For a professional hockey player, predicting where you’ll be in a couple of years is nearly impossible.
If you asked Brandon Mashinter in 2013 after he had been traded from the San Jose Sharks organization to the New York Rangers organization if he’d be back in San Jose someday? The answer would probably be no.
Fast-forward four years and Mashinter’s career is right back where it began. Mash, as he’s called in the locker room, split time between the Sharks and its AHL affiliate the Worcester Sharks from 2009-to-2013 before being traded to the Rangers.
This offseason, the veteran winger signed a one-year deal to return to San Jose after splitting time between the Chicago Blackhawks and its AHL affiliate the Rockford IceHogs over the last three seasons.
Mashinter’s return to San Jose has brought his hockey career full circle. The 29-year-old played for Sharks Head Coach Pete DeBoer and Assistant Coach Steve Spott during a two-year period as a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers. The Bradford, Ontario, native also played for Barracuda Head Coach Roy Sommer during his time with the Worcester Sharks.
“Not much has changed since I left, but it’s been nice to have that comfort with coach Sommer and knowing coach DeBoer and coach Spott,” said Mashinter. “For them be familiar with the type of player I am, and my style I like to play is huge."
During Mashinter’s first stint with San Jose, the undrafted OHL product appeared in 236 games with Worcester while collecting 108 points (54 goals, 54 assists), and 324 penalty minutes. He also skated in 13 games with the Sharks during the 2010-11 season, accumulating 17 penalty minutes.
“Brandon has been excellent so far this season,” said Sommer. “He’s a great mentor for our young guys, and he’s been a much needed physical presence in our lineup.”
Now a grizzled vet, Mashinter still has hopes of returning to the National Hockey League and believes he’s good enough to do so, but aside from producing on the ice, Mashinter has also been given the responsibility to help guide one of the AHL’s youngest rosters. San Jose has ten rookies on its 23 man roster which has an average age of 23.23 years old (4th youngest in the AHL).
“We’ve got a great Captain in John McCarthy, but I try to lead by example myself and be outspoken in the locker room when things need to be said.”
So far Mashinter has led by example. The nine-year pro has been one of the Barracuda’s most relied upon offensive producers.
“He adds a lot to our lineup, and on top of that he’s been able to score for us,” said Sommer.