San Jose Sharks veteran defenseman Brad Stuart will make his debut Tuesday night against the New York Rangers after missing every preseason game and the first two regular-season games with a lower-body injury.

"I feel good" Stuart said after the Sharks' morning skate at the SAP Center. "Feel as good as I can without having played a game. That's the next step. I'm excited just to be able to get out there.

"Obviously it's going to be a bit of an adjustment for me going from just practicing to having to play in a game. Try to use my experience and try to get up to speed as quick as I can."

Stuart has played 924 regular-season NHL games including all 48 last year with the Sharks after returning to San Jose his original team in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings. Sharks coach Todd McLellan said it's critical to have Stuart's "presence" back in the lineup.

"Our players like to play when he's involved in the game" McLellan said. "It's a simple as that. He's physical a very good penalty killer understands how we went to play and had the ability to play against other teams' top players. You get a guy like that back in your lineup when he gets to the top of his game it's a very welcomed addition."

Stuart will be paired with Jason Demers as veteran Scott Hannan will come out of the lineup. Last year down the stretch and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Demers battled a high ankle sprain and Stuart skated primarily with Hannan.

McLellan said he's been impressed by Demers' play this season.

"The fact that he's come in and re-established himself is the big thing for me. He looks a little more confident he looks sure of himself and I think that comes from health the ability to start with a team rather than coming in late and trying to fit in" McLellan said. "He's shown us signs of his defensive play which we believe is there. There's always work to do on the defensive end but he's getting better."