Wednesday: The team has officially announced the contract for Shortridge, who will join the San Jose Barracuda on an amateur tryout for the rest of the season.
Tuesday: Goaltending has been a concern for the San Jose Sharks this season, but some of those problems could be a thing of the past moving forward. The Sharks are set to add one of the top goalies in all of college hockey to the pipeline, as ESPN’s John Buccigross reports that Quinnipiac University junior Andrew Shortridge will sign with the team. San Jose has yet to confirm the entry-level pact, but Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold has confirmed his starter’s early departure.
Shortridge, 23, and the Bobcats fell short of a Frozen Four appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but it was otherwise a flawless season for the talented keeper. Shortridge posted his third straight season with a 2.36 GAA or better, but his play was far beyond that mark. The Alaska native was arguably the best goaltender in the NCAA with a stunning .940 save percentage. and 1.51 GAA. Those marks ranked first and second respectively, with only emerging UMass freshman Filip Lindberg slightly ahead in goals against. Unlike others in the college hockey landscape, which can be inconsistent in talent level across conferences, Quinnipiac plays in the impressive ECAC and the Bobcats had a contender’s schedule this year, with Shortridge facing many elite teams. The competition never phased him, as the junior goalie was all but unbeatable this year.
The Sharks hope that Shortridge’s success against tough competition continues at the pro level. San Jose needs a contingency plan after both Martin Jones and Aaron Dell faltered this year. The tandem of 29-year-old’s has combined for a save percentage below .900 and a goals against average over 3.00 this season, with Jones only marginally outperforming Dell. The Sharks opted not to make an addition in net ahead of the trade deadline, despite their success this season being in spite of their goaltending, but need a new name to compete for appearances. Jones is signed long-term, but Dell’s contract expires after next season and San Jose could look to replace him then if not earlier. Youngsters Josef Korenar and Zach Sawchenko were the uninspiring options in the pipeline prior to this signing, but Shortridge provides an immediate boost to the team’s depth and talent in net. With good size, skill, and experience, the Quinnipiac standout should be in line for a major AHL role next year, perhaps with a chance to win NHL opportunities sooner rather than later.