The San Jose Sharks have yet to find a groove, but they’re hoping their new acquisition can change that dynamic.
Brenden Dillon will play his first game for the Sharks as they continue a six-game homestand Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes.
San Jose (10-9-3) dealt defenseman Jason Demers and a future draft pick to Dallas for Dillon on Friday.
The 24-year-old defenseman had nine goals and 17 assists in 149 career games with the Stars. He ranked third on Dallas in total ice time and had one assist, 23 penalty minutes, 27 hits and 29 blocked shots in 20 games this season.
"Brenden is a well-rounded, physical player who brings an important ingredient to our existing group of defensemen," general manager Doug Wilson told the Sharks’ official website. "He was physically a late blooming player and we feel, at the age of 24, his game is continuing to trend upwards. He fits really well for our organization now and for the future."
Dillon strengthens a defensive unit that ranks near the bottom of the NHL with 31.5 shots allowed per game, although the play of Antti Niemi (.917 save percentage) and Troy Grosenick (.948) has kept the Sharks’ goals-against average at a respectable 2.59.
San Jose lost 3-2 in a shootout to Florida on Thursday in its first home game following a seven-game trip. Niemi gave up a goal 24 seconds in but responded by allowing one on 25 shots the rest of the way.
"We get scored on on the first shot of the game, coming home from that long road trip, and we could have responded differently," coach Todd McLellan said. "At least we responded positively."
The Sharks have played 16 of their 22 games on the road, going 8-6-2.
Most of San Jose’s issues have stemmed from a sputtering offense, which has failed to score more than two goals in seven straight games – the Sharks have 11 goals over that span.
"We’ll get to our practice facility, get our equipment on, go out and work on a few things, and get settled at home," McClellan said. "We have some work ahead of us. It’s pretty obvious."
Arizona (8-10-2) has struggled away from home, losing seven of 11 following a 3-1 defeat in Dallas on Thursday.
The Coyotes have also dealt with problems on offense, averaging 2.40 goals for one of the lowest marks in the NHL. They’re in the midst of playing six of seven on the road.
"Everybody has hard parts of their schedule, and it’s just a hard part of our schedule," coach Dave Tippett said. "But with that being said, I like the way our guys are competing. We’re hanging around games. We’re doing a lot of things to give ourselves a chance to win."
Those scoring troubles, however, apply only to the 5-on-5 game as Arizona ranks among the best in the league with 15 power-play goals. Lauri Korpikoski scored Thursday’s goal on the man advantage, marking the fourth consecutive road game the Coyotes have netted a power-play goal.
Mike Smith, who owns a 4-10-1 record and 3.30 GAA, is likely to get the nod in net. He’s 0-4-1 in his last five starts but 7-1-2 with a 1.46 GAA in his past 10 against the Sharks.
San Jose is 17-2-4 in the last 23 meetings at home.