Drew Shore was understandably a bit disappointed.
A season after playing 11 games with the Calgary Flames, the 25-year-old was hoping to seize the opportunity of an increased role in the NHL.
Instead, he saw ice in just two skates, both coming in the final two games of the season.
But plenty of optimism still abounds in Shore.
“Overall I was a little disappointed with it but I definitely think I improved as a player this year,” said Shore, who had 78 career NHL games under his belt heading into the season. “I think that’s a really good positive. I’m really looking forward to next year and hopefully getting to camp on a good note.”
There’s plenty of good notes to build on.
With the Stockton Flames of the American Hockey League, Shore tied his professional high in goals at 10. He also set new pro marks with 28 assists and 38 points, despite being limited to 59 games.
But it’s NHL success, not AHL totals, that pushes Shore.
“I think it just drives you and motivates you a little bit,” Shore said. “It’s the best league in the world up there and that’s everyone’s goal. Every guy down here is trying to make it up there. Day-in and day-out, it’s a good reminder of what you’re working for and what you hope to achieve.”
Achieve with the Flames, too.
Shore, a pending restricted free agent, needs a qualifying offer from Calgary this summer.
It’s where he wants to end up.
“I’d obviously love to play in the NHL anywhere, but I’ve been up in Calgary a little bit over the last two years,” said Shore. “It’s a great city. The fans love the game there and they’re an up-and-coming team. It’s definitely something I’d like to be a part of.
“Up there I got to watch part of their playoff run last year and it’s amazing the support they got from the city. As a hockey player you want to play in an environment like that. It’s something I think a lot of players thrive off of.”
Shore will be the first to admit there’s work to be done to get there.
Plenty to work on to be an NHL regular.
Plenty to do before training camp hits in the fall.
And he's is up for the challenge.
“Like any young player, they definitely want me to get stronger, spend a lot of time in the gym,” Shore said. “It’s something I’m going to do this summer and hopefully set myself up to be in the best position I can next season.”