Seven players to watch during Sharks' exhibition season
7) Nikolay Goldobin
The Sharks’ first round pick in 2014 has put on some needed muscle and may be ready to play in some NHL games this season. He’s probably a longshot to make the opening night roster since the scoring winger still needs work on the defensive aspects of the game, but, like last year, he should get an extended look in camp.
6) Joonas Donskoi
The 23-year-old free agent addition from Finland had an outstanding rookie camp, and was impressive again in Sunday’s scrimmage. Expect coach Pete DeBoer to give him a nice long look with established NHL linemates to see if Donskoi is indeed ready for the best league in the world.
5) Raffi Torres
Whether Torres even plays in the preseason is to be determined, as he sat out of an intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday. After missing all of last season and most of 2013-14 with major right knee problems, it would be a great story if Torres were to become an effective player again.
4) Martin Jones
The former backup to Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles is now the new Sharks starting goalie, and he’ll be counted on to lock down that role ahead of backup Alex Stalock. Jones has just 34 games of NHL experience, but San Jose is expecting him to be an upgrade over former starter Antti Niemi who is now in Dallas.
3) Dylan DeMelo
The Sharks have made it known that there is a vacancy on the blue line for the sixth defenseman. DeMelo could have a leg up on players like Mirco Mueller and Matt Tennyson, considering he’s been paired with Brenden Dillon in camp. If he plays well in the preseason, the 22-year-old could very well make the opening night roster.
2) Brent Burns
The bearded one has a new defense partner in Paul Martin, who the Sharks hope can aid in the team’s 24th-ranked goals-against average from a year ago. Burns’ offensive skills are undeniable, but he’ll have to cut down on mistakes and mental errors that plagued him for most of last season.
1) Tomas Hertl
After a disappointing sophomore year, Hertl has added more muscle and cut down on his body fat thanks to a new, healthier diet. Considering he struggled with his confidence last season, getting a few goals in the preseason could go a long way as he enters an important stage in his career.