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No Surprise Blichfeld Has Fled Sharks



Credit: San Jose Barracuda

It’s a surprise move from the outside, but internally, it’s no surprise at all.

23-year-old Joachim Blichfeld, who led the San Jose Barracuda with 24 goals, has signed with the SHL’s Växjö.

On one hand, the pending RFA appeared to be the number-one thing that the goal-starved San Jose Sharks needed to add to their roster. The Sharks finished 30th in the NHL at 2.57 Goals Per Game. Blichfeld, San Jose’s seventh-round pick in 2016, has totaled 52 goals in his first three AHL campaigns, and in just 130 games.

On the other hand, there appeared to be a clear frustration with how Blichfeld’s overall game had developed.

“He’s kind of one-dimensional,” ex-Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer told San Jose Hockey Now in April. “He’s a shooter, there’s no doubt about that. He can score goals. He led our team in goals. But there were other parts of his game that didn’t improve.”

From Blichfeld to Weatherby, Sommer Reviews Sharks Prospects’ Seasons

This is underscored by Blichfeld being rewarded with zero NHL games this season, a truly remarkable feat considering how many rookies that the San Jose Sharks called up this year.

In the organization’s eyes, it appears that the Danish winger plateaued after 2020-21, when he fired 12 goals in 25 games in a shortened AHL season and notched his first NHL goal.

Sommer was far more complimentary after that campaign: “There are parts of his game that we still got to work on. But I saw a big maturity level from him this year. He took more of a leadership role. I thought he played both ends of the ice more so than he did last year. I thought he did a good job.

“He kind of knew his way around the D-zone, sorting rushes out, got pucks out, was a lot harder to play against than he was [in 2019-20].”

Sommer’s Year-End Thoughts on Merkley, Chekhovich & More | SJHN+

But as early as the fall, San Jose Hockey Now was already hearing whispers that KHL teams were sniffing around Blichfeld’s availability next year. And leaving the San Jose Sharks did seem like a given as the season dragged on and Blichfeld got zero NHL time, though it ends up being another European league club that pounced on the sharpshooter.

There’s no doubt that Blichfeld is talented. Just guessing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he returned to the NHL one day after his game matures in Europe for a bit.

But for now, it appears Blichfeld’s lasting NHL legacy will be getting suspended for two games last year for hitting Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon high.

Blichfeld on His Game “Trending Up”, Burns Defending Him After MacKinnon Hit

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