NHL Rumors: Barabanov Has Played His Last Game With The Sharks

He hasn't played since March 26th, and it appears that that will be the last game that Alexander Barabanov ever plays for the San Jose Sharks, according to the latest reports. 

The Russian winger sustained an injury blocking a shot two weeks ago, and there are no signs that he is anywhere close to returning. That, plus his pending unrestricted free agent status, is a sure-fire indication that he is done in San Jose, according to Sharks insider Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News. 

A trade to the New York Rangers seemed to be on the verge of completion at the trade deadline, and Barabanov was even held out of a game for "trade related reasons." But when the Sharks used their final retention slot for a much bigger deal in sending Tomas Hertl to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Barabanov trade fell through. But it was clear that the Sharks have no intention of re-signing him this summer, as they were set to move on from him. 

Barabanov first arrived in San Jose three years ago in a late-season trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had two productive middle-six seasons, recording 25 goals and 86 points over the pair of campaigns. But 2023-24 has been more of a struggle for the Russian as he's faced several injuries and has recorded just 13 points in 46 games, along with a plus-minus rating of -24. 

With his $2.5 million AAV contract expiring, and taking a very down season with him into free agency, he could be a nice, low-cost pick-up for a team looking for a potentially solid middle-six forward.

Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports