Sharks Outlook: Desjardins gives fourth line some attitude

Sharks Outlook: Desjardins gives fourth line some attitude
August 31, 2014, 9:45 am
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Andrew Desjardins accrued 17 points in 81 games last season (3 goals, 14 assists). (USATSI)

Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Insider Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every day leading up to the start of NHL training camp.

Name/Position: Andrew Desjardins, center

Age: 28

Salary: $750,000

Contract status: Pending unrestricted free agent

2013-14 year in review: Andrew Desjardins turned in another unspectacular yet decent season on the Sharks’ fourth line, skating in all but one game and posting three goals and 14 assists for 17 points and 86 penalty minutes. He took regular shifts on the Sharks’ penalty killing unit, and found some chemistry with linemate Mike Brown late in the season and in the playoffs.

He was also admirable in the faceoff circle, finishing with a 55.0 percent success rate.

2014-15 outlook: Desjardins’ roster spot should be fairly safe at this point, but there could be some other players pushing for his job. Adam Burish is one, as Burish could be on the outside looking in when camp begins. Another is Freddie Hamilton, who didn’t do a whole lot in his 11 NHL games last season as a rookie, but is still just 22 years old.

The Sharks want a fourth line with some bite, though, and Desjardins is an agitating player that will drop the gloves and chirp his opponents when necessary. He and linemates Brown and Raffi Torres had a direct effect early in the first round against the Kings, and although they weren’t able to maintain that effectiveness throughout the course of the series, it was exactly what general manager Doug Wilson had in mind when he envisioned his team’s forward group.

Torres, of course, will probably miss half of the season with a knee injury, so that line won't get a chance to play together again for quite some time.

Desjardins didn't have the benefit of playing with regular linemates last year, partly due to injuries and partly due to coaching decisions, but the no-nonsense 28-year-old just goes about his business. This season, Desjardins and Brown are probably the best bets to start the season on the fourth line with either free agent acquisition John Scott, Hamilton or possibly offseason acquisition Tye McGinn on the left side.