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Preview/Lines #62: Quinn Makes Sense of ‘Out of Left Field’ Eyssimont Trade

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mikey Eyssimont appeared to be what the San Jose Sharks were looking for.

“Yes, for sure,” head coach David Quinn acknowledged, a day after Eyssimont was sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Vladislav Namestnikov and 50 percent retainment on the Russian veteran’s remaining $2.5 million contract this season.

The 30-year-old Namestnikov is a pending UFA.

“That [trade] came out of left field for me,” Quinn admitted.

The Sharks had claimed Eyssimont off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 6, and the 26-year-old winger was an immediate hit, notching three goals and five assists in 20 games in teal. But it wasn’t the offense that impressed most.

“He played hard, played on the inside, he forechecks extremely hard, was tenacious on the puck,” his center Logan Couture shared. “It got the rest of us going on the forecheck because Mikey was always going really hard. He played the right way.”

He added, “I was able to text him a little bit last night and wish him well. I think for him, he gets to go to a team in the playoffs and a team that’s got a pedigree of winning. He’s pretty excited. But he did say he loved his time here and enjoyed being a Shark.”

So why did GM Mike Grier part with Eyssimont?

The assumption is that the Sharks will be able to flip 10-year veteran Namestnikov and his $1.25 million AAV for a draft pick.

Before yesterday, Namestnikov has been dealt three times in the last five years, 2019 (with Nick Ebert), 2020, and 2022, each time for a fourth-round pick.

The 2020 and 2022 swaps both occurred around the Trade Deadline.

“To pick up a guy on the waiver wire and two months later, you get a player of the caliber of Vladdy and maybe flip him for high pick?” Quinn mused. “That’s great asset management by Mike and our organization. But we’ll see. We’ll see how this plays out.”

San Jose Sharks (18-31-12)

Quinn said James Reimer will start and Nick Bonino will take Eyssimont’s place next to Couture.

Kevin Labanc will return tonight and line up with Steven Lorentz and Oskar Lindblom.

It sounds like Noah Gregor will take Bonino’s spot on the third line.

The defensive pairs will probably remain the same.

St. Louis Blues (26-29-5)

Where to Watch

The San Jose Sharks will take on the St. Louis Blues at 7:30 PM PST at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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