The San Jose Sharks might be a little old and creaky at the top of their lineup (aside from a Logan Couture and a Brent Burns there), but the depths of their roster could be awfully green. At least to start the season.
The Sharks decided to go with three rookie skaters: Tomas Hertl, Matt Nieto and Freddie Hamilton while Alex Stalock beat out Harri Sateri for the team’s backup goalie gig, CSNBayArea.com reports.
Hertl is 19, Nieto is 20 and Hamilton is 21. Hertl might be the one to watch closest, as he was selected 17th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. To some extent, injuries opened the door for this trio, but perhaps one or more can stick after being given a shot.
Stalock, 26, isn’t a spring chicken in net. Still, he only has three games at the NHL level on his resume, so he’s only experienced at lower levels.
The 2005 fourth-round pick expressed gratitude regarding the team’s patience in developing him.
“It’s been quite a four or five years,” Stalock said. “It’s amazing the way the organization stuck with me, and now giving me a chance to get back to where I was at a few years ago is pretty special, and I’m looking forward to it.”
San Jose’s counting on him, even if Antti Niemi carries a hefty workload for another season.
Former Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore may not be out of work much longer.
Francois Gagnon of RDS reports (link in French) the 2002 Hart Trophy winner has three NHL teams looking into signing him. Among the possible suitors are the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks. All three teams will start the season with questionable backup situations.
In Pittsburgh, Tomas Vokoun’s absence with a blood clot forces AHL veteran Jeff Zatkoff into the backup role. Nashville has Carter Hutton looking to backup Pekka Rinne while the Sharks have competition between Alex Stalock and Harri Sateri for the No. 2 spot behind Antti Niemi.
Those teams could get by with what they have already as backups, but Theodore provides the kind of veteran know-how coaches are more comfortable with.
There were rumors earlier of KHL interest in Theodore but he’s holding out for a NHL job. He wanted to stay with the Panthers, but they didn’t offer him a new deal and opted to invite Tim Thomas to camp this summer. Thomas is likely to sign with the team once new ownership takes over.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Sharks goaltenders Harri Sateri and Alex Stalock are both scheduled to dress in Monday’s preseason contest. It will be an early opportunity for one or both of them to impress coach Todd McLellan as they compete for the backup gig in San Jose. (San Jose Mercury News)
Whether or not Jason Spezza would become the Ottawa Senators’ captain wasn’t a matter of debate. (Ottawa Citizen)
The New Jersey Devils finished in the bottom third of the NHL with a 15.9% power-play success rate in 2013. Losing Ilya Kovalchuk in the summer certainly hasn’t done them any favors in that regard, but they’re hoping Jaromir Jagr proves to be a difference maker. (The Bergen Record)
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett looked good in his team’s 5-4 overtime loss to Columbus on Sunday. (Penguins.nhl.com)
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Ryan Stanton is competing for a roster spot, but with the team’s 2013 Stanley Cup-winning group intact, the odds aren’t in his favor. (Chicago Tribune)
Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is happy with how Emerson Etem, Andrew Cogliano, and Saku Koivu have meshed together so far. “I’ve got to believe the speed of those guys is going to create a little bit of havoc with anybody they play against,” Boudreau said. (Los Angeles Times)
The San Jose Sharks face almost a week-long gap between their first and second games, but that might not be enough time for Martin Havlat and Antti Niemi to return. Both figure to be key components of an impressive Sharks roster when they do, but each player remains a work in progress, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz.
It’s unclear if either will be ready for the Sharks’ second regular season game, which takes place on Oct. 15 against the Anaheim Ducks.
Havlat’s involvement in practice should generate a little more optimism than Niemi’s. He was a full participant in an hour-long skate while Niemi didn’t get as many looks as Thomas Greiss and gloriously named goalie Harri Sateri.
Havlat is coming off of shoulder surgery while Niemi had a cyst removed from an undisclosed area. Neither injury is on the high end of predictable problems, so we’ll just have to wait and see with both players. The Sharks looked scary without them during their season opener, but they’ll likely need their full compliment of players to take on more talented teams than the Phoenix Coyotes.