SAN JOSE -- There has been a lot of talk outside the Sharks dressing room about whether this season's roster can make up for the offensive firepower the team lost during the offseason.
Sure, some of that talk may be circulating within the dressing room as well. But San Jose knows it has the tools to fill the void -- regardless of what the outside world is saying.
"I think the media's going to talk about those things," defenseman Brenden Dillon said as camp opened up. "And in our room too -- there are lockers that are open. There are positions open. You see different line combinations throughout camp."
In addition to losing regular-season goals leader Joe Pavelski (Dallas) for their upcoming campaign, San Jose will be without depth scorers Joonas Donskoi (Colorado) and Gustav Nyquist (Columbus), as well as defenseman and penalty-kill staple Justin Braun (Philadelphia).
While most NHL teams see some sort of turnover in the offseason -- heck, the Sharks are no strangers to how the business of hockey works -- there has been plenty of speculation ahead of the 2019-20 campaign as to how the Sharks will compete since they didn't add a big-name player to their roster to make up for their losses
But as Dillon explained, he and his teammates have to focus on the guys who are on the roster with them right now --- not who they're missing from last year.
"I think it's about realizing the opportunity for us," he summarized. "Whoever's in this room, whoever's dressed for game nights, that's your teammate. That's who you're going to battle with."
Logan Couture had a similar message on the first day of training camp. As hard as it may seem to fill in for the departed players, that's part of the game. Plus, it gives emerging players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, and Kevin Labanc the chance to fill in those roles.
"It's not an easy task, but that's the way it works," the captain said. "Same thing happened when Patty (Marleau) moved on somewhere else. Other guys got opportunities to step up and our scouting staff did a tremendous job bringing in European players as well as Timo and Banker, guys like that they drafted. There's a new wave of younger players we're excited about and hopefully this year they can break through like Timo and Banker and Tommy Hertl did."
The Sharks are, in fact, putting a lot of stock in the crop of youngsters that have come into this year's training camp. General manager Doug Wilson went so far as to say earlier this month the team is "as excited about this group of forwards coming in as we've ever been."
After just a couple days of practicing and scrimmaging, those younger players already are starting to show that they are ready to compete for big jobs.
Seeing such positive results at the start of the preseason makes it easier for the Sharks to look forward with the players they currently have in their dressing room.
"I think it just shows the future is bright for us," Dillon said. "And I think for a lot of -- whether it's analysts or (whoever) -- saying we've got 'too many holes to fill' and missing too many things, camp so far has been really good, and there's a lot of talent."