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Tonight’s Matchup: On Friday, the Barracuda return to SAP Center to play host to the defending Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapid Griffins in a rematch of the Western Conference Finals. San Jose lost the Conference-Final series last June in five games.
Rivalry Restored: The long-time rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks fizzled after Detroit joined the Eastern Conference in 2014. But in 2016-17, the Wings and Sharks AHL affiliates reignited the flame after a pair of regular season tilts and a playoff matchup. San Jose went 2-0 against the Griffins during the regular season last year including a 1-0 shootout win at SAP Center on March 11, 2017. Danny O’Regan scored the game-winner in the shootout.
Dazzling Danny: After being named the Red Garrett Memorial Award winner in 2016-17 as the AHL’s Rookie of the Year, along with pacing one of the AHL’s most prolific offenses in points, and power play goals, and receiving a mid-season All-Star nod, Danny O’Regan looks to have picked up right where he left off from a season ago. The former Boston University Terrier scored a pair of goals and added an assist in San Jose’s opening night win at Stockton last Saturday night.
Youth Movement: 10 rookies scatter the Barracuda roster in 2017 with an average age of 23.6-years-old, which ranks for the fourth youngest team in the AHL. 12 players who appeared in at least one game for San Jose last season have returned this year. 16 members of Grand Rapids championship roster are back, and the Griffs are the fifth oldest team in the AHL with an average of 24.92 years old.
Big Impact: Six players from the Barracuda’s 2017 playoff run are currently with the San Jose Sharks (Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Carpenter, Kevin Labanc, and Timo Meier). Ryan Carpenter, Joakim Ryan, and Tim Heed led San Jose in points (4) during the five-game series against Grand Rapids.
Ryan Rising: Joakim Ryan made his NHL debut for the San Jose Sharks on Thursday after veteran blueliner Paul Martin suffered an injury in practice earlier in the week. Ryan logged 21 minutes and 24 seconds of ice-time and registered one shot as he was paired up with Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns.
Homer: Last season, the Barracuda held the league's best home-ice advantage, going 34-24-6-2 (.765) in the Tank, and 4-3 (.571) during the postseason.
Terrific Troy: Back for another season, Troy Grosenick returns to the Barracuda after the best season of his career and one of the best in AHL history. Grosenick who earned the Baz Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s best goaltender went 30-10-5-2, with a 2.04 goals-against and a .926 save percentage, along with a league-high ten shutouts.
Iron Man: Returning for an AHL-record 20th season behind the bench for the San Jose Sharks top affiliate, Roy Sommer continues his historic career. In 2015-16, Sommer surpassed Fred ‘Bun’ Cook on the top the AHL’s all-time winning list and collected his first A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year in 2016-17. Sommer is 692-605-48-72-65 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL).