Home News San Jose Sharks like progress of Thomas Bordeleau, William Eklund

San Jose Sharks like progress of Thomas Bordeleau, William Eklund


SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks are searching for any positives they can find right now as they carry another lengthy losing streak into Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

The growth they’ve seen from three of their younger forwards has to be considered one of the more encouraging developments.

Thomas Bordeleau, William Eklund, and Klim Kostin combined for two goals and two assists Tuesday in the Sharks’ 6-3 loss to the Dallas Stars at SAP Center. It was San Jose’s eighth-straight defeat, cementing its status right now as the NHL’s worst team.

But in the 10 games the Sharks have played since the trade deadline when both Tomas Hertl and Anthony Duclair were shipped to contending teams, Eklund and Bordeleau have six and seven points, respectively, and have also shown they can play a responsible two-way game while providing some needed energy.

Kostin, acquired from the Detroit Red Wings, has seven points in nine games and has found a home on San Jose’s top line with Mikael Granlund and Fabian Zetterlund.

Their performances do not overshadow the fact that the Sharks are a dismal 1-7-1 since the March 8 trade deadline, or that they’re 2-15-3 since Feb. 14. But it does provide some hope that Eklund, 21, Bordeleau, 22, and Kostin, 24, can be a part of the solution going forward, with all three under team control for several more years.

“I really like those kids, the way they want to go about their business, how they want to get better every single day,” Sharks alternate captain Mikael Granlund said of Eklund and Bordeleau.

On Kostin, acquired for defenseman Radim Simek, Sharks coach David Quinn said, “I like a lot about Klim. He protects (the puck), he holds it. He’s got a lot of qualities that we like. He’s big, he’s strong. He’s been a good addition for us.”

“I didn’t really know too much about him,” Granlund said of Kostin. “I’ve been really surprised by him. He’s been great for us.”

Eklund has started the last few games as a winger on the Sharks’ fourth line, down from being a second-line center. While some younger players might have pouted about playing a smaller role, Eklund has almost used it as fuel and has had some of his stronger games this month.

Against the Stars, Eklund was moved up to the second line to play with Luke Kunin and Barabanov, and finished with 18:32 of ice time.

“I liked his game,” Quinn said of Eklund. “I thought he kind of continued on the trajectory he was going over the last three or four games, so I thought he deserved an opportunity to move forward here and play with (Barabanov) and (Kunin).”

Bordeleau is the Sharks’ leading goal scorer with five since he was recalled from the AHL on March 6. But that’s not what has impressed Quinn the most about the forward’s play of late.

“He’s playing NHL hockey. It’s not just about points,” Quinn recently said of Bordeleau. “He’s put himself in good positions defensively, managing the puck and not chasing offense.

“He’s playing real big boy hockey. It’s great to see him get rewarded.”

Bordeleau had a tough start to the season and perhaps wasn’t put in the best position to succeed.

The Sharks needed centermen after Logan Couture and Granlund both missed games in October with injuries. But Bordelwau wasn’t quite ready to handle a middle-six center role in the NHL right away, and the Sharks sent him back to the Barracuda and made him a winger.

The move seemed to allow Bordeleau a chance to find out what was going to make him successful as a professional.

“I feel confident out there. I feel good. I’m dialed in,” Bordeleau said. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work this year.

“I’m just happy to finally be able to show what I can really do and kind of play more of my style of play a little bit but within the structure and within the system. I’m more comfortable bringing in my game within the all-around game of the NHL. It’s just fun to be a part of that.”

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