The San Jose Sharks are making some interesting lineup tweaks as they head into Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, as CSNBayArea.com reports. While they add some overall ability in replacing John Scott with Eriah Hayes, they also switched skill (Jason Demers, pictured) for sheer grit (Scott Hannan).
“A little more speed or tempo in that situation, a little more forecheck,” Head coach Todd McLellan said about Hayes. “That’s not to say that John Scott hasn’t done his job, or to say that it’s just the fourth line. We have some issues with some other lines that have to perform at a higher level than they did thus far on the trip, really.”
Again, the Hayes for Scott switch makes sense, even considering the latter’s big hits and unexpected goal.
The more puzzling move is scratching Demers. While his possession stats haven’t been very impressive in this short season, he’s generally been solid in that regard, and most importantly brings some offensive burst. The 26-year-old managed a career-high 34 points in 75 games last season and has two assists so far.
Hannan, 35, seems long in the tooth in a way that evokes thoughts of former Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray.
It’s just one game, so perhaps this is just McLellan’s way of sending Demers a “wakeup call.” Still, considering the mild identity crisis the Sharks faced this past summer, it’s interesting anytime the team sits a talented player for a “sandpaper guy.”