The San Jose Sharks are patiently waiting for the 2023-24 campaign to mercifully come to an end, but it looks like it already has for forward Alexander Barabanov — along with his tenure in California.

The 29-year-old hasn't played since March 26 after suffering an injury blocking a shot against  the Dallas Stars, and there are no signs that the winger is close to returning to game action, according to The Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka.

Sharks head coach David Quinn announced that the Russian was week-to-week after he was seen in a walking boot days after the game. And as he is a pending unrestricted free agent, there's a good chance he doesn't play another game for San Jose.

“We missed him for sure,” Quinn reflected ahead of Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, per Pashelka.

“He’s a guy that we had last year and was a good player for us. Just seemed like right from the get-go, anytime things started going well for him, he got hurt. Unfortunately, that’s sports. That can happen. It can happen to anybody and this happens to be the year it happens to him. Unfortunately, it’s happened to a few too many guys for us this year.”

Barabanov was solid on a very bad Sharks team in 2022-23, breaking out to the tune of 15 goals and 47 points over 68 games. But he was unable to build on that momentum this time around, instead putting together his worst season an NHLer.

Alex Barabanov, Sharks have had a real tough go in 2023-24

 San Jose Sharks left wing Alexander Barabanov (94) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Barabanov has struggled to stay healthy this season, and he's also struggled to produce while on the ice. In 2023-24, he's at just 13 points in 46 games.

Quinn all-but-confirmed that the injury-riddled forward wouldn't return before the Sharks' regular-season finale against the Calgary Flames in Alberta on April 18. And there's really no reason for him to come back. San Jose has been awful again this year, currently last-place in league standings with a ghastly 18-51-8 record.

The front office will probably have the best chance to select No. 1 overall when the season concludes, but still, no one will be happy with another embarrassing campaign in California.

If this is the end for Barabanov in San Jose, he'll finish his Sharks tenure with 106 points in 193 games — the fifth-most in that span after Tomas Hertl (174), Erik Karlsson (140), Timo Meier (132), and Logan Couture (128), per Pashelka.

Barabanov was almost traded at deadline

It looked like the Sharks had a trade ready to go that would send Barabanov to the New York Rangers ahead of the deadline, with the forward even being held out of a game for “trade-related reasons.”

But that never materialized, and Tomas Hertl ended up being the player shipped out of town. With a minus-24 rating in 2023-24, along with the glaring lack of production, it makes sense that the team would move on from Barabanov once the season concludes.

But the talented winger can still play, and he could turn into an effective low-cost addition for a squad looking for a middle-six forward. Wherever he lands, he'll be a prime bounce-back candidate in 2024-25.