COYOTES (8-10-2) at SHARKS (10-9-3)
TV: FS-A, CSN-CA
SAN JOSE -- Defenseman Brenden Dillon is expected to make his San Jose Sharks debut at SAP Center on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes, one day after being acquired from the Dallas Stars in a trade for defenseman Jason Demers and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
That's assuming Dillon's skates and hockey gear make it to San Jose before the puck drops.
Dillon arrived here Friday night on a flight from Dallas, but his gear didn't. He missed the morning skate.
"It is what it is," Dillon said. "It [stinks] obviously. I was looking forward to getting things ready. As long as it's ready by 7:29 I'll be OK."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Dillon will be in the lineup if his gear arrives in time.
"The plan is to put him in the lineup and play him," McLellan said. "That's what we got him for. I think he's excited about that. He's really hoping it gets here. He can find equipment. It’s the skates that’s the most important thing. If they don’t get here, we’ll have to figure out something else.”
Dillon (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) gives the Sharks more size and strength on the blue line.
"I just want to be a piece to the puzzle," Dillon said. "I want to help out any way I can. I think for me, I'm a bigger guy that can skate, move the puck, be physical. I have a bit of grit to the back end, a bigger left shot. Just do what I can."
One day after acquiring Dillon, the Sharks made another roster move, placing veteran forward Adam Burish on waivers. Burish had one goal, three points and 33 penalty minutes in 20 games.
“It’s where we are as an organization," McLellan said. "We made a commitment to bringing some younger players in, and at this point with Adam’s position and where he is in the lineup; we are exploring some younger possibilities there. It’s not a reflection on Adam by any means. He’s probably played his best hockey for us at this point in the season. Unfortunately for us, I think he’ll end up getting picked up. Somebody could use that type of player in the League. He’ll get an opportunity to move on and play somewhere else. It’s our continued commitment to giving some younger players an opportunity.”
Burish is in the third season of a four-year, $7.4 million contract. If he clears waivers, he would likely be assigned to Worcester of the American Hockey League.
Forward Mike Brown, who's on injured reserve with a broken left hand, is one possible option to take Burish's spot on the roster. Brown, who hasn't played since Oct. 11 against the Winnipeg Jets, has been practicing this week.
“Mike Brown is getting closer," McLellan said. "You can see he’s starting to handle the puck now, so the bones are healing. There are different phases in being ready. One is getting healthy enough to put the equipment on, and two is being healthy enough to handle the puck and compete and get your lungs and conditioning together. Three is being able to do what you normally do on an ice surface during the game. [Brown] is very hard competitor, so we have to make sure he’s ready in all three areas.”
The Coyotes will likely play a third straight game without third-line center Martin Hanzal, who has been sidelined with a lower body injury. Hanzal skated Saturday morning, but Arizona coach Dave Tippett said he was doubtful for the game against San Jose.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk will make his sixth start of the season, which will keep Mike Smith rested for the Coyotes game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Based on Smith's history against San Jose, the Sharks could be catching a good break. Smith is 8-4-2 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and four shutouts in 15 career games against the Sharks. The shutouts and save percentage are Smith's highest against any NHL team.
Dubnyk is 4-6-2 with a 3.10 GAA and a .910 save percentage against San Jose. This season he is 4-0-1 with a 2.25 GAA and a .925 save percentage overall.
"We have two games in less than 24 hours. We need both guys playing well, and [Dubnyk] has played well, so we're throwing him in there," Tippett said.
Dubnyk said he welcomed the opportunity.
"It's exciting. I've played a few games in this building. They come hard. It's always a challenge," Dubnyk said. "I'm always excited about any chance I can get in there and play."
Here are the projected lineups:
Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder - Sam Gagner - Shane Doan
Lucas Lessio - Kyle Chipchura - Martin Erat
Brandon McMillan - Joe Vitale - B.J. Crombeen
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek
Keith Yandle - Connor Murphy
David Schlemko - Michael Stone
Scratched: Rob Klinkhammer, Chris Summers
Injured: Brandon Gormley (lower body), Martin Hanzal (lower body), David Moss (upper body)
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Patrick Marleau
Matt Nieto - Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski
Barclay Goodrow - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels
Tye McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon - Brent Burns
Mirco Mueller - Scott Hannan
Injured: Raffi Torres (right knee), Mike Brown (left hand), Alex Stalock (left knee)
Scratched: Matt Irwin, John Scott
Status report: After shuffling his lines against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, Sharks coach Todd McLellan appears to be standing pat. ... Dillon will likely be paired initially with Burns, but McLellan called that a "fluid" situation. ... After sitting out Arizona's 3-1 loss Thursday against Dallas, Lessio appears likely to return to the lineup on the third line in place of Klinkhammer.
Who's hot: Thornton has an eight-game point streak with four goals and five assists. He leads the Sharks in points (20) and assists (13) and tied for second in goals (7). ... Yandle has a team-high 14 points and has taken 66 shots, more than any Coyote except Ekman-Larsson (68).