Training camp begins

The rookies have come to town, headed to Colorado to play against (more experienced) Avalanche and Ducks rookies, losing both games.  Meanwhile, those with under 50 games of NHL experience have been getting drilled by the NHL Sharks staff.

Starting Thursday, the rest of the guys (not still in World Cup of Hockey participation) will have their chance, and a few try out players will be seeking a contract (including some prospects).

The U50 and rookies have been skating and scrimmaged on Wednesday.  I noted that many of the drills seem to focus on speed – both offensively and defensively.  (Woe to the defenseman or forward who needs to improve his edge work. It’ll be obvious to the casual viewer that improvement is needed.) Guessing this is a chance for the organization to identify which players can skate faster/fastest, which was an issue against the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Sharks appear to be about $1m under the cap to start the season (this may change, slightly, as players are assigned to Worcester and the NHL roster clarifies).

The initial camp roster has no veteran PTOs (Professional Try Out).  This means that the Sharks really do want to give their younger players a chance to play their way onto the NHL roster.  There are seven prospect try outs on the roster, the same as the initial rookie camp roster. (Two haven’t been seen since the rookie camp “ended”, but no releases have been announced.)  With 45 players under contract (two which can slide if they don’t make the NHL roster), there is room to sign some of those try out players, or vets on PTOs around the league for more depth.  (Last season the Sharks did bring Zubrus in on a PTO, but that was after the season started and camp ended.)

Should be a competitive camp.  Vets should not be complacent and rookies may surprise.  The action starts Friday on the ice.