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SOURCE: Expect Makiniemi Back With Sharks

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

Eetu Makiniemi should be back with the San Jose Sharks.

The RFA last played for the San Jose Barracuda on Feb. 11 before his year ended early because of a hip injury. The 24-year-old also made his NHL debut this past season for the Sharks, going 1-0-1 with a .906 Save %. He also went 8-10-3 with a .900 Save % for the San Jose Barracuda.

It’s San Jose Hockey Now’s understanding that Makiniemi should be ready for training camp and that a contract agreement should be routine between the Sharks and the Finnish netminder.

“He had a little bit of a hip issue right from training camp, his hip was bothering him a little bit. But he rehabbed it and was playing with it, but he got to a certain point in the season where he was still feeling it. We got an MRI on it and he had a little bit of a labrum tear,” San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier said in April. “He could have kept playing with it and trying to push through it, but we thought it was best for him to get it taken care of so he can be ready for training camp.”

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It’s the second-straight season that Makiniemi has not been able to complete. In the Carolina Hurricanes system on 2022-23, the Finn’s campaign ended prematurely because of a lower-back surgery.

The San Jose Sharks acquired Makiniemi as part of a trade package that sent Brent Burns to the Canes last summer.

“Had good upside prior to his injuries,” an NHL scout from outside the San Jose Sharks organization told SJHN, “that’s probably what they’re hoping for.”

Makiniemi could compete for an NHL job, likely with Kaapo Kahkonen, or vie with freshly-signed Magnus Chrona and Georgi Romanov for playing time with the AHL Barracuda or ECHL Wichita Thunder. It’s still a question whether the Sharks will bring Strauss Mann back, and 2021 third-round pick Ben Gaudreau, who’s ready to start his pro career, is re-entering the 2023 NHL Draft.

The deadline to qualify RFAs in Jun. 30 at 2 PM PT.

Jonah Gadjovich, Noah Gregor, Martin Kaut, Mann, Jacob Peterson, Evgeny Svechnikov, and Fabian Zetterlund are San Jose’s other RFAs who are eligible for a qualifying offer.

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