Every once in a while, a player-for-player trade works out for both teams, and that seems to be the case in the Jacob Peterson for Scott Reedy trade that happened at last year’s trade deadline. When Mike Grier sent Reedy to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Peterson, many fans scratched their heads about the trade. Reedy had a very productive rookie season for the San Jose Sharks, scoring seven goals in 35 NHL games and 18 goals in 38 games for the San Jose Barracuda. Reedy struggled to find consistency under a new coaching staff and system that was installed.
Jacob Peterson, a former fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft, hit the ground running once he arrived in San Jose. He scored six points in eight games for the Cuda and was recalled by the Sharks soon after. Peterson had eight points in 11 games in the NHL, including two goals. Peterson, much like Reedy, flashed as a rookie for the Stars with 12 goals in 65 games during the 2021-22 season but could only manage one game in the NHL the following season.
Peterson found a role with the Sharks as a setup man. His ability to use his vision to create and find open players was a huge asset in the middle six for the Sharks last season. On the Sharks, he got a lot of power play time and took advantage of those opportunities. Both of his goals came on the power play. Peterson has shown an ability to score both in the NHL and the AHL and if he can round out his defensive game a bit, the Sharks could be looking at Swedish Alexander Barabanov.
Where does Peterson fit?
This offseason, the Sharks signed Peterson to a one-year deal worth $775k. He will still be an RFA next offseason, but he is no longer waivers exempt, meaning he will be subject to waivers if the Sharks want to send him to play in the AHL this year. Peterson will be fighting for an NHL job but could be the odd man out with the additions of Anthony Duclair, Mike Hoffman, and Filip Zadina. This also doesn’t take into account the re-signing of Fabian Zetterlund, whom Peterson thoroughly outplayed down the stretch, but Zetterlund was given a two-year deal worth almost $3 million. The Sharks have a ton of wingers on the NHL team, and Peterson will have to fight for his job.
One of the big decisions Mike Grier will have to wrestle with is subjecting Peterson to waivers. While young players do pass through waivers all the time, there is a risk to it. Peterson showed well down the stretch for a bad Sharks team, and he just turned 24 this summer. His salary is the league minimum, allowing a team to fit him in their salary cap easily. If Peterson hits the waiver wire, there is a very realistic chance that a team takes a flier on a player who just hasn’t gotten enough NHL time.
If Peterson doesn’t make the opening night team but does pass through waivers, he will be in line to play top-line minutes for the Barracuda and will be one of the first call-ups for the Sharks when necessary. On the Barracuda, expect Pederson to play in all situations, as he would be one of the more experienced players in the forward group outside of Ryan Carpenter, Nathan Todd, and Scott Sabourin.
What’s next for Peterson?
Jacob Peterson will be one of the most interesting players among the forwards in camp because he showed so well at the end of last year. Was that because the forward group was so void of talent that anyone with a shred of skill stood out, or did he do that because he was legitimately good? With more depth in the forward group with Duclair, Zadina, and William Eklund, can Peterson play a bottom-six role for the Sharks as he waits for players to get moved out at the trade deadline and can establish himself as a middle-six player of the future?
Jacob Peterson has the makings of being Alexander Barabanov 2.0, where he puts up close to 50 points a season for the Sharks in the very near future. The big question is, will he be in San Jose to do it?
Bold Prediction: Despite the logjam in the forward group, Peterson makes the Sharks this season and scores 30 points.