A SEASON IN REVIEW: 2022-23 SAN JOSE BARRACUDAApr 21, 2023
Beginning the season with a four-game win streak for the first time in franchise history after splitting their two-game preseason set against the Bakersfield Condors, the San Jose Barracuda narrowly missed a spot in the 2022-23 Calder Cup Playoffs. Led by a new coaching staff in first-year head coach and Barracuda alum John McCarthy and assistant coaches Louis Mass and Kyle Hagel, the Barracuda would see their first 30-win season since 2018-19, finishing with a 31-34-2-5 record.
39 different skaters and three goaltenders would don the Barracuda sweater throughout the 72-game season as the team welcomed fans into their brand-new home at Tech CU Arena.
Hitting the road to face the Central Division’s Iowa Wild on Fri., Oct. 14, the Barracuda would pick up a shootout win in the season opener. Rookie forward Tristen Robins would score the first goal of the season, and his first professional point, just 3:06 into the game. Fellow rookie forward Thomas Bordeleau would follow suit at the 5:47 mark. In the shootout, both Max Véronneau would find the back of the net while it would be newly named captain Andrew Agozzino, scoring in the seventh-round, who would seal the deal for San Jose. In the net, returning to the Barracuda for the first time since 2015-16, Aaron Dell would make 39 saves plus six more in the shootout to pick up the 4-3 victory. The Cuda would kick off a strong run on the penalty kill, going a perfect seven-for-seven.
The Barracuda PK would continue to a perfect 25-for-25 to begin the season,
Returning home on Sat., Oct. 22, the Barracuda would celebrate with fans in their first regular-season action at Tech CU Arena. From the pre-game block party to Dell’s home-opener shutout, The Reef would be introduced to the AHL with a bang.
Nov. 22 would see the Barracuda pick up their first-ever win on the road in Henderson since the San Antonio Rampage relocated as the Silver Knights.
Back at The Reef on Nov. 29, the Barracuda would take on the Tucson Roadrunners with the two teams combining for 170 penalty minutes. Before the puck ever touched the ice, eight of the ten skaters slated to start the game would be ejected for a line brawl and tensions would remain high from there, with the Roadrunners claiming a 4-3 shootout victory. San Jose would fall to Tucson in the first three meetings of the season, but the Barracuda would finish the season victorious in the final five contests between the two. Tied in points at the end of the regular season, but with the Barracuda with one more win, the Roadrunners would advance to the Calder Cup Playoffs with the tiebreaker being regulation wins.
Three Barracuda players would record a hat trick, with Bordeleau picking up the first natural hat trick in franchise history on Nov. 20, on the road against the Tucson Roadrunners. The second would come off the stick of Barracuda veteran Jeffrey Viel in Bakersfield on Mar. 10. Rookie forward Ozzy Wiesblatt would pick up a penalty shot goal en route to his hat trick Apr. 5, on the road against the San Diego Gulls.
In total, 15 skaters and two goaltenders would appear in at least one game with both the Barracuda and Sharks in 2022-23. Three (D Nick Cicek, F Danil Gushchin and Robins) would make their NHL debuts with the Sharks while three (F William Eklund, F Kyle Criscuolo and Gushchin) would pick up their first NHL goals.
17 rookies would dress for the Barracuda at various points in the season. Eight players (Bordeleau, Robins, Eklund, Gushchin, D Darren Brady, D Will Riedell, F Nathan Burke and D Shakir Mukhamadullin) would score their first AHL goals.
The Barracuda would sign 11 players to either an amateur or professional tryout agreement throughout the season with both Brady and Riedell earning their way to Barracuda contracts midway through the year.
Individual player highlights:
In his first season with San Jose, Andrew Agozzino was named the fourth captain in franchise history to start the regular season, replacing Jaycob Megna who spent the season in the NHL and was traded to the Seattle Kraken by the Sharks in February. Agozzino went on to set the franchise record for goals in a single season (26), previously held by Barclay Goodrow (25 in 2016-17), and points in a single season (61), previously held by Danny O’Regan (58 in 2016-17). The Barracuda captain would lead the team in goals, assists (35), points, power-play assists (16) and T-first for short-handed goals (2) with Jeffrey Viel.
Barracuda veteran forward Jeffrey Viel picked up career highs in points (31), goals (15), power-play goals (2) and short-handed goals (2).
Appearing in his first game since he last played for the San Jose Sharks May 12, 2021, defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov would skate in 12 games for the Barracuda before returning to the NHL and re-signing with the Sharks for two years.
Veteran defenseman, and first-year Barracuda, Patrick Sieloff led all Barracuda in games played (71), appearing in all but the final game of the season, led the team in +/- (+10) and was named the team’s 2022-23 Most Inspirational player. His lone
Gushchin led all Barracuda skaters in shots (205) as well as rookies in games played (67) and points (45). He also finished 4/7 in shootout attempts and T-first with Bordeleau in rookie goals (22).
Bordeleau also represented the team at the 2023 All-Star Classic in Laval, QC, took home the inaugural Fan Favorite Award at the end of the season and finished T-first with Eklund in power-play goals.
Eklund would also be named the 2022-23 Barracuda Rookie of the Year, a recognition he also received from the Sharks.
Ozzy Wiesblatt would be named the first Hard Hat Award winner in Barracuda history.
All three netminders in rotation for the Barracuda picked up a shutout, with Dell notching two (4-0, vs HSK Oct. 22 and 4-0, @ BAK Mar. 10) while Strauss Mann (3-0, vs SD Nov 16) and Eetu Mäkiniemi (6-0, @ TUC Nov. 20) would each pick up one.
In net, Dell would pick up his first two career assists with Mäkiniemi also picking up his first.
Three players would pick up milestones in career points:
-C.J. Suess (100)
-Martin Kaut (100)
-Kyle Criscuolo (200)
-Andrew Agozzino (500)
One player would hit a milestone mark in career goals:
-Andrew Agozzino (200)