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Sharks Locker Room: Keep Mukhamadullin in NHL? What’s Best for His Development?

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – “Jesus, I saw a lot.”

That’s how David Quinn described the San Jose Sharks’ rollercoaster season up to the All-Star break.

A 0-10-1 start. A 9-7-2 surge. A 12-game losing streak. And now, headed into break, a 5-3-2 response.

“Pretty much ran the gamut there the first 51 games,” Quinn said.

Wednesday night’s 3-2 OT loss to the Anaheim Ducks featured many of the ups and downs that have characterized San Jose’s wayward campaign.

There were the highs: Shakir Mukhamadullin earned his first NHL point, assisting on an Anthony Duclair goal. Marc-Edouard Vlasic gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead, scoring his fifth goal in nine games.

And of course, because these are your 2023-24 San Jose Sharks, there were the lows: Giving up the game-tying Troy Terry goal with 1:01 left. Then, the knockout Frank Vatrano OT blow.

Headed into the break, how can the Sharks come back and end the season on a high note? Two things, both addressed post-game, stand out.

If captain Logan Couture has his way, San Jose plays like they did tonight, and how they have for most of their recent surge.

“It’s not the most sexy hockey in the world,” he said. “Not going to score five, six a night. But we can limit other teams to two or three, and give ourselves a chance to win.”

Quinn wants the Sharks to compete, but also, develop their young players, like Mukhamadullin, properly.

Is Mukhamadullin better served surviving with the Sharks or thriving with the Barracuda?

“I’d sure love to have him here,” Quinn said of the 22-year-old defenseman, who’s impressed in his NHL debut. “But that’s a decision that we have to make as an organization. Regardless of whether he played well enough, what’s best for his development is really the only thing that matters.”

These two goals – compete or develop – often butt heads. We’ll see how the Sharks walk the line to end the season.

San Jose’s next game is on Feb. 14 in Winnipeg.

Logan Couture

Couture, on the takeaway that he wants the San Jose Sharks to have going into the break:

Play like this. It’s not the most sexy hockey in the world. Not going to score five, six a night. But we can limit other teams to two or three, and give ourselves a chance to win.

Shakir Mukhamadullin

Anthony Duclair

Duclair, on William Eklund as a center:

I love it. He’s great. He’s using his speed. He’s got the puck. He’s going end to end, making moves. He’s playing confident. I love playing on his wing.

David Quinn

Quinn, on if Mukhamadullin has made a good case to stay in the NHL after the break:

I’d sure love to have him here. But that’s a decision that we have to make as an organization. Regardless of whether he played well enough, what’s best for his development is really the only thing that matters.

Quinn, on what he’s seen from Mukhamadullin through three games:

Just his poise. His decision-making. He’s got a physicality to him. There’s a lot to like about him.

Quinn, on the San Jose Sharks headed into the break:

Jesus, I saw a lot. A couple 10-game losing streaks, some good hockey, pretty much ran the gamut there the first 51 games. But the one thing that you feel good about right now is how we’re playing now and our compete. Not giving up a lot of goals, and just overall, playing better hockey.

 

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