Sharks

Dylan Gambrell recalled by Sharks after working on lengthy to-do list

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USATSI

Dylan Gambrell recalled by Sharks after working on lengthy to-do list

SAN JOSE -- After a successful stint with the Barracuda, Dylan Gambrell is getting another shot with the big club.

The Sharks announced Saturday that they have recalled the 22-year-old rookie from the AHL, where he has registered six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games. 

“He’s done a good job at the American League level. The reports have been good,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after Saturday’s morning skate.

Gambrell said he was given a list of things to work on after he was reassigned back on Oct. 30. At the top of that list? Making his game more physical.

“Being a little bit grittier on the corners, winning one-on-one battles, being a little bit harder to play against,” the speedy forward listed off. “Just trying to execute that a little better.”

“I think he’s an honest 200-foot player,” DeBoer assessed. “He just has to realize up here that, to use that speed, you have to attack holes and draw penalties.”

When NBC Sports California caught up with Gambrell at the beginning of the season, he was eager to be penciled into the NHL lineup, whether DeBoer started him at center or on the wing. A month later, he’s still up for the challenge.

“It’s more just a mindset thing,” Gambrell explained. “Either way, it’s a battle you have to win.”

For Saturday night’s game against the St. Louis Blues, Gambrell is expected to be slotted as the Sharks’ fourth-line center.

“I like the fact he’s a centerman,” DeBoer said. "We’re still looking for guys to grab roles there."

[RELATED: Sharks-Blues projected lines and defensive pairs]

With Gambrell being called up to the NHL level, the Sharks also reassigned Rourke Chartier to the Barracuda. DeBoer explained the move was to give the rookie center, who has one goal in 13 games, a chance to boost his confidence.

“Our whole group hasn’t been great lately,” the coach said. “When you’re a young guy and you’re in that situation, sometimes it’s better to get into an environment where, instead of it snowballing on you, you can nip it in the bud and get back to playing some big minutes and get your confidence back.”

Sharks' Erik Karlsson adjusting well to new fatherhood amid NHL hiatus

Sharks' Erik Karlsson adjusting well to new fatherhood amid NHL hiatus

The last six months have been hectic for Sharks star Erik Karlsson.
 
It's not just the uphill hockey season, and thumb surgery, and the suspension of all sports in general. But it's also becoming a dad, and getting really good at … diapers.
 
“I can’t say that I’m a pro at it,” Karlsson joked. “Although I do change the diapers at night in the complete dark, and that can be a little tricky at times.”
 
Erik missed the first Sharks game of the season to be with his wife Melinda for the birth of their daughter, Harlow Rain. Now that hockey sits idle, the defenseman is substituting line changes with teammates for diaper changes with his daughter.
 
“I’m a little bit more of a risk-taker,” Karlsson said about his strategy. “I do believe if the diaper is full and she’s done, then she’s done.”
 
He also reaffirmed what every parent quickly learns: "Number ones" are much easier to handle than "number twos."
 
“It depends what type of number two, too,” Karlsson said. “Some are easier than others.”
 
Fatherhood of six months has already made Karlsson realize he’s changed.
 
“My patience, especially is a lot better, and the uncertainty of things,” Karlsson shared. “Not being able to plan as much ahead as you could before.”
 
Fortunately, Erik’s left thumb has recovered well since the injury and required surgery in mid-February. Meaning he’s not limited in dad-duties this summer.
 
“That’s been great, it was one of the things I didn’t really worry about to begin with, and I’m definitely not worried about it right now,” Karlsson explained. “If the season would have been on, I probably could have played a couple weeks ago.”

[RELATED: Bettman says NHL examining all options for restart]
 
This means the Norris winner should have no problem defending 2-on-1’s next season, just like he’s defending “twos” and “ones” this summer.
 
“At first, it made you gag sometimes, and now it doesn’t even phase me really.”

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Mario Ferraro has surpassed the wildest of expectations in his rookie season with the Sharks, and it hasn't exactly been an uneventful one.

Since making the jump straight from college to the pros, the 21-year-old defenseman has witnessed a mid-season coaching change, the acquisition and eventual trading of a franchise legend, a seemingly endless string of serious injuries to roster cornerstones and -- oh yeah -- an indefinite pause of the NHL season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Not exactly your average rookie year.

Technically, Ferraro's rookie season hasn't come to an end -- at least not yet. Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that there currently is too much uncertainty for the league to be able to determine when the season might be able to resume, though he hopes to "know more by the end of April." In any case, even if San Jose was able to play out its remaining games, there are only 12 left. Considering the Sharks fell to the absolute bottom of the NHL standings right before the season was paused, an additional playoff run is entirely out of the question.

So, for all intents and purposes, we can't really consider Ferraro a rookie anymore. He has 61 career NHL games under his belt, so, really, that has been the case for a while.

Ferraro flew back to Toronto shortly before the Bay Area's shelter-in-place orders went into effect, and has been doing his best to stay in shape while living at his parents' house. In a recent discussion with NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil, he described an important lesson that was crucial to his development as a rookie.

"I think one small thing that's actually not small at all when you really look at it," Ferraro said, "is just preparation and that mentality of staying even-keel the whole year. What I mean by that is not getting too high on the highs or too low on the lows. You have so many games and so many important games that if you have a good game one night, you better forget about it because you gotta do the same thing the next night. Or, vice versa, if you play poorly, you really gotta forget about it and bounce back strong.

"And it's not just from game to game -- it's from shift to shift. You're playing in a league that has really fast players, strong players. You can get exposed, and it's going to happen. People are going to make mistakes. I'm a defenseman, so I feel like you're more bound to make mistakes ... they're more glaringly obvious. From a mental perspective, you really have to learn to just kind of say, OK, it happened. Move on. Let's get back to my game and play hard."

While Ferraro is correct that no player is exempt from making mistakes, he didn't have too many glaring errors throughout his first season in the NHL -- or at least, he did a good job covering them up. He earned the trust of the coaching staff and was rewarded with additional opportunities, which he proved capable of handling. Over the last eight games before the season was paused, Ferraro averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per night.

[RELATED: Leonard reunited with college roommate Ferraro on Sharks]

In terms of mentors on the team, Ferraro specifically mentioned fellow defenseman Brent Burns as someone who has been tremendously helpful to him. And like seemingly everyone else in that locker room, Ferraro is a big fan of Joe Thornton. But ultimately, it has been a team effort in supporting Ferraro throughout his rookie year. It takes a village, after all.

"Nobody's counted out on this team," Ferraro explained. "They're all great guys. They've all taught me a ton this year, and we're really close. It has been a good learning curve for me."

While we're all focused on flattening the curve, it has long been evident that -- as a rookie -- Ferraro's wasn't very steep.