For downtrodden Sharks organization, Bordeleau’s arrival comes at the right time
SAN JOSE – Thomas Bordeleau was skating towards the neutral zone when his linemate Jayden Halbgewachs took control of the puck. Bordeleau then received a pass from Halbgewachs and took a few strides before unleashing a shot that handcuffed Bakersfield goalkeeper Stuart Skinner.
Lane Pederson pounced on the juicy rebound and tapped it into the Condors net for a Barracuda one-goal lead 60 seconds into the first period.
That’s how Bordeleau signaled his arrival in San Jose on Wednesday, assisting on a goal on his first shift in his debut with the Sharks AHL affiliate.
“Definitely a little confidence booster,” Bordeleau said of the initial point.
Bordeleau, who was signed for an amateur tryout on Tuesday, added two more assists in the second period on goals from Jasper Weatherby and Patrick Holway as the Barracudas closed out their final game at SAP Center with a 6-3 loss to the Condors.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Barracuda coach Roy Sommer said of Bordeleau, one of the Sharks’ 2020 second-round picks. be easy – three assists in his first game. A little difficult to do. But I didn’t like our game for the most part. I thought we had a line going.
These are incredibly difficult times on the ice for the Sharks organization.
The parent club — on a seven-game losing streak — are on course to be mathematically knocked out of the playoffs for the third straight year for the first time in team history. The Barracuda (20-39-3-2), decimated by recalls after the March 21 trade deadline, are now 0-10-1 since March 19 and sit in last place in the Pacific Division of the AHL.
Between the losses and the seemingly endless revolving doors of players (the Barracuda have now used 50 players for the season), Sommer said this has easily been his toughest year as AHL head coach.
“I’ve never had a season like this in 26 years with the organization. It’s never been harder,” Sommer said Wednesday morning. “You lose five games in a row and it’s like, ‘Oh my god, the roof is falling.’ Now we’re at – I don’t even know what it is now.
“But we’ve been through great periods where we haven’t won games and it’s tough. I don’t care if it’s the American League or the NHL or AAA hockey or the squirts, you lose that many games of in a row and that makes it difficult.”
That’s why Bordeleau’s arrival in the Bay Area comes at a critical time.
He gives the Barracuda a little boost in the arm, although the team’s struggles this season have been mainly due to their inability to prevent goals. And as the Sharks’ second prospect behind William Eklund, Bordeleau’s presence in the organization gives hope that better days are ahead.
You may have noticed that the Sharks’ social media accounts, from team president Jonathan Becher’s Twitter account, have spent almost as much time promoting the organization’s prospects this season as they have. at the current club.
They didn’t underestimate Bordeleau’s run to the Frozen Four with Michigan, nor his coming to town after scoring 67 points in 61 games with the Wolverines. They also haven’t been shy about trying to acquaint the Sharks fan base with other notable prospects in the pipeline.
The Sharks, of course, can’t be blamed for trying to sell the future, not when the NHL team and farm club have lost 18 straight games combined.
For now, 20-year-old Bordeleau is still trying to settle down after a whirlwind few days.
Just seven days ago, Bordeleau played in a national semifinal in the Frozen Four with the Michigan Wolverines in front of nearly 18,000 people at TD Garden in Boston. With Michigan, he was a member of a top-tier college hockey program, lined up with NHL draft picks and future stars.
It seemed like a world apart on Wednesday.
Only a few dozen fans were inside the SAP Center when Bordeleau, who was making his AHL debut, took to the ice for a solo lap half an hour before the Barracuda’s game against Bakersfield.
“It’s a quick turnaround,” Bordeleau said Wednesday morning. “Coming back from Michigan and playing at TD Garden less than a week ago is definitely weird, but obviously there’s excitement.”
But as unglamorous as it may have sounded on Wednesday, it was at least a start for Bordeleau, who had his first practice with the Barracuda on Tuesday when he was placed on a line with Pederson and Halbgewachs. His post-graduate career is now underway.
“He’s going to be on the power play, he’s going to play big minutes because we’re so exhausted,” Sommer said. “Maybe if he came with certain teams in the past, it would probably be difficult for him to make the lineup, or be a third player on the fourth line. But he cuts to the chase, playing with two of our best players. He looks like he can pull it off. »