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San Jose Barracuda

Sharks Send Eklund Down to Barracuda

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks have sent William Eklund down.

After the Sharks’ 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders, a sour-looking Eklund was spotted walking out of David Quinn’s office in the San Jose locker room.

Quinn confirmed that Eklund had indeed been re-assigned to the San Jose Barracuda.

“It was a tough [decision],” Quinn said. “But the value of making the playoffs and potentially playing in a playoff series is huge for his development. He’s 20 years old. We really like what we saw up here and he gets an opportunity now there. He’s disappointed. Get back at it. [Make] the playoffs.”

The Barracuda are currently one point behind the seventh-place Tucson Roadrunners for the final playoff berth in the AHL’s Pacific Division.

The 2021 seventh-overall pick has two goals and an assist in his eight NHL games with the San Jose Sharks. While the production has not been overwhelming, the 20-year-old has impressed with his mature playmaking, defensive commitment, and willingness to play inside. He’s been, undoubtedly, a top-six forward for an admittedly very depleted Sharks squad.

Say it or not though, the Sharks are surely mindful of Eklund’s contract situation. Sending him down now keeps their star prospect’s entry-level contract from starting. The contract will “slide” into next season and the Sharks will have three full seasons of Eklund’s services at a bargain $894,167 AAV.

For what it’s worth, the San Jose Sharks could have kept Eklund around for another game without burning a year off his ELC. Playing 10 or more games is the threshold for that.

But with the Sharks’ next contest in Edmonton on Monday and the Barracuda’s next game on Tuesday in Colorado, it makes logistical sense to send Eklund down now.

Not that Quinn would fess up to that.

“You’d have to ask the general manager that,” he smiled, when asked if Eklund’s contract situation played into the re-assignment. “I’m the hockey coach.”

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