San Jose Sharks, Thomas Bordeleau, William Eklund

Sharks’ Roster Decision Made Easy by Bordeleau & Eklund

There are less than 48 hours to go until the San Jose Sharks open their 2023-24 season against the Vegas Golden Knights, and we now know who will be available for that game. The release of the team’s opening night roster ended all of the discussion and conjecturing, and the team now looks ahead to playing games that count in the standings. Of all 23 names on the list, by far the most notable inclusions are forwards William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau. The two youngsters were certainly not guaranteed opening night NHL spots when training camp began — but thanks to their play, the organization had no choice but to make them a part of the team.

Bordeleau & Eklund Had Stellar Preseasons

It’s no secret that the leadup to the NHL regular season tends to hold more weight for young players than veterans, but Eklund and Bordeleau took full advantage of the opportunity. Both played very well at the Rookie Faceoff, posting points and making a positive impact on the ice during the three games. They continued their strong work in the preseason, where Bordeleau recorded two points and Eklund three.

Thomas Bordeleau San Jose Sharks
Thomas Bordeleau, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

But their impact was not limited to the box score by any stretch. Both skaters showed their intelligence and played a team-first style, willing to contribute in ways that wouldn’t show up on the stat sheet. Doing so is crucial for young players, and their ability to rise to the occasion is a positive sign for their development.

Sharks general manager Mike Grier has emphasized that no player is entitled to a roster spot, needing to truly earn it instead. Both players — and Bordeleau in particular — had their work cut out for them, and they refused to back away from the challenge.

Sharks’ Waivers Create Speculation Before Final Decision

Adding players like Bordeleau and Eklund to the roster meant the front office had to make some difficult decisions. Those choices came to fruition on Friday, Oct. 6, when the team waived forwards Ryan Carpenter, Oskar Lindblom and Jacob Peterson. None of them are huge stars, but all three can provide positive contributions — Carpenter is a steady veteran presence, Lindblom is well-liked by his teammates and offers checking-forward skills, and Peterson is just 24 and showed strong offensive abilities in his brief time in San Jose last season.

Related: Sharks Young Defensemen Causing Difficult Decisions

They all went unclaimed, but Grier’s willingness to make such a move indicated that he was clearing the way for new faces. Fans and pundits immediately theorized that the Sharks were making space for Eklund and Bordeleau, a prediction that obviously came true.

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The waivers are another indication of just how well the two have played over the last month or so. Leaving players exposed, with the risk of saying goodbye to them, is never easy, especially when they could play a clear role on the team. But Bordeleau and Eklund simply had to be on the NHL roster. Now they have a chance to prove they belong there full-time.

Sharks Roster Is Cause for Optimism

When they were prospects, Bordeleau and Eklund served as a symbol of the future. Now they’re a symbol of the present. Name any euphemism you want for a brief stint in the pros — the cup of coffee, the 15 minutes of fame. That’s exemplified most of their time in the league so far. But not anymore. A spot on the opening night roster likely means they can look forward to much longer stints in the NHL.

The duo’s roster spots should make fans excited as well. Sharks supporters have been waiting for the day when one or both of them would become long-term contributors to their team at the NHL level. It would appear that such a day has arrived.

The Sharks are entering a brand new era of the franchise. With Bordeleau and Eklund on the roster, the beginning of that era is clearer than ever before.

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