Editor's Note: The above video is from July 11, 2016.
Checking in with a mailbag with opening night just nine days away…
With Meier out for a few weeks, who takes the open spot in the Sharks top nine? (willsy @mmamattwills)
I wouldn’t assume that it opens a place on one of the top three scoring lines, but it should allow for at least one player that wasn’t on the roster at the end of last season to earn a spot.
Among the players that are left, I would put Barclay Goodrow near the top. He’s a guy that coach Pete DeBoer has been very complimentary of, including on Saturday. When asked about the level of competition among the team’s young players, DeBoer brought up Goodrow’s name unprovoked.
“[There are] a lot of different options and a lot of different types of players, depending on what we’re looking at. It doesn’t necessarily mean the guy who scores the goals is going to make the team. Barclay Goodrow is doing a great job as a big body, heavy guy, on the wall. We lost [Dainius] Zubrus, we lost [Nick] Spaling … There’s different options there for us to consider.”
If Tomas Hertl begins on the top line wing again – and we still don’t know what DeBoer is thinking in that regard – it gives guys like Goodrow and Micheal Haley a better chance to stick. There’s no reason to keep skilled players like Nikolay Goldobin and Kevin Labanc on the NHL roster when they can play big minutes in the minors.
After three games, [Dylan] DeMelo has looked very good. Do you think he has a chance to push [Brenden] Dillon or [David] Schlemko out of the five-six spot? (Teal Town USA @TealTownUSA)
Not now. Dillon and Schlemko have been together since camp began, and that will be your third pair on opening night barring any sort of unexpected injury.
Still, DeMelo has shown he can play in the NHL, and the fact that his two-year offseason deal is a one-way contract for 2017-18 indicates that the Sharks believe that, too. He’ll be needed at some point, and from what I’ve seen he’s still a better option at this point than Mirco Mueller. Mueller had a strong preseason opener, but made some errors in the second game.
Is it still difficult to make roster decisions, with the #WCH2016 so recent and so many guys still missing? (Allan Nousiainen @golferallan)
It definitely throws a wrinkle into camp, especially for the Sharks, who had an NHL-high five players in the World Cup final. I expect those guys back on the ice either Tuesday or Wednesday, so we should know this week what the coaching staff is thinking in terms of who’s going to play where.
Something to keep in mind, too, is that other than Mikkel Boedker, the Canadian Sharks should be in game shape when the season begins. That could end up being an advantage early. This year also features the implementation of a bye week, and the Sharks will be off from Feb. 20-24, giving everyone time to rest and recover before the stretch run.
Who has impressed you most at camp? (Tony Martinico)
Chris Tierney immediately comes to mind. I think last season’s playoff run really helped with his confidence, and I think he’s better than just a fourth line center, as long as he improves in the faceoff circle.
To me, that’s probably biggest storyline that remains in camp – is Tierney the third line center, allowing Hertl to stay on the top line, or is Hertl going to get another look there? If it were up to me, I’d keep Hertl up top now that Timo Meier is out, and see how Tierney does on a third line with Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward.
What are Timo Meier's chances of making the roster once he's recovered from mono? (Paul Michael Kaiser)
As long as it’s only a month that he’s out, I expect Meier will play at least a handful of NHL games this season. He’ll have to start with the Barracuda, though. It would make absolutely no sense to throw him into NHL action when he’s better when he’s eligible to play in the minors.