The San Jose Sharks are starting to clear up their defensive logjam.
After sending top prospect Henry Thrun to the San Jose Barracuda yesterday, they’ve waived Radim Simek and sent Nikita Okhotiuk to the Barracuda for a conditioning assignment.
Simek, 31, is making his way back from a lower-body injury suffered in the pre-season. He’s yet to appear in a game for the San Jose Sharks this season and may have played his last game in teal.
It’s been an injury-filled tenure with the Sharks for Simek, going back to his rookie 2018-19 campaign.
The hard-hitting defenseman, who is in the last year of his contract with a $2.25 million AAV, is expected to pass through waivers and report to the Barracuda.
“It’s been a list of things why that decision was made. His injuries last year and off to a tough start this year in camp, being injured, our depth, and a lot of things,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said. “One of the things he and I talked about, one thing I will never question is his professionalism, his effort, I know if he goes down and continues to approach the game the way he does, he’ll be back up at some point.”
Simek has played 209 games with the Sharks over parts of five seasons. From 2018 to 2023, he’s second among San Jose rearguards in hits, after the much healthier Mario Ferraro.
“There’s a guy you want on your team, it’s him, because he brings a lot of characteristics,” Quinn said.
Simek spoke to San Jose Hockey Now yesterday about his injury frustrations and contract status.
“I’m in the same position every year, you know?” Simek said of the constant uncertainty with his place on the roster. “This is the last year of my contract, so I want to do the best. We will see what happens but I’m trying to do my best every day and that’s all I can do.”
Meanwhile, Okhotiuk, is on the road back after also suffering a pre-season lower-body injury. Acquired last February from the New Jersey Devils in the Timo Meier trade, Okhotiuk has yet to make his Sharks or Barracuda debut because of a series of injuries. The 22-year-old is not waiver-exempt.
Also, Jacob MacDonald skated today. The veteran defenseman, another Sharks defenseman with a lower-body injury, got hurt in camp and has been on and off the ice.
Quinn says there’s no timeline for his return yet.
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