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San Jose Barracuda

Sommer Has High Praise for Sharks Call-ups Blichfeld, Kellman, DeSimone, Gabriel



Credit: Bakersfield Condors

Joachim Blichfeld was assessed a match penalty after a hit to the head on Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon, cutting short his San Jose Sharks season debut Wednesday evening. MacKinnon did not return to the game, an eventual 4-0 Avalanche win.

After line-up changes that saw 10 players moved between the NHL and AHL rosters, the Barracuda were also shut out, 6-0 by the Bakersfield Condors earlier tonight. This was after a 2-0 start to the Barracuda’s home schedule.

“I think they took the right guys,” head coach Roy Sommer said Tuesday morning, before the Barracuda headed down to Bakersfield for tonight’s tilt with the Condors. 

Joel Kellman, Kurtis Gabriel, Nick DeSimone, and Josef Korenar were also recalled and could also see playing time through the Sharks’ remaining homestand.

Going back to Blichfeld, he earned the call-up after scoring six goals and three assists in five games for the Barracuda. The 22-year-old has a great ability to find open space, smoothly turn, and shoot on goal.

“Just a sign of a goalscorer, those guys are just hard to find,” Sommer said. “If you look at our roster right now, he’s probably our most natural goal scorer on the Barracuda”

Gabriel has spent most of the year on the Sharks’ taxi squad and appeared in one NHL game. He was reassigned to the Barracuda for the last two games and has scored three goals. The 27-year-old was a big contributor to the Barracuda’s Feb. 27 comeback win over the Reign, when he recorded a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. 

“Gabriel was a force out there … [he was] a big part of our offense and our physicality,” Sommer said.

Kellman made the San Jose Sharks’ Jan. 14 opening night roster, but was sent back to the Barracuda after one game. In five games for the Barracuda this year, Kellman has one goal and four assists, mainly playing with Blichfeld.

“Kellman, I thought, was our best forward in both games that were played [at home],” Sommer said.

Kellman had an extended look at the NHL last season, playing 31 games. He earned seven points while playing center on the fourth line. He also had four goals and 12 assists in 16 games with the Barracuda.

This is DeSimone’s third stint with the Sharks. He was called up in 2018-19 and March 2020, but did not play. The right-shot defenseman that plays in all situations for the Barracuda, including penalty kill and top power play unit.

“[DeSimone] has been our best defenseman through the last five, six games,” Sommer said.

The 26-year-old is a Barracuda alternate captain and in his fifth season in the San Jose Sharks organization. He recorded a career-best 46 points in 2018-2019. This year through four games, he leads Barracuda defensemen in scoring with four assists.

Korenar saw no game time while on the Sharks’ taxi squad. With the Barracuda, he is 2-0 in back-to-back starts. The 23-year-old has been a Barracuda regular for the last two seasons and was a 2019 AHL All-Star.

Barracuda Stunned by Condors

The mix of players coming in and out of the lineup rocked the Barracuda’s rhythm, as they fell 6-0 to the Bakersfield Condors (3-5-0-0) Wednesday night.

The Barracuda (3-3-1-0) only managed 14 shots on goal through the first two periods on the way to their first shutout loss of the season. 

Stefan Noesen was playing just his second career game with the Barracuda while Sasha Chmelevski, Noah Gregor, and Nicolas Meloche were all making their AHL season debuts. Alexei Melnichuk returned in goal since starting the first two games of the season, falling to a 0-2-1 record.

The Barracuda will continue their road trip in San Diego on Mar. 5 and Mar. 6.

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