When a team trades for an All-Star, as the Sharks did with two-time All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell on Tuesday, that player normally receives the bulk of the attention. At the same time, it’s important not to write off the signing of goaltender Brian Boucher, which occurred after the big deal.
Boucher had been playing with the Philadelphia Phantoms in the American Hockey League. Boucher, who was in this year’s training camp with the parent Flyers, was 23-16-1 with a 2.45 goals-against average in 42 games. He’s played in 220 National Hockey League games for five teams.
“He’s had a really solid year and has had stretches of pretty high-end success in our League,” Executive Vice President and Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas said.
Boucher has appeared in just 32 NHL games over the last two seasons. The limited activity forced Boucher to take the AHL route to re-prove what he could do and picked Philadelphia.
“The game plan was to go and play,” Boucher said. “I hadn’t played many games the last couple of years. I had to see if I still had it. It was a minor league deal so if anything came up, I was still a free agent.”
Boucher took nearly six months to return to the NHL. During that time, he thought San Jose would be one of his destinations.
“I hoped it would be sooner, but I’m still glad,” Boucher said. “I know my agent called them in the summer and they said they were going with their two young guys as backups. I always had an eye on San Jose with ‘Nabby’ (Evgeni Nabokov) playing every night.”
Like all No. 2 goaltenders, Boucher would love to play most of the games, but he came in very aware that Nabokov would be No. 1 on the depth chart.
“I’m here if they want to give Nabby a break,” Boucher said.
Boucher is quite familiar with the Sharks. He’s been playing exclusively in the Western Conference since 2002-03, splitting time between Calgary, Chicago, Columbus and Phoenix.
“When they made the trade for Joe (Thornton) a few years back, it made big waves around the League,” Boucher said. “The talent on the team is unbelievable.
“They want to get to the next level and it’s exciting to be in a situation like that.”
Boucher, who was born in Woonsocket, R.I., is familiar with a few of his new teammates.
“I played one year with ‘J.R.’ (Jeremy Roenick) in Philadelphia,” he said. “I know Jody Shelley from Columbus and I sometimes skate in the summer with (Patrick) Rissmiller and (Mike) Grier. A long time ago, I played junior hockey against Kyle McLaren and Patrick Marleau
Boucher is fortunate to have been able to return to the NHL by playing in an NHL city, one where he had spent his first three NHL seasons.
“If you want to play in the AHL, Philadelphia is the top destination,” Boucher said. “Our kids are five and three and we still knew people there. It’s a major league city.”
And don’t think for a minute that Boucher won’t remember where he’s been this season.
“I went from sleeping in the Holiday Inn to the Ritz Carlton with a team that has a legitimate change to win,” he said.
The Sharks recalled right wing Devin Setoguchi on Thursday from their AHL affiliate in Worcester. At Thursday’s practice in Detroit, he skated in a four-man group with Marleau, Tomas Plihal and Joe Pavelski
Setoguchi, 21, became the first Sharks player to score two goals in his NHL debut on Oct. 29 at Dallas. In 29 games, he has 12 points (nine goals and three assists) and is a plus-8.
In 23 games with Worcester, Setoguchi recorded 19 points (eight goals and 11 assists).
Sharks prospect Logan Couture
has notched eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in eight games over the month of February and is second on the Ottawa 67's in points (53). Want to know more about the prospects in the Sharks system? View the Sharks most recent Prospect Report by clicking here
. NEXT GAME
The Sharks will visit Detroit Friday at 4:30 p.m. PST. The game will be carried on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.NEXT HOME GAME
The Sharks return to HP Pavilion Monday night against Montreal and limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at sjsharks.com.