The Summer Knows – Training Camp Preparation

Recapping off season ponderings (to date)

(The Summer Knows….)
Lets you see

The wonder of it all
And if you’ve learned
Your lesson well
There’s little more
For her to tell

The time for summer roster tweaks is coming to an end.  Training camp preparation in full swing. But nothing is in concrete – still pencil.

It’s less than a month until NHL training camp opens; just four weeks until rookie scrimmages between the Sharks and Ducks; and five and a half weeks until the first preseason game.  (Plus the work is nearing completion at Sharks Ice San Jose for the new AHL Barracuda locker room, with direct access to the East Rink, which will be the AHLers main practice rink.  Construction disruptions adding to the work for the equipment managers as they get their season equipment orders arriving, and organized.)

New coaches at the top: The Sharks have hired a couple of assistant coaches (Boughner, Hedburg) to help DeBoer out, with another rumored assistant coach to come. Status quo on the Barracuda coaching staff (Summer, Mougenel) for the coming season.  The new NHL coaching staff means that there will be a new playing system. DeBoer has emphasized “puck possession” when describing his system.  (Sounds like more of a refinement of McLellan’s system, rather than a total new playing style.)

As of August 14, the Sharks have 40+2 under contract (max 50+CHL 18/19 year olds), and the Barracuda have 2 signed contracts.

So there is room for a handful of contracts to be signed or acquired in trade/waivers to fill out the depth chart (or even sign some CHL prospects via camp try outs). (But, given the current estimated NHL roster below, there is not sufficient cap space to sign nor acquire via trade a “big” name, unless there is cap $$ going back. I am of the opinion that the season opening NHL roster members will come from those already in the organization, rather than expecting some new faces to emerge as try out players, or waiver/trade acquisitions.)

The Sharks organization has apparently (no formal announcement, yet, but it’s been as late as mid October for such) continued the ECHL affiliation with the Allen Americans (who have a goalie, three defensemen and one forward signed as of 8/14), so some depth/injury replacement may be coming from there (and/or extra signees assigned).  (Note, that only players on ELS contracts can be assigned to ECHL without their permission.)  NHL and ECHL teams have roster limits; the AHL does not; so “extra” bodies might be “stashed” in the AHL if healthy (but the Sharks organization usually attempts to run lean, filling in with AHL PTO call ups for injuries).  There is usually an agreement between NHL and ECHL affiliates as to the number and position of players the former will provide the latter (as well as help scout players for the organization); these ECHL players are often invited to NHL camp (and sometimes AHL camp).  My observation based on previous seasons is that the Sharks organization will provide one goalie, 1-3 D, and 3-6 F.

NHL Depth Chart guessitmate (23-man roster):

Goalie: Jones, Stalock

Defense: Vlasic-Braun, Burns-Martin, Dillon (and two of DeMelo, Mueller, Tennyson)

Forwards: Pavelski-Thornton-Karlsson; Marleau-Couture-Hertl; Nieto-Wingels-Ward; x-Tierney-Smith; (and three of Brown, Torres; Goldobin, Goodrow, Jevpalovs)

AHL/ECHL roster guesstimate: (~25 healthy bodies)

Goalie: Grosenick, Dell, Rumpel

Defense: Bergman, Cundari, McNally, Ryan, Stollery, Young (and one of DeMelo, Mueller, Tennyson); plus 1-2 more for AHL roster

Forwards: Carpenter, Crane, Donskoi, Emmanuelsson, Haley, Langlois, Lerg, McCarthy, Parkes (and two of Brown, Torres; Goldobin, Goodrow, Jevpalovs); plus 2-3 more for AHL roster

Rumored (from late June) invitees to Sharks Rookie camp include: Cavan Fitzgerald, Joey Ratelle

It looks like there will be some fierce competition for the last 3-4 forward and 2 defense NHL roster spots.  A number of players with NHL experience may be out played by the younger kids, and find themselves in the AHL or another organization.

Meier and Chartier, the two most likely NHL-ready draftees, are going to spend most of training camp with the NHL team, but will probably return to their respective CHL teams to play for the season.  Six other CHL draftees will be trying to make their mark starting with the rookie camp, and hoping to stay longer (and/or get a signed contract).

October is coming, and we’ll see the players challenging on the ice to put a roster together, naming a new NHL captain before the puck drops October 7.  Stay tuned to the weekly news or twitter for signing updates.