SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (0-0-0-0) vs TUCSON ROADRUNNERS (0-0-0-0)
SUNDAY, FEB. 7 | 11:00 A.M. PT | TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER | TUCSON, AZ
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Sunday Funday: On Sunday, the Barracuda kick of the 2020-21 campaign as they return to the ice for their first regular-season action since March 10th, 2020 (334 days ago). The Barracuda will open the season with a two-game set against the Tucson Roadrunners (Arizona Coyotes) in Tucson as the home team, due to Santa Clara County restrictions that were in place when the schedule was release. Last season, San Jose went 3-3 against their Pacific Division rival before the 2019-20 AHL season was halted due to COVID-19.
New Faces: Once again, in 2020-21, the Barracuda will boast one of the youngest rosters in the AHL. In total, there will be 14 rookies on San Jose's opening-night roster. The group of first-year pros are headlined by 2020 early round selections Ozzy Weisblatt (round one, 31st overall) and Tristen Robins (round round, 56th overall), and 2018 selections Ryan Merkley (round one, 21st overall) and 2020 Hobey Baker award finalist John Leonard (6th round, 182nd overall).
The Return of Roy Sommer: The 2019-20 season saw long-time Barracuda bench-boss Roy Sommer become a part of the San Jose Sharks coaching staff. Sommer will return to his role behind the bench for the Barracuda this season and will look to add to his AHL-record 773 wins. Also returning to the Barracuda coaching staff are assistants Michael Chiasson and Jimmy Bonneau. Long-time Barracuda captain John McCarthy will enter his first season as a development coach after serving as an assistant last year following his retirement.
Bolstering the Blueline: The Barracuda brought in several veteran pieces to help with blue-line depth and leadership in 2020-21. The group includes, former Gulls' captain Jaycob Megna, 2017 Calder Cup Champion Robbie Russo, and fourth-year pro Jacob Middelton, who has played over 150 AHL games in his career.
Familiar Faces: The Barracuda come into the 2020-21 season returning three of their top five-point getters from 2019-20. Jayden Halbgewachs who led the team in goals (19) returns for his third pro campaign. While Jeffrey Viel (13+17=30) and Joachim Blichfeld (16+16=32) look to improve upon their contributions from last season.
Between the Pipes: After last Friday’s recall of Josef Korenar to the Sharks Taxi Squad and the assignment of Alexei Melnichuk, the Barracuda’s opening-night goalies will look a bit different than it did a year ago. Zachary Sawchenko returns, but newcomers Melnichuk and Sam Harvey join the fold.
Oh Captain: On Saturday, Jaycob Megna was named the third captain in San Jose Barracuda history. 2020-21 will mark the 28-year-olds first season with the team. Megna does boast a leadership background, serving as an alternate captain for the Chicago Wolves last season under current Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson. He was also the captain of the San Diego Gulls in 2018-19.