San Jose will open 2013-14 without one of its veteran blueline presences.
Brad Stuart, who didn’t play any of the Sharks’ six exhibition games, will be held out of Thursday’s tilt against Vancouver with a lower-body injury, CSN Bay Area reports.
It’s unclear exactly what Stuart hurt or how close he is to returning, but one thing is certain — he made an impact last season, his first back in San Jose, and will be missed on Thursday.
A physical presence, Stuart had 87 hits and 89 blocked shots last season for the Sharks, averaging 20:27 TOI per game during the regular season and 19:09 in the playoffs.
His presence is doubly valuable given Brent Burns’ move from defense to forward — tonight, San Jose will be forced to go with a patchwork blueline consisting of Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Matt Irwin, Scott Hannan, Justin Braun and Jason Demers.