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Preview/Lines #34: Gregor Getting Chances, But Sharks Need More

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

“Sometimes, it’s a little frustrating,” Noah Gregor admitted.

The third-year San Jose Sharks winger just went all of December without a goal, despite consistent middle-six playing time. For the season, Gregor has a goal and five assists in 17 games.

“I feel like I’m getting a lot of great chances off the rush that I’m either missing the net or the goalie is making a good save on it,” Gregor pointed out.

He’s not wrong: Per Evolving Hockey, among San Jose Sharks forwards, Gregor is behind only Timo Meier with 18.48 Shot Attempts Per 60 at 5-on-5. Per Natural Stat Trick, Gregor trails only Meier in Scoring Chances Per 60.

“He’s got to work on things like hitting the net,” San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said, “more capitalizing on some of his chances.”

Boughner’s not wrong either: Up front, Gregor is second only to, guess who, Meier with 3.43 Missed Shots Per 60 in All Situations.

“I’m not out there to score goals like Timo and Cooch,” Gregor noted. “I’m just trying to play my game, play hard, get in on the forecheck, use my speed every night. And if I’m doing that, opportunities will come, points will come.”

Gregor, by and large, has been doing that. The fastest skater on the Sharks, and therefore a regular F1, he’s also in the midst of a three-game assist streak.

Here’s an example of his work on the forecheck:

“You’re worried if those chances aren’t coming,” Boughner said. And those chances have been coming for Gregor.

But obviously, if the 23-year-old wants to establish himself as a bona fide middle-six winger in the NHL, he’s got to start scoring. The San Jose Sharks, 20th in the league in scoring, could sure use some of Gregor’s lower-level scoring acumen to blossom at the NHL level. The third-year pro has 14 goals in just 43 AHL appearances.

“It’s always nice to be getting chances,” Gregor acknowledged, “but you definitely want to start burying on them.”

San Jose Sharks (17-15-1)

Logan Couture’s addition to COVID protocol will throw a big wrench into the San Jose Sharks’ plans:

Couture & Pederson Added to COVID Protocol, How Will Sharks Adjust?

Here’s my guess at how San Jose will line up, based on The Athletic’s account of today’s morning skate:

Dahlen-Hertl-Meier
Barabanov-Bonino-Gregor
Cogliano-Weatherby-Nieto
Viel-Reedy-Halbgewachs

Middleton-Karlsson
Simek-Burns
Megna-Meloche

Reimer

A healthy scratch of seven-million dollar man Marc-Edouard Vlasic will obviously grab headlines. I can also see Nieto and Halbgewachs switching places to balance out the lines.

Detroit Red Wings (15-15-3)

It looks like the Detroit Red Wings are elevating Joe Veleno tonight:

Detroit Red Wings Giving Joe Veleno a Shot on the Power Play

Per NHL.com, here’s how the Red Wings might line up:

Tyler Bertuzzi — Dylan Larkin — Lucas Raymond
Robby Fabbri — Vladislav Namestnikov — Pius Suter
Michael Rasmussen — Adam Erne — Filip Zadina
Joe Veleno — Carter Rowney — Sam Gagner

Danny DeKeyser — Moritz Seider
Marc Staal — Filip Hronek
Jordan Oesterle — Gustav Lindstrom

Alex Nedeljkovic

Where to Watch

Puck drop against Detroit is 4:30 PM PT at Little Caesars Arena. Watch it live on NBC Sports California and ESPN+. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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