On Mar. 21, Sasha Chmelevski got the call that he was returning to the San Jose Sharks roster, and he hasn’t looked back.
Sharks head coach Bob Boughner mentioned just what Chmelevski has earned during his time with the NHL club after three seasons in the AHL with the Barracuda and his play with the Sharks since being called up: “We develop trust with certain players, and Sasha is one of those guys.”
Underscoring that trust: Chmelevski hasn’t been healthy scratched since his call-up. He will be scratched tonight, but because he’s hurt.
Also: The last time that the Sharks had a late lead and the opposition pulled the goalie was Apr. 19 against Columbus. Boughner sent Chmelevski onto the ice during the dying seconds of the game to protect the lead, with the likes of veterans Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, after the Blue Jackets had pulled their goaltender.
“That’s obviously good,” recognized Chmelevski. “Boogie gives me some trust there. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re doing all the right things in the D-zone and not try and cheat the play.”
Having appeared in five games with the San Jose Sharks during the 2020-21 season, Chmelevski got his feet wet and continued to work so he could make his way back to the NHL this year.
“What I liked with Sasha,” said Boughner, “is he went down, and he was disappointed not to make the team, but he went down and was one of their leaders. He had a slow start, but he’s the guy that never lost that jam to get back up. Now that he’s back up, he’s making the most of it.”
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) April 29, 2022
Boughner also mentioned the growth in Chmelevski’s game due to time spent in the AHL: “He’s got more poise, he’s got more confidence, and even though he’s a rookie, he’s got sort of a veteran presence for a young guy coming up. You could put him in different situations.”
Having liked what he’s seen over the last month, Boughner revealed that he’d like to see the pending RFA return next season.
“I think we’ve grown real fond of Sasha. He’s a good kid and I’d like to see him have a good summer and come back and compete for a job because he’s definitely a guy that is appealing.”
While the trust and confidence could certainly be an ego boost for Chmelevski, he mentioned that he can’t take his individual achievements too seriously.
“You can’t think too much about what you’ve been achieving and stuff because I feel like then you kind of lose yourself. You want to stay like in that present moment,” the rookie said. “I’m just trying to put together, every shift and every period, good consistent hockey. I feel like when I do that, then the game starts stringing together, I start playing better, start contributing, and all those little things are happening.”
That’s just the kind of mindset that will keep the coaching staff in his corner, and it may just earn him another contract this summer.
SAN JOSE SHARKS (32-36-13)
Last game of the season for the #SJSharks.
Last projected lines.
Pederson and Dahlen in for Gajovich and Chmelevski.
Big Kahk gets the start. pic.twitter.com/wnB4GNDW9p
— The Content Boyz (@LockedOnSharks) April 29, 2022
SEATTLE KRAKEN (26-48-6)
Line rushes vs San Jose, 4/29:
— Mike Benton (@Benton_Mike) April 29, 2022
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Seattle Kraken is at 7:00 PM PT/10:00 PM ET at the Climate Pledge Arena. Watch it live on NBC Sports California and ROOT SPORTS Northwest. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
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