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Preview/Lines #62: Middleton Not Feeling Trade Deadline Pressure



San Jose Sharks

With the NHL Trade Deadline coming on Mar. 21, some players are feeling the heat of being included in a potential trade, especially with the San Jose Sharks being possible sellers. But, not everyone is feeling stressed. Some, like Jake Middleton, are sitting cool as a cucumber ahead of the hottest day of the season for transactions. 

Jake Middleton has already been surprised by having his name thrown around NHL trade rumors, but even then, he hasn’t been considering it as a factor at all. Middleton has been connected with Toronto, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, and Boston.

Teams Scoffing at Sharks’ Asking Price for Middleton (+)

“It’s not like, actually stressful. It’s a bit of the unknown. It’s kind of [just] what you’re not sure about. It’s not my first time going through trades and it’s always exciting to see what’s going on in around the league. But to see your name out there, it’s a little bit of a different feeling,” Middleton said yesterday. “But fortunately for us, we’ve got three hockey games in four days kind of leading up to it so there’s not much time to think about it, which is nice…We’ll see what happens.” 

Middleton spoke about how some members of his family have felt a little wary, especially when his name first began cropping up online as a potential depth piece. 

“My girlfriend? She’s probably a little more nervous than I am. I’d say she went home this month to get some shifts in the hospital. And when she was reading some of the headlines, she’s like, Oh, am I gonna do with all my stuff? What if this happens and I gotta fly back?'” Middleton shared of his girlfriend, who is a nurse. “I said we’ll figure it out when we get there – but for her, it’s her first time going through it and she’s probably more nervous than anyone.” 

The anxiety loved ones can feel around the Trade Deadline are a stark reminder to fans that while the NHL is a business, their players are real people, who have families and friends who are impacted by their career. 

Even with the potential (but, in my opinion, pretty unlikely) trade, Middleton is proud of what he’s accomplished as a Shark this year, especially given how unexpected his rise as one of their best defenseman was. His success has been what’s made him an attractive trade option for teams to pursue, but it’s also what endears the Sharks to keep him. 

“I’m pretty proud – I always knew I could do it…We’re chasing condensed rubber around on frozen water for a living,” Middleton said, putting it in perspective. “If I’m playing a game, whether you’re in the American League or in the National League, I am proud, but it’s one of those things [where you] just show up and work every day and have some fun doing it, no matter what you’re doing.” 

San Jose Sharks (26-27-8)

Arizona Coyotes (20-37-4)

Sitting at 30th in the league, the Coyotes are just cruising until the end of the regular season, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t put up a fight. This is how they lined up yesterday:

Where to watch

Puck drop between the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks is at 4:00 PM PT/7:00 PM ET at SAP Center. Watch it live on ESPN+, Bally Sports Arizona Extra, and NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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