The San Jose Sharks announced their roster for the upcoming Rookie Faceoff in Las Vegas and the group contains a handful of players who could contend for NHL jobs before the regular season begins next month.
William Eklund, the Sharks’ 2021 first-round draft choice who had surgery on his left shoulder on March 30 to repair a torn labrum, is one of the 16 forwards listed as the San Jose team will play games on Sept. 15, 16, and 18.
Eklund was promoted to the NHL toward the end of last season and had three points in eight games before he was returned to the AHL in March and injured his shoulder. The Sharks indicated after Eklund’s surgery that the forward would be ready for training camp this month, and he has of late been taking part in informal team skates in San Jose.
Other forwards who could contend for roster spots include Thomas Bordeleau, Danil Gushchin, and Tristen Robins, who all played NHL games late last season. Ozzy Wiesblatt, the Sharks’ first-round pick in 2020, is also taking part in the event, which also includes teams from Los Angeles, Anaheim, Arizona, and Colorado and host Vegas.
The list of nine defensemen includes roster hopefuls Henry Thrun, Shakir Mukhamadullin, and Valtteri Pulli, and draft picks Gannon Laroque, Artem Guryev, Jake Furlong and Luca Cagnoni. Laroque, a Sharks third-round pick from 2021, appears to be healthy again after he missed most of last season following surgery for his hips. Laroque had 52 points in 63 games for the WHL’s Victoria Royals in 2021-2022.
The Sharks’ Rookie Faceoff roster is mainly made up of players who are on NHL entry-level contracts, or who were recently drafted by San Jose and are on major junior teams, with a handful of players also appearing on a tryout basis.
Notable Sharks prospects such as Will Smith and Cam Lund are not eligible because they are competing in the NCAA, and Filip Bystedt, San Jose’s first-round pick in 2022, was loaned back to Linkoping of the Swedish Hockey League last month.
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Defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk, 22, is ineligible to play because he has already appeared in over 100 games as a professional. Okhotiuk and Mukhamadullin were acquired by the Sharks in February as part of the return San Jose received from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for winger Timo Meier.
The Sharks are taking three goalies: Magnus Chrona, Georgi Romanov, and Mason Beaupit. Chrona and Romanov will be competing for Barracuda roster spots and Beaupit, 19, a fourth-round draft pick in 2022, will be headed back to the WHL.
After the Rookie Faceoff ends, the Sharks begin their main camp on Sept. 21 at Sharks Ice in San Jose. The Sharks play six preseason games, with the first on Sept. 24 against Vegas, and open the regular season at home on Oct. 12 against the defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights.
San Jose Sharks’ Rookie Faceoff schedule (all games broadcast on Sharks Audio Network).
DATE OPPONENT TIME (PDT) LOCATION
Sept. 15 Los Angeles Kings 1 p.m. City National Arena
Sept. 16 Vegas Golden Knights 7 p.m. Dollar Loan Center
Sept. 18 Arizona Coyotes 10 a.m. City National Arena