Greiss to start for Sharks vs. Columbus

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Greiss to start for Sharks vs. Columbus

Columbus (10-23-5) vs. Sharks (21-11-4) at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.

SAN JOSE -- Thomas Greiss will make his first start tonight since Dec. 3, as the Sharks host the continually-struggling Columbus Blue Jackets. Greiss will be backed up by Antti Niemi, and not Antero Niittymaki, who has yet to play but has considered himself ready since returning from a rehab assignment two weeks ago.

For the Sharks, tonights matchup against Columbus resembles a similar scene to last night -- facing an opponent who is far more capable on the ice than the standings suggest Respectively the Anaheim Ducks are 14th in the Western Conference standings, whereas the Blue Jackets (10-23-5) are last.

Their record probably isnt of late, indicative of the way theyve played, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said of the Jackets. They are strong along the boards, a strong cycle team. Their goaltending is starting to settle in and theyre getting some work done on their special teams. So, I think weve got our hands full.

Not to mention the Sharks are also facing the brunt of their January schedule; they're playing their third game in four nights.

Im not worried about that, Dan Boyle said. Weve got to be ready to play. Were professionals, and the excuses are there. We came in late last night, back to back, they (Columbus) are here waiting for us. But we cant look at that, weve just got to win hockey games. All you have to do is look at our board (in the players lounge), its too tight, too tight. We need these points.

Considering that the Sharks still have several games in hand against every team in the top 8, the standings are tight. So are the results recently for San Jose. Nine of the last 11 contests have been decided by a single goal. I asked the McLellan how that affects his team.

We cant waste minutes, McLellan said. When you look back and you use that stat you just talked about the one-goal difference, that can come in the first minute, that can come in the first 10 minutes if you take your time wading into the game, and you waste minutes you never get the opportunity to get them back.

You want to say its a good thing, Boyle said of the close calls. But obviously youd like to create some more breathing room. You look around the league and its tight certainly for us, there hasnt been too many blowouts this year. The Tampa game was an exception, but other than that, I guess it kind of prepares you for playoffs. Thats what it usually ends up being in the playoffs.

Quick Hits:
- Tommy Wingels was recalled from the AHLs Worcester Sharks after 21 points in 29 games. McLellan on Wingels: He has played extremely well down there. Ive been told that he is one of the best players in the American League, and thats exciting to know that he can come up and be that guy that we can count on for some big shifts especially after three games in four nights. Theres a good chance we will see him tonight.
- Andrew Murray on the struggles of a Columbus team he played three seasons with: I think its surprising for everybody, and frustrating for them. You would not have thought that at the beginning of the season.
- Boyle says he was a bit surprised to be voted on so highly in the fans All-Star balloting. Boyle finished 18th among all NHL defensemen with Brent Burns right behind him at 19th.

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

The Sharks officially announced the signing of defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract on Tuesday, as well as Swedish forward Filip Sandberg to a two-year contract.

Simek’s deal was reported on Monday and confirmed by NBC Sports California. The contract is valued at $925,000 for the 2017-18 season, a source confirmed. The 24-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons in the Czech league, posting 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating last season. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHL website.

In 211 career games in the Czech league, he posted 91 points (37g, 54a) and a plus-51 rating.

"Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America."

Sandberg, 22, has 71 points (25g, 46a) in 204 career games in the Swedish league. Last season, he posted 25 points (8g, 17a) and a plus-17 rating in 52 games.

Sandberg is set to make $742,500 in 2017-18 and $792,500 in 2018-19, a source confirmed.

The five-foot-nine, 180-pound Stockholm native also competed in the World Jr. Championships in 2013 and 2014, helping Sweden win silver both years.

"Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space," Wilson said. "He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players. We are excited for him to join our organization."

The contracts for Simek and Forsberg are two-way deals, allowing them to play for the AHL Barracuda next season.

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

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AP

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

The Sharks have signed Czech defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract.

The two-way deal, originally reported by Radio Praha in the Czech Republic, is expected to be announced by the Sharks later this week, according to a source. Simek just finished competing for his country in the 2017 IIHF World Championships, skating in all eight games for the Czech Republic while posting one goal, one assist, 11 shots and a minus-two rating.

Simek, 24, has spent the last five seasons in the Czech League. In 42 games for Liberec in 2016-17, he posted 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHF website.

The New York Rangers were also interested in Simek, according to the report.

Simek will likely begin next season with the AHL Barracuda.

The Sharks have signed a number of free agents out of Europe in recent seasons, including Joonas Donskoi in 2015 and Marcus Sorensen and Tim Heed last May.