By Mary Walsh
Monday, the San Jose Sharks named Joe Pavelksi team captain, saw Raffi Torres suspended, and cut their roster down to size.
The choice of captain was not surprising, as Pavelksi was generally presumed to be the top candidate for the job. Pavelski has been a team leader in terms of performance and poise for the past two seasons. The alternates will be Joe Thornton and Logan Couture.
Also on Monday, Raffi Torres was given a head-turning suspension of 41 games. The suspension is a response to Torres’ hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg during the Sharks’ final preseason game on Saturday. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety conceded that Torres did not qualify as a repeat offender since it has been more than 18 months since his last offense. However, the NHL considered the fact that Torres has only appeared in 15 games since his most recent suspension. Further, the NHL had already warned, fined, or suspended Torres nine times in his career. The fact that so many of those offenses were due to illegal hits gave the NHL more ammunition to impose the exceptionally lengthy suspension.
The 41-game suspension certainly puts Torres in the running for most disappointing acquisition by the Sharks. Despite occasional flashes of promise as a productive forward, his knee injury and untimely suspensions have resulted in Torres playing only 16 regular season games and 12 playoff games since the Sharks traded a third round pick for him at the 2012 trade deadline.
Over the weekend, the Sharks assigned Nikolay Goldobin, Mirco Mueller and Melker Karlsson to the AHL Barracuda. They also returned the nine players called up from the AHL Barracuda for Saturday’s preseason game. Those nine were goalie Troy Grosenick, forwards Bryan Lerg, Micheal Haley, John McCarthy, Ryan Carpenter, Frazer McLaren, and Jeremy Langlois, and defensemen Karl Stollery, and Gus Young.
The final roster then includes two goaltenders, thirteen available forwards and seven defensemen. The forwards are: Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi,
Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Joel Ward, Matt Nieto, Tomas Hertl, Tommy Wingels, Chris Tierney, Mike Brown, Barclay Goodrow and Ben Smith. the defensemen will be: Marc-Edouard Vlasic,Justin Braun, Paul Martin, Brent Burns, Brenden Dillon, Matt Tennyson and Dylan DeMelo.
The Sharks will open the season against the Kings in Los Angeles on Wednesday at 7:30 PT.