The Sharks 2021-22 Opening Night roster is
set. San Jose named 13 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goaltenders to the
official roster that excludes Evander Kane, who is listed as a "non-roster
player, pending completion of the NHL's investigation." The biggest surprises
included forwards Jonathan Dahlen, William Eklund and Jasper Weatherby, along
with defeneman Santeri Hatakka.
Kane exclusion was no surprise as the
NHL continues to try and get clarity on the latest accusations against the
controversial forward. After entering into a nasty public divorce earlier this
year, Kane's wife made statements suggesting that Kane bet on NHL games while
Those accusations were dismissed by the league after an
extensive investigation, but Kane was absent for all of training camp while the
league investigates new accusations, reportedly associated with his use of a
fraudulent COVID vaccination card. Kane hasn't even set foot in a Sharks
facility while the team prepares for the upcoming season.
troubles have opened the door for at least one of the young forwards who will
be dressing on Saturday as San Jose takes on the Winnipeg Jets at the SAP
Center. Forward Jeffrey Viel also factored into the roster vacancies as he was
placed on the injured reserve.
Of the four rookies that will make
their debuts, Dahlen was an early lock to make the team. The son of former
Sharks forward Ulf Dahlen has shown the best all around skills. Eklund, the
Sharks 1st round draft selection in June, was the most pleasant surprise.
Ottawa gave up on him after taking him in the 2nd round of the 2016
draft. He's spent parts of the last six seasons in Sweden, but played for the
Barracuda in 2019. His father played in San Jose for parts of four seasons,
including the Sharks first two playoff appearances in 1994 and 95.
Eklund has opened plenty of eyes with his offensive skills. If he can shore up
some defensive shakiness, the young Swede could have a heck of a year. All of
that will be predicated on how good or bad the Sharks are, but given the
absence of a bona fide goal scoring threat, Eklund may just be what the Sharks
He's only 18 years old (he turns 19 on the October
12), so the Sharks will need to be patient with the mistakes that are sure to
come. They may even need to teach him how to shave.
Hatakka will face
the most scrutiny, playing on a backline that has been downright awful the past
two seasons. The Sharks have excelled at giving up bad goals, so thrusting a
young defender into that mess will be trying on his confidence.
year-old makes the jump from the Finnish Elite League. He was a 6th round draft
pick of the Sharks in 2019.
Weatherby joins Dahlen as the senior
statesmen of the rookie class, with both checking in at the ripe old age of 23.
The centerman spent the last four years at the University of North Dakota,
where he was allowed to grow up. The NHL is still a big jump from the college
game, but his 6'4" frame will help him to make the jump to the pro game.
Don't expect Weatheby to be 50 goal scorer. He will play a role as he
finds his way in the NHL.