The Big Bad Shark Returns: Torres Back in Lineup

For the last nine months, the closest Raffi Torres has come to a meaningful NHL game is the press box. His 2013 season ended on a suspension that kept him out of the remaining games of the playoff series against the LA Kings. Then, his 2013-14 season was delayed after a collision in the preseason against the Ducks. Maybe that’s why he’s decided to start his season on the opposite side of the country from California. That’s right Philly, Raffi Torres back in the Sharks lineup just in time to face the Broad Street Bullies.

Torres back
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

Torres Back After ACL Surgery

The Sharks have done well without their big, bad enforcer. They had signed Mike Brown in an effort to keep from getting pushed around by the big bruisers of the Western Conference (ahem, St. Louis and LA). But Mike Brown does not play offense the way a Todd McLellan team would normally. In fact, Mike Brown has the worst Corsi On of the entire Sharks roster. A minus 10.24 is more than five points worse than the second worst skater. This list includes any player who has skated even strength minutes for the Sharks this season. Suffice it to say, Brown is not meant to turn the scoreboard. He is supposed to bring the crowd to its feet and wake some teammates up.

But again, the Sharks have done well without Raffi. It remains to be seen if adding his offensive talent will mesh well with a team that is already near the league’s elite. Chemistry is not something that can just be created. He fits in nicely with the third line on the wing with Joe Pavelski and Tyler Kennedy. If he stays healthy, the stability to the lineup he brings could be the cure to the Sharks offensive woes. Of course, that is one big if.