The San Jose Sharks called up Kevin Labanc from the San Jose Barracuda Monday morning.
The move precedes a lengthy six-game road trip that features teams like the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues.
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) November 7, 2016
Labanc, 20, leads all rookies in scoring in the AHL with 1.67 points per game—10 points in six games. The next closest rookie is Danton Heinen of the Providence Bruins, who has four points in three games—a 1.33 points-per-game pace.
The former Barrie Colt played on the top line for the Barracuda prior to the call up, along with fellow 2014 draft picks Nikolay Goldobin and Rourke Chartier. Together, the trio combined for 25 points in six games.
The high point total and plus-six rating is not a shock to see from Labanc, who impressed the fans, the media and the coaching staff during training camp. Some writers, including myself, speculated that Labanc could make the team out of camp, though the organization elected to play him in the AHL instead to start the year.
San Jose is on a three game losing streak heading into its second east-coast road trip, and they are hoping to turn their fortunes around before coming back to the Bay Area.
Coach Peter DeBoer has been shaking up his lines throughout this tough stretch—moving players around the lineup and switching off between utilizing the physical Michael Haley and speedy Matt Nieto.
It is possible Labanc could slot in on the fourth line wing alongside playmaking center Chris Tierney, though it is still not confirmed that the left winger will receive ice time during his stint with the Sharks.
Pucknology Writers Room and Fear the Fin both speculated that it may be time to call up Labanc; his drive and scoring talent at the AHL level could very well translate to the NHL and give the Sharks the spark they need to succeed.
If he slots into the lineup, Labanc may have a chance to steal an NHL job.