Three things to know: Sharks’ Ryan likely headed to minor leagues in near future

SAN JOSE — Joakim Ryan knows how to count. Simple math suggests that he will be the odd man out on the left side of the Sharks blue line after Brenden Dillon serves his one-game suspension Thursday.

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As Paul Martin rejoins the Sharks lineup for their game against the Carolina Hurricanes at SAP Center Thursday, Ryan will get another chance to prove that he’s an NHL-caliber defenseman.

After that, Martin, Dillon and Marc-Edouard Vlasic will fill out the left side of the Sharks blue line, relegating Ryan to the seventh defenseman position until Tim Heed (upper body) returns from a day-to-day injury.

“I can’t really do anything about it,” Ryan said. “There’s no way to approach it other than when I’m in the lineup, keep playing well and worry about myself. I think for the most part, I’ve been pretty consistent.”

Ryan’s performance over his 23 NHL games this fall has allowed the Sharks defense to absorb Martin’s loss without skipping a beat. The Sharks rank second in goals-against average (2.30) and third in shots against (29.65) even though the veteran blue liner hasn’t suited up for a game since Oct. 7.

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The rookie defenseman has produced two assists, an even plus-minus rating and a 56.18 possession rating, which ranks third among Sharks defenseman.

Nevertheless, Ryan will likely be reassigned to the AHL Barracuda, where he can play top minutes on a nightly basis, after Dillon and Heed rejoin the lineup. Ryan could also serve as trade bait if the Sharks try to swing a deal for more scoring at forward.

“The reality is, there’s a lot of guys here, so there’s going to be some tough decisions …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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