand.

“What the hell else am I going to do?” Quinn joked about his off-nights. “We certainly understand that there are talented young guys down there that could help us in that [offensive] department.”

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