SAN JOSE — Forty-eight hours after making an NHL roster for the first time, Freddie Hamilton is back in the minors, if only for a short time.
The Sharks announced Wednesday that they were recalling Matt Pelech from the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL for the season opening game Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks at the SAP Center.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Pelech could serve as the team's enforcer this season, though coach Todd McLellan played that aspect of his game down in explaining the decision not to go with Hamilton, who was expected to be one of three San Jose forward making their NHL debut.
"At this time of the year, sometimes the size and strength is important along the boards to wear other teams down," McLellan said. "No one really knows where the conditioning level is, even ours. We hope ours is elite. But if you can use that size and wear people down a little bit, you can take advantage of it."
Pelech, who is the nephew of Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis, has played in seven NHL games, including two last season with San Jose. The player said he worked hard in training camp to show he could be a responsible forward, not just a fighter.
"I tried to focus more on the playing rather than they physical parts and all the fighting," said Pelech, 26, who did get in an exhibition bout with Vancouver forward Tom Sestito. "I just wanted to show that I can play up here and I'm not a liability, and I can be safe and create the odd-scoring chance and play plus hockey. I think I did that."
Hamilton was reassigned to Worcester, but could be back as soon as the Sharks' second game Saturday night against the Phoenix Coyotes, McLellan said.