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Preseason Preview/Lines #5: What Does Waiving Gambrell Mean for Sharks’ Opening Night Roster?

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The San Jose Sharks’ opening night roster appears to be shaping up.

Yesterday, the Sharks waived defenseman Nicolas Meloche. This morning, they waived forward Dylan Gambrell.

They also recalled forward Adam Raska from the San Jose Barracuda yesterday.

The San Jose Sharks currently have 17 forwards on their training camp roster:

• Rudolfs Balcers
• Alexander Barabanov
• Nick Bonino
• Andrew Cogliano
• Logan Couture
• Jonathan Dahlen
• William Eklund
• Jonah Gadjovich
• Tomas Hertl
• Evander Kane
• Kevin Labanc
• Timo Meier
• Matt Nieto
• Lane Pederson
• Adam Raska
• Jeffrey Viel
• Jasper Weatherby

Bob Boughner has suggested that the Sharks will carry 14 forwards to start the season. The prevailing thought is that Evander Kane will not be one of the 14. Kane is currently under investigation for sexual assault, domestic battery, and COVID protocol violations.

Rudolfs Balcers, Alexander Barabanov, Nick Bonino, Andrew Cogliano, Logan Couture, William Eklund, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, and Matt Nieto should be safe — that leaves six forwards, Jonathan Dahlen, Jonah Gadjovich, Lane Pederson, Adam Raska, Jeffrey Viel, and Jasper Weatherby vying for four spots.

Waiving Gambrell appears to clarify the battle for fourth-line center on the San Jose Sharks. Going into camp, Weatherby, Pederson, Gambrell, and Scott Reedy were vying for the job. Prospect Reedy has long been re-assigned to the AHL, and now, Gambrell may be on the way there too, if he’s not claimed off waivers by another NHL team.

For what it’s worth, Gambrell’s entire cap hit of $1.1 million can be buried in the AHL, meaning it won’t count against the San Jose Sharks’ salary cap.

Bob Boughner said it was tough conversation with Gambrell, who’s been with him during his entire tenure as Sharks head coach, this morning: “I think he’s gonna be back here at some point if he doesn’t get picked up.

“I like his game. He’s a very [trustworthy] player, you know what you’re gonna get every night.

“But we also talked about his ability to take more pucks to the net, be a little more offensive at times, and not be as safe all the time.”

Anyway, it looks like Weatherby and Pederson should make the team. Weatherby is waiver-exempt; Pederson is not.

Pederson, interestingly, has been used net front on the power play during practice over the last two days. He’s also been used at right wing in a preseason game. Waiving Gambrell appears to be a sign that the Sharks are satisfied with Pederson’s versatility.

That’s something to watch for tonight: How does Pederson look net front? The San Jose Sharks lack, to some degree, options for net front on the power play. Bonino is the only surefire option.

Meanwhile, I’d guess Dahlen and Gadjovich – neither waiver-exempt – would be my guesses for making the opening night roster. Gadjovich, of course, will be hard to get a read on because San Jose just claimed him from Vancouver — because of visa hang-ups, he won’t be able to get into any preseason action with the Sharks.

Sharks Claim Gadjovich, Send Raska Down

However, Raska and Viel, who are both waiver-exempt, provide some sandpaper that Bob Boughner would probably like to include in his line-up. Viel is currently dealing with a day-to-day injury, suffered in a fight during San Jose’s last preseason tilt.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are down to eight defensemen in camp:

• Brent Burns
• Mario Ferraro
• Santeri Hatakka
• Erik Karlsson
• Nikolai Knyzhov
• Jacob Middleton
• Radim Simek
• Marc-Edouard Vlasic

The question is whether or not Nikolai Knyzhov will be ready for opening night. According to Boughner, Knyzhov got on the ice for the first time this training camp yesterday.

“He went out this morning, just in a jogging suit,” Boughner shared. “He said it felt pretty decent.”

Unless Knyzhov improves rapidly, the guess is, he’s on IR to start the season.

That should mean that Jake Middleton has won the No. 7 defenseman competition and Santeri Hatakka will make his NHL debut on Oct. 16 against the Winnipeg Jets.

San Jose Sharks

Dahlen-Couture-Meier
Eklund-Hertl-Balcers
Nieto-Bonino-Labanc
Cogliano-Weatherby-Pederson

Ferraro-Burns
Hatakka-Karlsson
Middleton-Simek

Hill

Vegas Golden Knights

We’ll also get a better sense of the Vegas Golden Knights’ line-up closer to gametime. But a couple prospects will get a look:

This, by the way, was their line-up last game:

Follow Vegas Hockey Now for updates.

Where to Watch

Puck drop against Vegas is 5:00 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on ESPN+. Watch the replay on NHL Network at midnight PT. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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They're All Gonna Laugh at Me!

Casually watching the game, but from what I’ve seen: Middleton: overmatched Hatakka: has a chance, but seems either nervous or lacking confidence as he’s playing hot potato with the puck Simek: Looking solid, good gap control, almost looks like the 2018 version of him! Labanc: Looks like he’s playing for a job, playing a bit smarter, and playing the body a bit more Dahlen: Good away from the puck, but missed a good give and go opportunity w/ Eklund Pederson: Looks lost in the D Zone and 92-72 will be fun to watch, will 48 be able to keep up… Read more »

david barnard

the irony for Gambrell has to be from his perspective that he played the way the Sharks wanted him to…and still got cut. i don’t want to lose perspective or be disingenuous about the kind of player Gambrell is or isn’t. despite his draft pedigree, he always had a pretty low ceiling. it’s not like he can claim to have some offensive arsenal he held back to play more responsibly/defensively reliable. i don’t know how hard DW tried to move him, but would’ve at least liked to have seen a prospect swap with another team that had a player who… Read more »

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