Auckland went to the Ballers, who gave it back to Auckland for a tap-in goal behind Knights goal scorer Robin Lehner.
If there was any doubt that Auckland would return to the SAP Center on October 16, wearing a shark uniform, he was wiped out on Saturday.
Auckland was everywhere, playing very little in the offensive and defensive zones, highlighting his departure and departure with Balser to give the Sharks a 4-0 win over Vegas in both teams’ pre-season finals. Get help
Jonathan Dahlon, Kevin Leibnick and Brent Burns also scored, and goalkeeper Eden Hill completed 25 saves as the Sharks closed the pre-season with a 3-2-1 record.
The Sharks will now turn their attention to the regular season opener at home against the Winnipeg Jets next Saturday. San Jose, which had 29 players in the camp as of Saturday morning, will have to reach its list of 23 players by 2pm on Monday.
Here are the takeaways from Saturday night.
Closing Argument: Auckland did nothing more to prove that he was with the Sharks to start the season.
He ended the exhibition season with a team high of six points, including five assists. His work has been just as important away from every shift and pick.
As an example, on Saturday, he quietly helped free line Matt Thomas Hartel for a shot on goal. On the other hand, he made some space in the defensive zone for himself and cooked the defender Mario Ferraro to help start the breakout.
Auckland, who also made two penalties, is one of five or maybe six cheaters to start the season with the Sharks. At a minimum, he will audition for nine games that provide players with an entry-level contract.
Before Auckland’s 10th game, the Shark must decide whether to send him back to Sweden, assign him to the AHL or place him on the roster and burn the first year of his entry.
If they are serious about becoming a playoff team, the Sharks will have to see Auckland in the pre-season games. Then they can go ahead and find out what’s best for their long-term future.
Final tone up: Hill didn’t have to shine in the net on Saturdays, just make the savings he expected. He had to save only 15 in the first two periods, only one came to power play.
It was an important night for Hill, at least in the sense that he would have to be ready to go in a week when he would be allowed to launch against potential jets. He only played in another second pre-season game, on September 26, when he blocked 21 of 23 shots in Shark’s 4-2 win over Vegas at T-Mobile Arena.
Fit: Saturday’s game was not about deciding the winners of the last few roster spots that were available at the start of camp. It was about the last look at the final dress rehearsal of the show season that the lines and the defensive pair could establish some chemistry.
By all accounts, the Sharks will be next week with spy forwards Jasper Weatherby, Dahlon, Auckland, Lane Pedersen, Joanna Gudjovic, and defender Santeri Hatka.
On Saturday, Dahlon started the game with Logan Kochhar and Timo Meyer, and with Auckland Hartel and Balsers. Weatherby and Pedersen formed the fourth line with Andrew Cogliano.
Right now, Dahlon doesn’t look out of place. But more will be known when the physicality increases next week.