When the Sharks returned high-ceiling winger prospect Daniil Gushchin to the minors yesterday, most thought he would be back up quickly after getting some playing time over the weekend. However, head coach David Quinn told Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now that Gushchin’s demotion is of a more permanent nature.
Gushchin, 21, was the 76th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Quinn called the second of two games on Gushchin’s recent call-up “a little bit of a hard game for him” and thought he got “overwhelmed defensively.” While he would likely provide a bit more offensive punch than many currently on the Sharks’ roster, the organization obviously believes in playing the long game with Gushchin and thinks dominating the AHL, where he has 13 points in 11 games with the San Jose Barracuda, is better for his development at this stage.
Elsewhere around the Sharks conversation today:
- Also, speaking to Peng earlier today, Quinn said forward Oskar Lindblom’s recovery timeline from his lower-body injury is week-to-week. Lindblom landed on IR five days ago after a recent call-up, playing just one game before sustaining the injury – which prompted Gushchin’s initial recall. The former Flyers winger, who recovered from a diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma in 2020, did not get on the scoresheet in his lone appearance and has just two points in eight games with the Barracuda this season.
- Quinn also confirmed that a pair of injured Sharks defenders, Matt Benning and Jacob MacDonald, are close to returning to the lineup and will likely travel with the team on their upcoming road trip. The veteran pair have played just a combined ten games this season and are likely to return within the next week, while the Sharks have two games against more northern Pacific Division neighbors. MacDonald has taken line rushes as a forward in his return to practice with the team and will likely suit up in a fourth-line role when he does play, while Benning, in the second season of a four-year deal, could be slated for a top-four role on a very fluid Sharks backend. No corresponding moves will need to be made to activate them while center Nico Sturm, who carries a non-roster designation while on personal leave, is away from the team.