SAN JOSE — Pete DeBoer recognized his team’s good fortune when the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft wrapped up on June 21.
As the Pittsburgh Penguins watched star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury join the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and the Nashville Predators waved goodbye to former-40 goal scorer James Neal, the Sharks coach accepted the loss of defenseman David Schlemko, believing his squad has the organization depth on the blue line to fill his spot on the third pairing.
“Everyone went in knowing they were going to lose a good player, or pay not to, and we felt fortunate to get out with (minimal damage),” DeBoer said. “As good as David Schlemko is, and as hard as he played for us, we have some young guys here in (Dylan) DeMelo and (Tim) Heed and (Joakim) Ryan that are knocking on the door.”
As the Sharks search for viable ways to replace Patrick Marleau’s offensive production in training camp, another position battle is brewing on the undercard as Barracuda defensive partners, Heed and Ryan, compete for the seventh spot on the team’s blue line.
— Paul Gackle (@GackleReport) September 16, 2017
After Saturday’s practice, DeBoer acknowledged that DeMelo has all but locked up the job vacated by Schlemko on the third pairing, leaving one open spot for Heed and Ryan to fight over.
“I’m a big DeMelo fan. I love what he’s done here over the last couple years,” the Sharks coach said. “We’d be crazy to be…
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