Author: Mike Halford

San Jose Sharks v Chicago Blackhawks

TVR Time: van Riemsdyk likely to replace Rundblad for Game 3


CHICAGO — Jon Cooper gave a promising young rookie his Stanley Cup Final debut in Game 2.

Now, Cooper’s counterpart looks like he’ll do the same in Game 3.

On Monday, Joel Quenneville hinted strongly that freshman blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk would make both his Stanley Cup playoff and Final debut tonight in place of David Rundblad, less than 48 hours after Cooper gave 20-year-old Jonathan Drouin his first game of the series on Saturday night.

“Could play,” Quenneville said of TVR, refusing to officially reveal his lineup plans. “He’s got a real good patience level with the puck. Got good reads. Good stick. Positionally aware.

“I thought he came out into the team out of the blue, outstanding at the beginning of the season for us. I think he adds another dimension to our back end.”

Van Riemsdyk, 23, surprised the club out of training camp by making the team as an undrafted free agent, then further impressed in his first 18 games — before suffering a knee injury that cost him most of the season. Van Riemsdyk re-joined the team in late May and has been practicing every since.

“I’m going to be ready to go, play my game, keep it simple,” van Riemsdyk said after the morning skate. “I’ve had a lot of positive support here in the locker room, reminding you it’s just a hockey game you’ve been playing since you’re little.

“Obviously it’s a bigger stage, everything going on around it, but once you step on that ice, it’s just another hockey game. Just play the way you know can.”

The van Riemsdyk-for-Rundblad swap makes sense on a number of fronts. One, it’s a right-handed shot for right-handed shot, which evens out the pairings. Two, getting TVR into the series at home for Game 3 allows Quenneville to better control the matchups, as he has the last change.

Three, it could finally give the ‘Hawks some real contribution outside of the top-four defense. While van Riemsdyk was hardly a workhorse during the regular season, he did play frequently and averaged over 13 minutes a night.

Rundblad, meanwhile, has averaged 7:29 per game this postseason.

Oilers re-sign AHL farmhands Hunt, Miller

Colorado Avalanche v Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton has agreed to new one-year deals with defenseman Brad Hunt and forward Andrew Miller, the club announced on Monday.

Hunt, 26, appeared in 11 games for the OIlers last season, scoring a goal and three points. Miller, also 26, scored six points in nine games — a pretty good point total in a season which he impressed offensively at the AHL level, having scored 60 points in 63 games with the Oklahoma City Barons.

It’s expected that both will serve as depth options next year, and will spend most of their time with Edmonton’s new AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. That said, it’ll be interesting to see if Miller gets an extended look at the NHL level given how he scored in an admittedly small sample size last season.

Despite ‘win right now’ mentality, Sharks unlikely to shop No. 9 pick at draft

San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach

Even though they hired a veteran head coach in Peter DeBoer — who, upon taking the job, said his expectation is to “win right now” — the San Jose Sharks don’t sound as though they’ll be entertaining offers for the ninth overall pick at this year’s NHL Entry Draft.

“The strength of this draft year, it impacted some of our decisions this season,” GM Doug Wilson said, per “We were not going to move our first-round pick regardless.

“The chance to add a high-end quality player [in the draft] was not something we were going to compromise on.”

While this approach fits with the “tomorrow team” label Wilson put on his team prior to last season, there was some thought the Sharks could have altered their philosophy, largely based on what DeBoer said upon being introduced in late May.

“I think if you enter the San Jose Sharks organization, like I am as the head coach, the expectation is to win right now,” he said. “Regardless of the ages or the birth certificates of the players, there’s a tradition here of winning and of challenging to go deep into the playoffs. That’s my expectation. I think that’s [GM Doug Wilson’s] expectation, and I don’t think anyone’s looking for anything less than that here.”

DeBoer then predicted a “big bounce-back” for the Sharks after they missed the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. That belief is based partly on a veteran core group of players — Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic — who will (presumably) return next season, and not so they can be part of a rebuild.

But even with that core group in place, Wilson was adamant he wants to stockpile future talent at what’s expected to be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory.

“We see it as a very good draft,” Wilson said. “It was forecast as a good draft and it’s playing out that way.”