The San Jose Sharks have recalled defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk from an AHL conditioning stint and activated Jacob MacDonald off of injured reserve. These moves return two defenders to a Sharks roster that’s cycled through nine different defensemen so far this season.
Okhotiuk, 22, was conditioning in the AHL after a season-opening injured reserve (SOIR) placement, warranted after his recovery from season-ending surgery last season took longer than anticipated. He’s played in five AHL games this year, netting a sole assist, two penalties, and a -4. Okhotiuk played in 10 NHL games last year, scoring once and recording a penalty. He also added 20 AHL games on the season, scoring six points.
MacDonald’s injury wasn’t disclosed, although he’s been on injured reserve since October 9th. MacDonald joined the Sharks partway through the 2022-23 season, moving to San Jose along with Martin Kaut, in exchange for Matt Nieto and Ryan Merkley getting sent to the Colorado Avalanche. MacDonald played in 25 games with the Sharks last year, netting one goal and six points. It was MacDonald’s first NHL goal since the 2020-21 season and brought his combined stats for the season up to eight points in 58 games. He signed a two-year, $1.5MM, two-way contract with the Avalanche last season that he is on the last year of.
With the duo returning, attention now turns towards who the Sharks will pull out of the lineup. Veteran defenseman, and former Sharks icon, Marc-Edouard Vlasic was recently a healthy scratch and could be at risk of losing his spot again; as could rookie defenseman Ty Emberson, who has only managed one point and a -1 in five games this season. The Sharks blue line has become a bit of a revolving door but the team will look to find some stability with two NHL options back in the fold.