The San Jose Sharks’ saga of Tomas Hertl’s right knee took another twist as the 23-year-old was placed on the injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 17, and center Danny O’Regan was recalled from the San Jose Barracuda.
Hertl Hurt Again
The San Jose Sharks first round draft pick in 2012 helped stabilize the entire line-up skating on the third line playing his natural center position. Hertl’s injury forced him back to San Jose ahead of last Sunday’s contest against the Arizona Coyotes, which the Sharks lost 3-2 against noted Shark killer Mike Smith, for an MRI on the troubled right leg of the Czech centerman. The loss of Hertl will only hinder the Sharks’ offense, which currently sits 25th in the NHL in goals for with a humble 41 goals in 18 games.
Any team losing an offensive threat like Hertl when they’re already struggling to establish an offensive rhythm will hurt. Losing him for weeks and not days only compounds the loss.
O’Regan Recalled, New Fourth Line Center?
The Sharks called up 2011 fifth round selection Danny O’Regan to potentially fill the gap down the middle with the Hertl injury. With Kevin Labanc already called up and skating in the Sharks’ forward group, two of the top three scorers from the San Jose Barracuda are with the parent club as head coach Peter DeBeor continues to look for a spark for the Sharks’ lagging offense.
The #SJSharks recall @DannyORegan15. Was tied for the Barracuda team lead in points (11), T-2nd in goals (5) in 1st professional campaign.
— Ben Guerrero (@brguerrero) November 21, 2016
O’Regan was a four-year starter at Boston University playing his natural pivot spot but can play winger as well. The 5’10”, 176-pound O’Regan scored a tidy 154 points in 154 NCAA contests and has been a key player for the Barracuda’s new look team, recently seeing time flanked by Marcus Sorensen and Timo Meier.
👋 @DannyORegan15! pic.twitter.com/9pwi8XQ1hx
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) November 21, 2016
O’Regan is a smart, complete center that has good skill in close. He is not an overly fast skater but has a good hockey sense that can get to where he needs to be. O’Regan played the wing during Jack Eichel’s single year in Boston, so he could be slotted anywhere in the bottom-six and not be out of place. He has seen regular special teams time with the Barracuda and even as an American Hockey League rookie, has quickly acclimated to the professional game under head coach Roy Sommer.
Goldobin, Meier Still With Barracuda
The two blue-chip wingers in the Sharks’ prospect cupboard, Timo Meier and Nikolay Goldobin, are still down in the AHL. While fans are chomping at the bit to get a look at these two first round draft picks, the Sharks have balanced team needs and performance when deciding which players to call-up to the big club. Chances are both Meier and Goldobin will see time at some point with the Sharks, but the right opportunity for success will need to present itself. Meier is still shaking off the rust after a bout of mononucleosis cost him over a month in the preseason. He has also, thus far, shown a lack of discipline on the ice and is tied with Alex Gallant for the Barracuda lead in penalty minutes, showing a knack for a retaliatory slash after a solid (and legal) hit.
Goldobin is tied with O’Regan for the Barracuda points lead and his play away from the puck has been improved early in the AHL season. However, the team needs for a center at the bottom of the lineup likely kept the Russian down on the farm. Goldobin has looked like a different player skating with the Barracuda’s talent infusion. His talents would be better realized if there was an opening in the Sharks’ top-six. But both players are getting close and will likely be needed at some point during the long season.
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