<
>

Sharks won't send Vlasic back to juniors

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the San Jose
Sharks' promising 19-year-old defenseman, has earned a roster spot
with the club.

General manager Doug Wilson decided Monday to keep Vlasic with
the Sharks instead of sending him back to the Quebec Remparts, his
junior team for the last three seasons.

Vlasic helped to lead coach Patrick Roy's team to the Memorial
Cup last summer, but the Sharks believe he's ready for bigger
challenges after playing well in San Jose's first eight games.

"He's got an amazing amount of poise," Wilson said before his
club faced the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night in the opener
of a five-game road trip. "He moves the puck very well. He does
the right thing almost every time he's on the ice. He's mature
beyond his years."

Vlasic scored 73 points for the Remparts last season after the
Sharks selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft. He made
the Sharks' opening-night roster this fall with an outstanding
training camp, beating out a handful of more experienced
defensemen.

"He does
the right thing almost every time he's on the ice. He's mature
beyond his years."
--Sharks GM Doug Wilson on defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Vlasic is scoreless in eight NHL games with a minus-1 rating,
but his statistics don't reflect the Sharks' growing confidence in
him. The teenager has played in every situation, contributing
steady passing and solid hits while playing nearly 20 minutes per
game -- third-most among San Jose's defensemen.

In his NHL debut in a home game against St. Louis, Vlasic was on
the Sharks' three-man penalty-killing team during a two-man
disadvantage stretching nearly two minutes.

Wilson debated sending Vlasic back to get another year of
seasoning in Quebec City, but decided a winning NHL atmosphere
would be even more beneficial than another year under Roy's
tutelage. San Jose won six of its first seven games to start the
regular season while relying heavily on Vlasic and 22-year-old
defenseman Matt Carle.

Vlasic will live with a San Jose family during the season -- a
strategy that worked well when the Sharks promoted then-21-year-old
forward Milan Michalek last season. Wilson also said Vlasic might
be allowed to play for Canada in the World Junior Championships,
which begin Dec. 26 in Sweden.

"He's here to play," Wilson said. "It defeats the purpose if
he doesn't play. ... You can't really put a value on a winning
environment. I'm not going to put any limitations on what he can
become."