Joining Aaron Dell on the Marlies this coming season will be forward Rourke Chartier, also a former San Jose Shark.

This signing, and a flurry of others by NHL teams to finally add some players to their AHL rosters, might be an indication that clarity is coming on the potential return of AHL hockey. No official change to the December start date has been issued by the AHL yet, but the NHL has set January 1 as their new potential start time.

There have been rumours, but nothing confirmed yet, that the AHL will start later and play a reduced season.

Chartier was a fourth-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2014, and he has been in their organization since he finished junior hockey until the end of the 2018-2019 season. He did not play this year.

2018-19 Season Review: Can Rourke Chartier overcome his injury history?

He has been a regular points producer at a good, but not star quality of 0.61 points per game in the AHL, and has played in 13 NHL games for the Sharks.

He is (stop me if you’ve heard this before) 5’11” and 194 lbs and shoots left.

His injury history makes this signing a comeback attempt for him. From that article linked above:

Rourke Chartier finally got his first taste of NHL action in the 2018-19 season with the Sharks this season after two seasons of promising seasons with the Barracuda that were both cut short due to concussions. After a very impressive preseason in which he finished tied for third in points with two goals and three assists, Chartier made the Sharks’ opening night roster, and made his NHL debut on Oct. 8 against the New York Islanders in Brooklyn, logging an even 11 minutes of ice time.

But this summer, things changed. (This article is now unlocked, if you want to read the whole thing.)

For Rourke Chartier, There’s Light at the End of the Tunnel

Rourke Chartier is finally coming out of the haze that he’s been in for the last three years.

It’s been 18 months since Chartier’s last hockey game. 18 months since that last concussion, the one that caused the 24-year-old to miss the entire 2019-20 season.

It’s been 39 months since Chartier’s first concussion in the San Jose Sharks organization. 39 months since that first concussion, the one he’s finally recovered from.

From the first concussion on May 2, 2017 to the last concussion on February 21, 2019, Chartier played, despite headaches. He played, despite never feeling 100 percent. He played, despite another concussion.

This is a harrowing story of a young player battling through concussions for his entire pro career. I’m an instant fan of his now, and hope he really is able to play and that this comeback works. He needs to, and I fervently hope he can, trust the medical staff in Toronto to look after him properly, and to keep him off the ice if they have to.

But if it works, it will be something to see. Good luck to the newest Marlie!