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9/15 Training Camp Notes
Let the games begin, time to start thinking contracts
9/15/13 - By Mike Lee -

Sharks Training Camp kicked into full swing this past week, with players reporting for initial practices and inter-team scrimmages at Sharks Ice on 10th street south of downtown. 50+ players are working to land one of the 23 roster spots that will be filled for San Jose's opening night game on October 3rd. Most of those 23 slots are committed to veteran players, but a handful of prospects are hopeful that they'll catch the eye of Sharks head coach Todd McLellan and his staff.

Players are divided into two groups in order to make practices more manageable, as well as to create even scrimmage teams. Group A notables include Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Jason Demers, Raffi Torres, and Scott Hannan. Group B includes Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Tyler Kennedy, Brent Burns, Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Antti Niemi. Not surprisingly, Group B has dominated most of the scrimmage play, which started last Friday.

The most notable line combination has been Thornton, centering Burns and off-season acquisition Tyler Kennedy. Kennedy, the long-time Pittsburgh Penguin forward, was the biggest fish Sharks GM Doug Wilson landed over the summer. McLellan seems intrigued by the thought have having Kennedy try to bolster the Sharks scoring with the help of the team's best setup man and their converted defenseman who blossomed up front at the end of the 2012-13 season.

You may get a chance to see how that line does on Monday night as the Sharks travel to Vancouver to kick-off the pre-season schedule with a game in British Columbia. NHL Network is scheduled to broadcast the game live, starting at 7:00pm.

The rest of the Sharks week looks like the following:

MON., SEPT. 16
10:15 a.m. - Group Two practice @ Sharks Ice (East)
7 P.M. - GAME @ VANCOUVER - TV: NHL NETWORK

TUES., SEPT. 17
Day Off

WED., SEPT. 18
10 a.m. - Group 1 practice @ Sharks Ice
11:30 a.m. - Group 2 practice @ Sharks Ice

THURS., SEPT. 19
10 a.m. - Group 1 practice @ Sharks Ice
11:30 a.m. - Group 2 practice @ Sharks Ice

FRI., SEPT. 20
9:15 a.m. - Group 1 practice @ SAP Center
10:30 a.m. - Group 2 practice @ SAP Center
7:30 P.M - GAME VS. ANAHEIM DUCKS - SAP CENTER

SAT., SEPT. 21
9:15 a.m. - Group 1 practice @ SAP Center
10:30 a.m. - Group 2 practice @ SAP Center
7:30 P.M - GAME VS. PHOENX COYOTES - SAP CENTER

SUN., SEPT. 22
Day Off

MON., SEPT. 23
10 a.m. - Group 1 practice @ Sharks Ice
11:30 a.m. - Group 2 practice @ Sharks Ice

TUES., SEPT. 24
9:15 a.m. - Group 1 practice @ SAP Center
10:30 a.m. - Group 2 practice @ SAP Center
7:30 P.M - GAME VS. VANCOUVER CANUCKS - SAP CENTER - TV: NHL NETWORK

It's Never too Early to Start Talking Dollars

Wilson spent a good deal of time getting players signed to deals that help round out his lineup including inking Pavelski, Couture and Torres to multi-year deals. His real work lies next summer when his three most notable veterans all become unrestricted free agents.

That list includes Thornton, Marleau and Boyle. Thornton tops the payroll this season with a $7 million paycheck, followed by Marleau at $6.9 million, and Boyle at $6.66 million. A deal for Thornton is almost a given, but things get interesting when it comes to the other two.

Marleau's future will largely be dictated by his performance this season. Wilson remains extremely loyal to his veterans, but he has to decide if committing a large portion of his salary cap space to the 16 year vet is worth it. Come playoff time, Marleau has been a world beater one year, and a goat the next. His biological clock isn't as concerning as Boyle's, but it's still something to consider.

Marleau, like the other two, will undoubtedly demand a multi-year deal. His roots are based in San Jose, and he'll want to finish his career in the Bay Area. Marleau and Wilson will need to work and long and hard to figure out what's amicable for both sides.

Boyle's situation is much more complicated. He had a down year, and his age is starting to show. His offensive numbers were down, and $7 million a season is a lot of money to commit to a defenseman whose career is battling Father Time.

Boyle was thought to be a trade target of several teams last spring, but his big money contract made him tough to move. Only Wilson knows if he was a trade option, but history suggests that anyone is game.

Shelling out big dollars to a 37 year-old blueliner is probably unlikely, so Boyle will need to decide if San Jose is in his future. It makes sense for Wilson to ask for a discount from Boyle and his agent.

If he's smart, Wilson figures out how he's going to play these situations by December so he can chart a path on how he uses them come spring time. All three have no-trade clauses, but each could agree on moves if the two parties decide that longer term deals are not in the cards.

The Dinged

Defenseman Brad Stuart is not participating in practices, as he nurses an undisclosed injury. Martin Havlat is expected to miss time as well as he continues to recover from off-season hip surgery.

No Bull

The Sharks affiliate San Francisco Bulls held open tryouts at the cow Palace on Sunday. Several hopefuls from around North America and Europe kicked off the open tryout, with the hope of landing a full time spot on the ECHL team's roster. One player from the tryout is guaranteed a spot on the team's roster from a pre-season game.


>> 2013 Training Camp Center


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