The San Jose Sharks have had a lot going on in 2024. Some news was good, but there was bad as well. Here’s a look at what’s been happening so far this month.
Logan Couture’s Return Imminent
When head coach David Quinn spoke to the media before Thursday’s (Jan. 4) game against the Winnipeg Jets, Sheng Peng of SJ Hockey Now noted that he said Logan Couture is expected to make his season debut on the upcoming road trip. The Sharks’ captain has been plagued by a lower-body injury since the start of the season and has experienced several setbacks. Considering this news came shortly after it was announced that Matt Benning will be out for the remainder of the season, it was good to hear something positive.
Originally, it was thought that Couture would be out week-to-week (from ‘San Jose Sharks captain Couture to miss opener, remains out indefinitely,’ Mercury News, Oct. 10, 2023). But weeks turned into months, and now it appears there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. The road trip began on Tuesday, Jan. 9, against the Toronto Maple Leafs and will continue until Jan. 16 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jack Studnicka Sent to the Barracuda
Jack Studnicka was assigned to the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL) on Friday. He showed signs of promise during his stint with the Sharks, but there wasn’t enough to warrant keeping him in the NHL. Through nine games, he failed to record a single point and didn’t make much of an overall impact. He’ll bolster the Barracuda’s roster and help them improve, but he was acquired mainly as depth, and now that Couture is set to return, they don’t need him anymore. He’ll likely be back at some point this season.
Scott Sabourin Recalled, Debuted in Toronto
Scott Sabourin has played 43 games over four NHL seasons. Most of his appearances were with the Ottawa Senators, but he did play a single game with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2020-21. His most recent appearance came with the Senators on April 28, 2022, in a 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Since then, he spent another season with their AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators, before joining the Sharks organization this season. He’s been a physical presence for the Barracuda, and the Sharks will need him to do the same, as they’re missing Givani Smith’s contributions. He made his debut with the Sharks against the Maple Leafs last night.
Justin Bailey’s 100th Career Game
It took a lot of hard work and dedication for Justin Bailey to finally reach his 100th NHL game, but he did it last week against the Jets. He started the season on an AHL contract with the Barracuda, but after a strong start and some injuries in the NHL, he earned a two-way contract and was recalled by the Sharks. He’s since become a lineup regular, with 19 games this season.
Before this season, Bailey last played an NHL game in 2021-22 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Since then, he had bounced around the AHL, hoping to find another opportunity. He’s made the most of this one, and it seems like he’ll be a key part of the Sharks’ bottom six for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, he took a puck to the face in the middle of his milestone game, but he shook it off and remained on the bench.
Barabanov 100th Career Point (and 100th as a Shark)
Alexander Barabanov hasn’t played his best this season, but he’s finally finding his game. During Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, he scored his second goal of the season, which also turned out to be his 100th career point in the NHL. He hit a nearly identical milestone on Thursday when he scored his third goal of the season, which turned out to be his 100th point as a Shark.
During his time with the Maple Leafs, he recorded a single point, which made this a rare occurrence. It’s not often you see a player record only their first point with an organization and score 100 with their next team. Even if it happens, they don’t typically hit both milestones in back-to-back games. The Sharks’ history book now has a new fun fact.
Related: Sharks Should Look to Bring Bystedt & Smith to NHL Next Season
Latest News & Highlights
We’re just ten days into 2024, and already so much has happened in San Jose. We’re about halfway through the season, so expect even more important news as we approach the trade deadline.
William Espy thehockeywriters.com Column,News and Rumors,San Jose Sharks,Jack Studnicka,Justin Bailey,Logan Couture,Scott Sabourin
2024-01-10 18:20:00 , San Jose Sharks News & Opinion