SAN JOSE -- Another game, another new look to the Sharks' bottom-six forwards.
San Jose recalled forward Noah Gregor from the Barracuda on Saturday ahead of the Sharks' game against the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres. Gregor is expected to pencil into the Sharks lineup with Lean Bergmann getting reassigned to the AHL in his place and Lukas Radil out sick.
Injury and illness often necessitate lineup changes, but Sharks coach Peter DeBoer isn't a big fan of constantly rotating his forwards.
The Sharks have given young players the chance to make the big club since the start of training camp. Bergmann and recently reassigned forward Danil Yurtaykin made their NHL debuts in October, but DeBoer is ready for someone to truly seize a role so his lineup doesn't change on a nightly basis.
"I don't want to rotate anyone out," DeBoer admitted Saturday. "I would love for somebody to grab these jobs and us [to] go with the same lineup."
You can understand why he feels that way. DeBoer has mentioned before that the Sharks have had more personnel turnover this season than any other he has coached in San Jose. He has also noted that integrating young players into the NHL isn't an overnight process.
Nevertheless, DeBoer doesn't want this to be the norm. The Sharks spent almost all of last season trying to find a fourth-line combination that would stick, and they're still looking for one.
Now, the coach wants one of San Jose's young hopefuls to seize the opportunity and lock down a regular role.
"I think every time we put someone in that's my thinking. 'Hopefully, this guy can grab this job' and we don't have to rotate people in and out," DeBoer said.
Gregor is the latest Sharks prospect to get a chance. With three points (one goal, two assists) in three AHL games with this season, DeBoer seems hopeful Gregor inserts himself at the NHL level.
"The reports for the first few games was that he was one of their better players," DeBoer said. "He was a guy who was close to staying at the beginning [of the season]. He went down and handled it the right way, and [he's] getting the opportunity here now."
Although the speedy 21-year-old has played center with the Barracuda this season, Gregor will pencil in on the wing on the Sharks' fourth line. Dylan Gambrell has started to establish himself as San Jose's fourth-line pivot over the last few games.
DeBoer and the Sharks hope Gregor can do the same as a winger.