May 6, 2024

In 2023-24, the Barracuda set a franchise record by deploying 53 players, including a record 39 forwards and 20 defense. Of the 52, 36 were in their first full season within the organization and nine of the 53 were drafted by the Sharks. 12 were acquired via trade, 11 players made their AHL debuts during the season, and 23 were considered rookies.

Of the 20 players who were in the lineup for the Barracuda on opening night in October, 15 were still on the roster at the end of the year.

16 different players spent time between the Barracuda and the Sharks, and three made their NHL debuts during this past year (Magnus Chrona, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Georgi Romanov).

The Barracuda finished the year with a record of 24-34-10-4. 62 pts. (AHL: T-29th, WC: T-15th, PAC: 10th) and were held out of the postseason for the third consecutive year.

Star Bright: Although the AHL is a national league, spanning over two countries, 15 states, and five provinces; teams can be quite regional, only going out of their division on a handful of occasions. For context, the Barracuda played the Charlotte Checkers in 2023-24, the first-ever meeting against an Eastern Conference opponent in the team’s nine-year history. The AHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition is the league’s marquee event, broadcasted internationally throughout the globe on AHLTV.com, in the US on the NHL Network, and in Canada on TSN. It's the only chance for every team in the league to be represented by players and staff under the same roof. Tech CU Arena, the home of the Barracuda, was the perfect site for the event on Feb. 4-5, 2024. It was just the second time the AHL’s nearly 90-year history, and first time since 2020 in Ontario, that the event was held in California. With the Barracuda’s initial All-Star selection, Danil Gushchin, out with an injury, Shakir Mukhamdullin was added to the Pacific Division’s roster days before the event. At the time, he was still up with the Sharks in the NHL. With inclement weather affecting flights all along the West Coast, several players were delayed getting into San Jose, including Mukhamdullin. After multiple flights, including an unscheduled layover in Los Angeles, Shak managed to make it to Tech CU Arena halfway through the Skills Competition on Sunday. After receiving a standing ovation from the home crowd, he jumped right into the breakaway competition and scored. The next night he’d help Team Pacific win the three-on-three All-Star Challenge.

The Gush is Loose: No one on the Barracuda finished hotter than sophomore forward Danil Gushchin who collected goals in his final four games, which included seven points during that span (4+3=7), and notched points in 11 of 12 (6+10=16) to wrap up the year with the Cuda (6+10=16). Despite playing in 11 fewer contests than he did in 2022-23, Gushchin recorded 11 more assists and nine more points in the AHL. He also surpassed his franchise record in shots (209) which ranked T-sixth in the AHL. The Yekaterinburg, Russia native’s .96 points-per-game is the third best in a single season in Barracuda history (minimum of 20 games). Among SJB skaters, he ranked first in shots, T-first in power-play goals (6), and game-winning goals (4), second in goals (20), and points (54), and T-third assists (34). Named to the All-Star Game in February, Gushchin was unable to participate with an upper-body injury that held him out for 13 games. In addition to his 56 contests in the AHL, Gushchin skated in four games with the Sharks, posting two points (1+1=2). He was called up to the Sharks at the end of the year and played the team’s final two games.

Todd’s Time: In his first season with the Barracuda, Nathan Todd led the team in scoring (55) and assists (36), and ranked T-first in power-play goals (6), second in games played (69), points-per-game (.80), and shots (185), and third in goals (19). Todd, who tore his ACL last year while with the Springfield Thunderbirds, set career-highs in 2023-24 in games, goals, assists, points, power-play goals, and shots. On Feb. 2, he collected his 100th AHL point (goal) in a 2-1 win over the Abbotsford Canucks and three games later notched his first AHL hat trick in a 4-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors. After notching just one goal and four assists through the first 15 games, Todd would go on to collect 18 points and 32 assists over his next 55 including two seven-game point streaks.

Coles Notes: In his first season with the Barracuda, Cole Cassels set career-highs in power-play goals (6) and shots (106). Additionally, he skated in the second-most games of his career (67), and notched the second-most goals (11), assists (34), and points (45). Among SJB skaters, he was T-first in power-play goals (6), T-third in assists (34), and third in points (45). On Feb. 21, he collected a pair of assists in a 4-5 loss at the Coachella Valley Firebirds and the first of the two helpers was his 200th AHL point.

Full Deck: Ethan Cardwell finished his rookie season with a team-high 23 goals and 71 games played. His 23 genos matched the most by a rookie in franchise history and his 71 games played matched the most played in a season by any player. The Courtice, Ontario, native would have played all 72 games had it not been for his gear not making it on a team flight to Calgary in early November. Among AHL freshmen, he finished fourth in goals, T-fifth in shots (165), and T-ninth in points (43). 

Jacked Up: On March 7, the Sharks acquired a 2024 third-round selection and defenseman Jack Thompson from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Anthony Duclair and San Jose’s 2025 seventh-round selection. Thompson, who was an AHL All-Star this season with the Syracuse Crunch, finished his outstanding sophomore campaign first among AHL defenders in power-play points (24) and power-play assists (21), T-sixth in assists (35), and T-seventh in points (41). After the trade to San Jose, Thompson skated in 16 games with the Cuda, totaling nine points (1+8=9). In addition, he dressed in two games with the Sharks at the end of the season. The native of Courtice, Ontario, made his NHL debut with the Lightning on Jan. 6, 2024, at the Boston Bruins.

Shak Attack: The Barracuda’s Team MVP and Top Prospect, as voted on by the media, Shakir Mukhamadullin put together an outstanding first season in North America in 2023-24. The Ufa, Russia native made his NHL debut on Jan. 27 versus the Buffalo Sabres and two games later collected his first NHL assist in Anaheim against the Ducks. In February, he represented the Barracuda in San Jose at the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Tech CU. In 55 games with the Barracuda, he led all team defenders in scoring, assists, and shots.

Sabs Sizzling: The team’s Most Inspirational Award winner, Scott Sabourin, did a little bit of everything for the Barracuda in 2023-24, his first in the organization. The 11-year-pro, set personal bests in games played (59), goals (18), penalty minutes (192), power-play goals (5), game-winning goals (3), and shots (140). Among Cuda skaters, he ranked first in PIMS, second in power-play goals, fourth in goals, and fifth in shots. In the AHL, he ranked third in penalty minutes (192) and minors (36).

Fresh Frisch: In his first season of pro, Ethan Frisch finished with a team-best plus-17 rating. On Jan. 16, the Moorehead, Minnesota, native notched his first pro goal which turned out to be the game-winner in a 3-0 victory versus the Calgary Wranglers. Frisch also dropped the gloves on three separate occasions, tying for the team lead in fighting majors among defenders and ranked second in penalty minutes (41) amongst team rear-guards. After sitting out 16 of the team’s first 24 games, Frisch became a regular in the lineup, skating in the final 46 of 47 to finish out the year. Fil the Thrill: Sharks' 2022 first-rounder Filip Bystedt recorded seven points (4+3=7) in eight games with the Barracuda at the end of the year after finishing up his season in Sweden. The 20-year-old collected three points (2+1=3) in his AHL debut on April 3 in San Diego, becoming just the third player in franchise history to score three points and two goals in his AHL debut (Dylan Gambrell ’18-19, Evan Weinger ’18-19). Before joining the Barracuda, Bystedt skated in 47 games with Linkoping of the SHL, recording 17 points (8+9=17) and a plus-six rating.

Trade Winds: The Sharks and Barracuda made multiple trades this season that directly impacted the Barracuda’s roster. On November 8, the Sharks traded forward Adam Raska to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Calen Addison. Before the deal, Raska had skated in seven games with the Barracuda and 110 over the last three seasons. On Dec. 15, the Sharks dealt defenseman Nick Cicek and a 2024 sixth-rounder to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward Jack Studnicka. Studnicka would go on to play in 17 games with the Sharks, collecting zero points, and 27 games with the Barracuda where he scored six goals and added eight assists. On March 8, the Sharks traded defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk to the Flames for a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick. Okhotiuk played in five games with the Barracuda at the beginning of the year on a conditioning stint. On Jan. 23, the Barracuda acquired forward Jordy Bellerive from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for future considerations before trading him to the Syracuse Crunch for forward Joe Carroll on Mar. 15. On Mar. 8, the Sharks sent Barracuda captain Radim Simek to the Red Wings for forward Klim Kostin. A month before that, the Sharks terminated defenseman Leon Gawanke’s contract as the blueliner went back to his native country of Germany. On Mar. 16, the Sharks loaned 2022 first-rounder Ozzy Wiesblatt to the Milwaukee Admirals for the remainder of the season, and on Dec. 11, the Barracuda signed veteran forward Kyle Rau to an AHL contract for the remainder of the season. Rau notched 30 points (7+23=30) in 48 games with the Cuda.

Gone But Not Forgotten: On Jan. 16, the Sharks Sports & Entertainment and the San Jose Barracuda announced the sudden and shocking loss of Frank Torres, vice president of Barracuda business operations, who passed away suddenly on Jan. 15 after a brief illness. Frank was an integral part of the Barracuda, overseeing all aspects of the team’s business operations. His supportive and empowering leadership style gave his employees the tools and confidence to succeed. He was dedicated to the AHL, having spent 15 years in the league at three different stops. Frank's legacy and impact on those who knew him and worked for him, will never be forgotten.

Three’s Company: The Barracuda rolled with three different goaltenders throughout the season, Magnus Chrona, Georgi Romanov, and Eetu Makiniemi. Chrona and Romanov spent time in three different leagues (NHL/AHL/ECHL) during the campaign. Romanov led the team in wins (9), save percentage (.904), and T-first with Makiniemi in goals-against average (3.14). Despite playing in the fewest games of the bunch, Makiniemi led the goalie room in shutouts, including two in his final five games. On Mar. 20 in relief, Makiniemi made a franchise record 22 saves in the third period en route to a 6-4 win.

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