Raffi Torres eligible to return from 41-game ban Thursday, but will he?
After two games in Calgary and Winnipeg, the San Jose Sharks will return home on Thursday to play six of seven at SAP Center.
Thursday also marks the first day that Raffi Torres is eligible to play again following his 41-game suspension for a hit on Jakob Silfverberg of the Anaheim Ducks during preseason. But the forward may not be able to immediately re-join the Sharks as he works his way back from a December procedure that removed scar tissues from his surgically repaired right knee.
Injuries and this current suspension have limited Torres to only 44 games over the last three seasons. And with a knee that has contributed to much of that, what will he do if he can’t shake these injury woes?
“Personally, I expect to go out there and I want to be pain-free and play. But, the reality is there are some hurdles. If I can get over them and get over the hump, I still feel like I can be effective in this league. But, if I don’t, then it’s obviously time to think about some other things.”
With the Sharks currently on the outside the Western Conference playoff picture, if you listen to head coach Peter DeBoer, whoever is slotted into their depth spots will need to be able to contribute.
“We’re looking for production. If we’re going to use guys for 12, 14, 15 minutes a night, you can’t just take up space or be a good guy or a good teammate," he said on Friday via the Mercury News. "That’s great, but we need some of the depth here to make a difference on a night. It’s not your turn every night, but we need some time of production there.”
The 34-year old Torres is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Sharks have stood by him despite his past, but would GM Doug Wilson keep the relationship going beyond this season if Torres can finish out the year healthy, especially at the risk that the next suspendable offense could cost be for an entire year?
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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy
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