Matt Irwin caught in battle for Sharks’ defensive spots

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Matt Irwin played in 62 games with San Jose last season and is on a one-way contract, but he’s not a lock to make the Sharks’ opening game roster. Even if he does, there’s no guarantee it will be as more than the seventh defenseman.

“I want to be a regular. I’ve got to prove that I deserve that opportunity, and there’s guys that want that job, as well,” Irwin told CSN Bay Area.

He’s fighting for one of two or three roster spots with Taylor Doherty, Taylor Fedun, who has impressed Sharks coach Todd McLellan so far, and top prospect Mirco Mueller.

This is the start of critical campaign for Irwin. He’s completing a two-year, $2 million contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. If he can’t establish himself as a regular with the Sharks this season, then that will likely have an impact on his ability to secure another one-way deal.

He’ll turn 27 in November and has 100 NHL games under his belt.