Editor's Note: The above video is from Insider Kevin Kurz giving his analysis on the Sharks drafting Timo Meier on June 26.
SAN JOSE – Although Timo Meier is now back with his junior club in Halifax, he apparently left quite an impression on the new Sharks head coach.
Despite being just 18 years old, Meier, the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, came to camp with one idea in mind – to make the opening night NHL roster.
At one point in the intrasquad game three days into camp last Sunday, Meier hammered Sharks veteran Patrick Marleau along the wall. He followed that up with a pair of physical preseason games where he finished all of his checks and showed a promising combination of speed and skill to go along with his six-foot-one, 209-pound frame.
“The nice thing that I liked that he did, he didn’t show too much respect for the level. He came in and played his game,” Pete DeBoer said. “He came in and had five hits or six hits the last game, and ran at a couple guys in the intrasquad [game], veteran guys. That doesn’t happen very often, so that shows you that he came in here and tried to make the team. That’s a great quality and it’s going to be a nice quality for him moving forward.”
If this were last season, when the Sharks’ organizational depth was lacking, Meier might have had a shot to make the team out of camp like Mirco Mueller did. Instead, he’ll serve as the captain of the Mooseheads, and will surely represent Switzerland in the World Juniors starting in late December.
“The opportunity to play another year where he potentially scores 50 goals, those are few and far between,” DeBoer said. “That’s something that can always be beneficial to a young player. He’s going to be able to play in the World Juniors again, which is a great experience for anybody to go through.
“I think we all feel comfortable [with] the leadership role and the experience that he’s going to have this year. At the same time, his coach should know, he was pretty close, and that’s not a statement you want to make prior to us actually making that decision. He was a lot closer than people might know.”
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The Sharks are down to their two-man goaltending tandem in Martin Jones and Alex Stalock, after Troy Grosenick and Aaron Dell were reassigned to the Barracuda on Monday.
San Jose’s goaltending has been a strength through four preseason games, giving up just four goals. The team save percentage is .922.
While Jones will be counted on to emerge as the number one, DeBoer is encouraged with the stable of netminders behind the 25-year-old former backup to Jonathan Quick.
“I think we know who the goaltenders are here to start, and at the same time, the goaltending here has been excellent,” he said. “All four guys that played have been really good, so there’s a lot of depth here – a lot more depth than I anticipated.”
Jones may be slated to start Tuesday's home preseason finale vs. Vancouver, as Stalock took extra work after Monday's long practice.
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Barclay Goodrow remains as a guy that is fighting for his NHL job, and may have to begin the season with the Barracuda. There’s no room for him in the top nine, and Mike Brown, Raffi Torres and Melker Karlsson may all be ahead of Goodrow on the depth chart (provided Torres and Karlsson are healthy next week).
“It’s not hard to look at it and see that there’s too many guys out there,” said Goodrow of the Sharks’ 26-man training camp roster, including 17 forwards.
If he does start in the AHL, Goodrow would be a perfect example of someone that should keep some players on the NHL roster on their toes. After all, a player getting called up need only walk to the other side of Sharks Ice now rather than board a cross-country flight from Worcester.
“I’m a big believer in having a push from underneath, so to speak,” DeBoer said. “I think it’s critical for any team, and to have those guys right here is a great advantage.”