With Sharks training camp only 3 days away, head coach Todd McLellan
addressed a group of media to discuss plans for preseason camp and the 2013-2014 season in general. In addition, he spoke of three up-and-comers and their chances of lacing up for the team in October.
The Sharks are coming into camp with a very similar roster to last season, the missing element being TJ Galiardi, who was traded to the Calgary Flames in July for a 4th-round pick in the 2015 draft. Talk was mainly about filling this void on the Joe Thornton/Brent Burns line. One option may be in Tyler Kennedy
, a 5'11", 180 lb. forward who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2nd-round draft pick.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson
had Kennedy on his radar for the better part of a year before he finally nabbed his man in June. Kennedy brings an energetic and edgy style of play that Wilson wants to inject into the Sharks' lineup. His pace will be a welcome addition, but he's known to be wild-shooting, so he may have to settle down to be able to hit the back of the net. Then again, which is worse, a forward who is aggressive enough to whack the puck at the net at any time, or one who waits too long for a shot?
McLellan talked Kennedy up quite a bit, so unless he implodes during preseason (highly unlikely), he will most likely be on the roster on opening night.
“I know he's excited about being here. He wants to prove to the hockey
world that he’s very capable of contributing to his new team and we’re going to give him that chance…Last year we saw a change in our team when we talked about playing the game faster and quicker and harder. We want to build on that and he’s a very good ingredient to do that. That’s how he plays. He plays hard, he plays fast, he’s on pucks, he goes to the net. He’s not 6-foot-3 but that’s ok. He’s prepared to do those things and when he’s playing well, he’s all over the rink and he makes things happen.”
19-year old Czech Tomas Hertl
is also likely to make the opening night roster, though McLellan was mum about guaranteeing the youngster a spot.
“We’ll have to wait and see like everybody else…He has to be put in a situation where he has a chance to establish himself. Sometimes we’re in such a hurry to put players into our lineup that we don’t give players that chance.”
As previously mentioned in a Sharks Prospects article
in August, Hertl boasts both offensive prowess and defensive capabilities that make him an attractive option to substitute for the injured Marty Havlat, who underwent major groin surgery (bilateral pelvic reconstruction) in late June.
Speaking of Havlat, he surprised the media by joining his teammates on Monday at Sharks Ice. Though he has also attended captain's practices for the past week, he is likely to open the new season on the injured reserve (IR) list while the Sharks evaluate his progress.
One prospect who caught the eye of the Sharks front office during the Young Stars Tournament last week is rookie Matt Nieto
. Nieto was a 2nd-round pick in 2011 and recently completed his junior season at Boston University. He had two shots and a goal during the prospect's 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, the goal shocking the Flames only 12 seconds into the 2nd period.
“The two games I saw in Penticton, I thought he played well there and had an impact in both of them,” McLellan said. “But, it’s a large jump to make that transition. He’ll have the same opportunity as everybody else…Put it this way – somebody has to play. It doesn’t really matter where they came from, as long as they are ready and can contribute.”
Do you think these three are ready to make the Sharks' roster next month, or do they need some more time in development to hone their skills for NHL
-style of hockey
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Tags: Doug Wilson
, Matt Nieto
, San Jose
, San Jose Sharks
, Todd McLellan
, Tomas Hertl
, Tyler Kennedy