WICHITA, Kan. (Jan. 19) – The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, AHL's San Jose Barracuda and powered by Toyota, announced today that the Sharks have assigned goaltender Eetu Makiniemi (AY-tu MAHK-e-nee-em-ee) and defenseman Gannon Laroque to the Thunder from the Barracuda.
Additionally, goaltender Georgi Romanov has been reassigned by the Sharks to the Barracuda.
Makiniemi, 24, appeared in two games back for the Thunder back in November against Rapid City. He went 1-1-0 in two appearances, claiming a 4-2 win on Friday, November 17, stopping 31 shots.
He is in his third year in North America. A native of Vantaa, Finland, the 6-foot-2, 183-pound netminder was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round (#104 overall) during the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Makiniemi appeared in 14 games for the AHL's Chicago Wolves in the 2021-22 season. He went 11-2-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He was acquired by the Sharks as a part of a trade that saw defenseman Brent Burns go to the Hurricanes in 2022.
Last season, he played in 22 games for the Barracuda while also seeing action in two games for the Sharks. Makiniemi went 8-10-3 with a 2.96 goals-against average and .900 save percentage for the Barracuda.
Laroque, 20, was recalled to the Barracuda on December 29. He made his AHL-season debut on January 16 against the Charlotte Checkers.
In eight games with the Thunder, Laroque native has two assists.
Laroque is in his first full season as a pro. A native of Edmonton, Alberta, the 6-foot-2, 201-pound blueliner was drafted by the Sharks in the fourth round (#103) during the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
He was set to be the captain for the Western Hockey League's Victoria Royals last year before his season was cut short due to injury. Before getting hurt, he had five points (2g, 3a) in four games.
In 2021-22, Laroque had a breakout year for the Royals. He racked up 52 points (10g, 42a) in 63 games. His performance earned him a spot on the WHL (BC) First All-Star Team. Laroque also played in three games for the Barracuda netting one assist.
Wichita returns to action tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the Tulsa Oilers.
Tonight is Hispanic Heritage Night featuring the Wichita Tortugas. Join us as we change to our alter-ego for one game and help represent the state reptile. Get our special Tortugas four-pack, which includes four goal-zone tickets and two commemorative Tortugas pucks for just $80. Click HERE to purchase today!
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