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San Jose Sharks

Couture, Sharks Will Miss ‘Honest’ Nieto



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks traded Matt Nieto to the Colorado Avalanche last week, and his loss will be felt throughout the team.

Nieto was on his second stint with San Jose, and although the offensive numbers weren’t overwhelming, he provided more than on-ice impact.

“He’s obviously a very well-liked teammate, a guy that has been around our organization here for a long time,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “But at the end of the day, we realize what position we’re in. It’s a business. He’s getting a chance to go make a playoff push and try and do some damage in the playoffs.”

The line of Nieto, Couture, and Alexander Barabanov had been playing together for a good chunk of the season. According to Natural Stat Trick, that line has played 30 games together, which is the San Jose Sharks’ most common combination.

“Obviously, from a playing standpoint, [Nieto] is an important part of our team. We rely on him for a lot of things. Reliable player,” Sharks head coach David Quinn said. “Plays [a] fast and honest game, and you’re probably not gonna find a more well-respected guy in our locker room, so it hurts.”

Nieto has built his game on his hockey IQ and skating ability, and for a team towards the bottom of the standings, he provided a good model of work ethic.

“This guy could play in a lot of situations, and you know, he’s an honest player,” Quinn said. “He’s a playoff-type player, and he does a lot of things in your locker room as well.”

Nieto Making Most of Opportunity on Scoring Line

This will be Nieto’s second stint with the Colorado Avalanche, as he also played for them from 2016-2020. He was drafted by the Sharks in the second round of the 2011 Draft.

“[He’s] in a place where he’s very comfortable, obviously, where he knows a lot of people, and he’s been there before,” Couture said.

This certainly seems like the first domino to fall in a possibly long list of trades that may come from the San Jose Sharks.

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