The San Jose Sharks' center depth took a hit Wednesday morning, as the Vegas Golden Knights claimed center Ryan Carpenter off of waivers. The Sharks waived Carpenter on Tuesday in an effort to send him to their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.
Vegas was interested in Carpenter dating back to June's expansion draft, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. The Sharks re-signed Carpenter a day before the deadline to submit their protected list, and included him on that list at the expense of signed veteran forwards like Mikkel Boedker and Joel Ward, as well as then-pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
The @GoldenKnights claim Ryan Carpenter off waivers from San Jose. Vegas had watched him a bit last year as a player of interest during expansion draft scouting but Sharks protected him...
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 13, 2017
When addressing reporters on Tuesday, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was optimistic that Carpenter would go unclaimed and get a chance to work on things with San Jose's top minor league affiliate.
"Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward," DeBoer told reporters Tuesday (via The Mercury News). "That's kind of the case with Ryan. He did some good stuff. But take a step back, find your game again and hopefully next time get back up here and make the most of it."
Carpenter will get a chance to do just that sooner than expected, and with a new organization. The 26-year-old, who led the Barracuda in postseason scoring, only scored a single assist in 16 games with the Sharks this season.
Part of that was due to usage, as Carpenter started 38.03 of his non-neutral zone shifts at even strength in the defensive zone, the highest mark on the team according to Corsica Hockey. That, in turn, likely affected his possession numbers, as the Sharks were out-attempted with him on the ice.
Still, the Sharks are going to miss his defensive acumen, as no player suppressed five-on-five goal at a higher rate relative to when they were off the ice than Carpenter, per Corsica. They'll also miss his experience relative to their other options at his position.
As long as Tomas Hertl remains on the wing, the Sharks are left with Danny O'Regan and Barclay Goodrow as options to center the fourth line. O'Regan was recalled from the Barracuda on Tuesday, but has appeared overmatched at times in his second professional season.
Goodrow, meanwhile, is in his fourth, but is playing center for essentially the first time in his professional career. He's exceeded expectations when he's been in the lineup, but is now on injured reserve for the second time this season.