The San Jose Sharks placed defenseman Kyle McLaren on waivers on Tuesday. The move shores up the Sharks financial numbers and moves them beneath the NHL’s salary limit which is $56.7 million. The deadline to be under that dollar amount is Noon on Wednesday. Waiving McLaren shaved $2.5 million from the Sharks team compensation total.
“Kyle has been a big part of our team over the last several years, but we are blessed with eight NHL defensemen on our roster and these are tough decisions that have to be made," said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson.
There are several options right now. First, McLaren could clear waivers. Second, a trade could still be facilitated at some point. Third, if he clears waivers and a trade does not occur, McLaren could be assigned to the AHL or another location. In that case, he would still receive his full salary, but it would not count against the Sharks player payroll count for the NHL's purposes.
Wilson has no doubt McLaren will soon find an NHL uniform.
“Kyle is an NHL defenseman,” said Wilson. “He deserves to play in this league and we want to do the right thing for him and for us. Other teams are going through the same thing. We’re limited by the 23-man roster.”
In addition to the McLaren move, San Jose reassigned defenseman Mike Moore
and center Mick Morris to Worcester of the AHL. Plus, Brad Staubitz and Riley Armstrong were placed on waivers. With Torrey Mitchell
on the injured reserve list, the Sharks are now cleared under the NHL’s 23-man roster for opening night.
There are a couple of situations that are still in play with regards to the roster. Jeff Friesen remains in camp as a tryout player and has obviously made an impression. At this point, he would be the 24th rostered player and that simply cannot occur.
If Friesen were to be eligible for opening night, he would have to beat out a player like Lukas Kaspar or Tomas Plihal. Kaspar though has played very well himself. The Sharks have not placed Mitchell on the long-term injury list, meaning they could still possibly see some financial relief.
Either way, the Sharks should have the lineup set quickly as Wilson doesn’t plan to let Friesen’s situation play out too long.
“The only player we still have the luxury of time with is Friesen,” said Wilson. “He is not under contract. We’ll wait for the injury updates. We want to see how Marcel (Goc) is. Lukas Kaspar had a heck of a camp. There are four guys competing for two spots. It will be sooner rather than later.”
When the lineup takes to the HP Pavilion ice on Friday, it will be who Todd McLellan wants to see.
“Todd will decide who plays,” said Wilson.
Friesen will continue to do what he can control and hope for the best.
“I’m focused on hockey,” said Friesen. “I’m still here, but they haven’t made any decisions. It’s as simple as that.”
“Jeff is still involved,” said McLellan. “He’s competed well for a job.”
Brad Lukowich was waiting to play with his new team for all of camp and he finally did that in the final preseason game. He added a goal in the process.
“I had trouble sleeping the night before,” said Lukowich. “I was just lucky.”
Waiting to play was not fun though.
“It was tough having a set back before camp,” said Lukowich. “To miss camp and see everybody work, I felt like I was on the outside looking in. It was great to get back. I was a little timid waiting for that first hit and being hit, but I’m fine.”
The Sharks host Anaheim on 7:30 p.m. in Thursday’s opening night contest. The game will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.