That resulted in many changes. For the Sharks, a new head coach, #1 goalie, and a few other players were replaced. For the Kings, due to depth chart, cap and legal issues (1, 2), they lost a few players, traded and signed for others.
Sharks’ Martin Jones is scheduled to start against his former team. As a key addition to the Sharks roster, he’ll be a focus of many opponents. Not the least will be his former team, the Kings. This could be a distraction, so getting through that first meeting is a good thing it’s the first game of the season, but more important is getting the win.
The team has other new faces, including a couple of rookies (DeMelo, Donskoi), and some bubble players, they’ve integrated into the season opening roster as well. (And those across the hall in the AHL Barracuda dressing room will be playing their hardest to try and be “the guy” called up when there’s an injury or someone falters in their NHL play.) Arguably, pressure has never been higher to stay on the NHL roster.
Another outside distraction is the public’s/MSM’s voyeurism into the team as they deal with Torres’ suspension (and loss of his playing abilities).
Plus, the Sharks have their six-year season-opening winning streak on the line.
The puck drops tonight. Let’s see what the new season brings.