SAN JOSE -– There are a number of former first round Sharks draft picks that are trying desperately to make the opening night roster. Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin and Mirco Mueller are all high profile prospects that are expected to become full-time NHL’ers at some point in the near future.
But according to coach Pete DeBoer, don’t overlook one of the more familiar faces that was essentially pushed out of the lineup last season. Barclay Goodrow had a productive season with the Barracuda after he was reassigned there last early November, and is now hungry to return to the NHL.
The 23-year-old Goodrow got off to a solid start on Tuesday night with the Sharks’ first goal of the preseason, getting open in front of the net and making a slick move before flipping it in.
“We should be talking about him too like we’re talking about [the other prospects],” coach Pete DeBoer said. “He’s knocking on the door. I thought he had a good game [Tuesday] night.
“I like that he’s one of the guys in our system that has some special things – he’s a big-bodied guy, he can kill penalties. There’s a lot to like about Barclay, too.”
Goodrow made the Sharks out of camp last season primarily due to Melker Karlsson’s injury and Raffi Torres’ suspension. In 14 games in mostly a fourth line role, he had no goals, three assists and 13 penalty minutes. He wasn’t doing a whole lot of note.
He then got off to a slow start with the Barracuda, too, but surged in the second half and finished with 20 goals and 39 points in 57 games. He was named to the AHL All-Star Game.
“I think last year was big for me. I was able to work on all of the aspects of my game that needed to get better to play consistently at this level,” Goodrow said.
Among his biggest takeaways from his time in the minors was, “gaining confidence in the offensive zone. I kind of lost some of that throughout the beginning of the [NHL] season, so I think I gained some of that back. Just playing a more complete game, and using my size to my advantage – being more of a force in the offensive zone, winning puck battles.”
Goodrow was a scorer at the OHL level before he signed with the Sharks as a free agent on March 6, 2014. In 2013-14 in his final season there, he posted a team-high 33 goals and 67 points in 63 games while serving as the captain.
While it’s difficult to envision him in a top six role at the NHL level, Goodrow’s six-foot-two, 215-pound frame could make him an effective fourth liner. Other prospects like Meier and Goldobin don’t figure to play that far down the lineup, so that could give Goodrow an inside edge on making the team.
Goodrow, of course, would welcome any role on the Sharks, and indicated he could increase his scoring output at the NHL level. So far, he has four goals and 11 assists for 15 points in 74 games over two seasons.
“For the most part I’m a big player that likes to use my body, be a power forward, and I think that game kind of translates at both levels,” he said.
DeBoer said: “The nice thing is we know he has the ability to create some offense, and that’s always in the back of your mind. You have to establish yourself as a full time NHL’er and then kind of take that step … He’s a guy that has some intriguing talents that we don’t have in abundance down there. He’s a guy that’s going to get a long look.”
Goodrow will get a chance to build off his strong camp so far in the Sharks’ second preseason game on Friday, skating on a line with Karlsson and Tommy Wingels.
“Every practice, every preseason game is a tryout,” he said. “I’ll look to just leave it all out there, and hopefully it’s enough.”