SAN JOSE – The Sharks and new head coach Pete DeBoer hit the ice for their first day of training camp on Friday, with traces of some familiar lines and defensive pairs. Here’s a first look at the combinations, although there will surely be some experiments and changes throughout the next few weeks.
Up front in the first group, Tomas Hertl was on Joe Thornton’s wing with Joe Pavelski assuming his familiar spot on the right. Chris Tierney centered Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto, reuniting a group that had a measure of success late last season. A young line featured 2015 first round pick Timo Meier with Ryan Carpenter and Joonas Donskoi, who impressed in last Saturday's rookie game vs. Anaheim.
Group B featured Logan Couture between newcomer Joel Ward and his regular left wing Patrick Marleau. Ben Smith skated with Raffi Torres and Nikolay Goldobin.
"I think line combinations are always kind of fluid and moving. The bottom line is not everything here is broken," DeBoer said. "We’re going to concentrate on the areas that need fixing right away. There are some other things that are really good here and that includes some of the chemistry between some of the guys out there. We’re not going to mess with that. That doesn’t mean we’re married to combinations foe the entire year. I think our concentration is going to be in some other areas rather than line combinations right now."
Melker Karlsson, also listed in Group B, did not skate and is day-to-day with an unspecified injury.
"Just something minor," DeBoer said. "We’re just being cautious with anything. We’re trying to look a little big picture rather than the first day."
On defense, Brent Burns and newcomer Paul Martin were paired, as expected, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun skated together. Mirco Mueller was with Matt Tennyson, while Brenden Dillon was paired with Dylan DeMelo, suggesting the 22-year-old may have a good chance to grab one of the two open spots on the blue line.
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The Sharks reduced their training camp roster to 55 on Thursday, cutting several players that were in town for rookie camp. The most notable of those players was Gabryel Boudreau, the team’s second round pick in 2013 that was permitted to re-enter the 2015 NHL draft. He was not selected, so he attended Sharks rookie camp on a tryout basis, but now his career in San Jose is essentially over.
Other players released from their tryouts were goalie Liam Herbst, defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald and forwards Stephen Harper and Joey Ratelle. Unsigned draft picks returning to their junior clubs include forwards Kevin Labanc and Alex Schoenborn and defenseman Alexis Vanier.