San Jose Sharks’ Brad Stuart To Make Season Debut vs. New York Rangers

Brad Stuart

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SPORTS

Defenseman Brad Stuart will finally hit the ice for the first time this season in the San Jose Sharks‘ inter-conference home match-up with the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

The 33-year-old missed the entire preseason and the first two games of the regular season with a lower body injury.  Stuart will be paired up with Jason Demers on defense replacing Scott Hannon, who will be listed a healthy scratch according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Stuart will bring his veteran presence to an already experience-rich Sharks defensive corps. Last season after being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings in June of 2012, Stuart was superb in the Sharks’ penalty kill that ranked sixth in the NHL at 85.03-percent. He led the team in shorthanded minutes while playing in all 48 games of the shortened season.

He earned six assists with no goals during the 2012-13 season, but those are not areas where he will help improve the team. The Sharks have plenty of sources for goals — Stuart will aid the defensive side and help keep pressure off goalie Antti Niemi. What will excite Sharks fans even further is that San Jose’s defense is already playing at an elevated level. The Sharks have allowed just a single goal in each of its first two games, down early on from a 2.41 goals per game average a year ago.

The 13-year veteran will make an immediate impact to both the Sharks’ third line and the penalty kill team. He was a huge factor in the Detroit Red Wings’ Stanley Cup Finals victory in 2008, which is a big reason why San Jose wanted to acquire him in the first place. This city has never seen a Stanley Cup parade, but Stuart can most definitely help bring one.

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