McGinn, Goodrow Earning Bigger Roles With Sharks
SAN JOSE — Mike Brown will be returning to the San Jose Sharks in the near future and, at some point, Raffi Torres will be back, too, which means that somebody is going to get pushed off the 23-man roster.
Right now, Tye McGinn and Barclay Goodrow are making strong cases to stay up with the big club.
After plugging away on the bottom six for his first 12 games of the season, McGinn received an opportunity to skate with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture in the second and third periods of Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes and he joined the top six again at practice on Monday.
“I’ve been really focusing on working hard,” McGinn said. “Getting pucks to the net, working at getting the hits in –I’ve been really focusing on that the past few games and to get the opportunity to play with that line for the last couple of periods felt good.”
McGinn filled up the stat sheet on Saturday, recording three hits and three shots on goal while attempting a total of six shots. In 10 games with the team this year, he’s recorded two assists while posting a minus-1.
Head coach Todd McLellan said he moved McGinn up with Pavelski and Couture to give the line more size and grit along the boards.
“We were in their end but not a lot was happening,” the coach said, referring to the line’s play prior to the addition of McGinn.
Pavelski said he liked playing with McGinn because he gives the line a big body with skating ability.
“He’s a simple player but effective. He gets in on the forecheck,” Pavelski said. “I like his game. It’s just like playing with Jamie [McGinn].”
The line started creating scoring chances after McGinn moved up and Pavelski believes the unit can build off the momentum if they play together again.
“That energy he’s trying to bring, it’s going to come on the forecheck,” Pavelski said. “When you get a player like that (on your line) you’re going to want to forecheck. You’re going to want to all work up and there were a few plays where that was kind of the case. We had one guy forecheck and [Couture] pressuring and we picked a pass off and we’re on top of them.”
Couture said McGinn opened up space for he and Pavelski on Saturday.
“He’s strong on pucks, so he can protect pucks well, help Pavs and I find some soft spots,” Couture said.
Couture played alongside Jamie McGinn, at times, when he was with the club from 2008-09 into the 2011-12 season and he sees a likeness in the brothers’ games.
“Very similar,” Couture said. “They skate pretty much the same. Tye is maybe a little more physical.”
When McGinn jumped up, Matt Nieto dropped down to the fourth line, joining Tyler Kennedy and Andrew Desjardins, bringing more speed to the unit.
McLellan said the move brought balance to the Sharks lines and shouldn’t been seen as a demotion for Nieto.
“Nieto made that line stronger. It’s not, you’re not playing well, you’re going down,” McLellan said. “It was a size factor a little bit with [McGinn] and he needs an opportunity, too. I thought [Nieto] did a very good job — that Desjardins line picked its play up when [Nieto] went there.”
The coach still hasn’t determined whether McGinn will stay up with Pavelski and Couture when the Sharks return to action against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday at SAP Center. Nieto also skated with the line at practice on Monday.
McLellan said he’ll make a decision after he watches the Flames take on the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday and gets a better sense of how their lines play.
But he said McGinn is gaining more trust.
“Over time,” McLellan said. “We still see some things. We’re working hard on the walls doing his board work and stuff like that. Like the rest of the group, the trust has to get stronger and stronger — us with them, them with us.”
Barclay Goodrow is also earning the coaching staff’s trust, enough so that he received 29 seconds of playing time on the penalty kill on Saturday. With Adam Burish’s reassignment to AHL Worcester, time on the penalty kill is available and Goodrow, who picked up a short-handed assist against the Coyotes, will likely receive more responsibility.
“We’ve used him in practice on the penalty kill,” McLellan said. “We know that he’s had that in the past. We think he’s a smart enough and strong enough player to be in that situation. His minutes, if everything goes well, should get more and more there.”
Goodrow played on the penalty kill with the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion last season and is comfortable in that role.
“I’ve played a lot of PK over the last couple of years, scored a few PK goals last year, so it’s something that I’ve done a lot. It’s just adjusting to the different speed of the power play and the quicker decisions at this level,” Goodrow said.
Goodrow said it’s a confidence booster to receive special teams minutes in just his 10th NHL game.
“It’s good to gain more responsibility out there,” Goodrow said. “I’m just trying to get better every day and keep gaining their trust.”