When the San Jose Sharks dealt star forward Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils last season, a centerpiece asset the team received in return was young blueliner Shakir Mukhamadullin. The 2020 20th overall pick is a rangy six-foot-four, 185-pound defenseman who has spent the bulk of his time developing since his draft date with Ufa Salavat Yulayev in the KHL. Although some fans might be optimistic that Mukhamadullin might break camp with the Sharks’ NHL roster, it appears in reality he’s ticketed for the Barracuda.
Sharks head coach David Quinn told the media today, including Bay Area News Group’s Curtis Pashelka, that Mukhamadullin will almost assuredly start the season in the AHL. Quinn cited a desire for Mukhamadullin to play big minutes in the AHL and develop more confidence on North American ice. Mukhamadullin does, after all, have just 15 games of experience in North American pro hockey, though even if he does begin the season with the Barracuda it would be no surprise to see him eventually make his NHL debut in 2023-24.
Some other notes from the Western Conference:
- The Winnipeg Free Press’ Ken Wiebe relays word from Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Rick Bowness on the health status of several Jets players. Mason Appleton, Nate Schmidt, Kyle Capobianco, Nikita Chibrikov and Danny Zhilkin are all out on a day-to-day basis due to lower-body injuries, while Nikolaj Ehlers is nearing a return to the ice with the aim of playing in Monday’s preseason contest against the Calgary Flames. While no injury seems to be a long-term issue for any of the players listed, the health of these names will be something to monitor as the Jets ponder how to construct the roster they’ll open the regular season with next month.
- Chicago Sun Times’ Ben Pope took a look at a fierce battle for a roster spot currently underway at Chicago Blackhawks training camp, with forwards MacKenzie Entwistle, Boris Katchouk, Reese Johnson, Joey Anderson and Colin Blackwell all battling for a job as one of the team’s spare forwards, looking to avoid a waiver placement and potential assignment to the AHL. Each player spent notable time on the Blackhawks’ NHL roster last season, but currently find themselves out of head coach Luke Richardson’s top-four lines. It’s an open question as to which player ends up winning the job, though what is known for certain is that a few players who played regular NHL minutes last season will be available on waivers thanks to the Blackhawks’ many offseason additions up front.