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Sharks' Barclay Goodrow was down, but not out

Forward prospect made best of demotion, eyes spot in San Jose lineup

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Barclay Goodrow describes last season as a roller-coaster ride filled with plenty of highs and lows.

The lowest came in early November, when he was sent to San Jose of the American Hockey League after having no goals and three assists in 12 games with the Sharks.

"To be honest with you, when he first came to us, he wasn't good," San Jose's AHL coach, Roy Sommer, said during Sharks development camp.

Goodrow, 23, initially played on the top line for Sommer but had dropped to the fourth line and off the power play by late November.

"Just wasn't getting it done," Sommer said. "Then we put him with [Ryan Carpenter] and Petter [Emanuelsson], and that was probably the best line in the American League for about a month. I think he picked up I don't know how many points. It was sick. He was two, three points every game.

"As he started getting points, his confidence started coming and he started playing better. He started holding onto pucks instead of dumping them, and making plays. He was going to the net and everything was going in for him."

Goodrow had 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists) in 57 AHL games and was named an AHL All-Star. Goodrow played 60 games for the Sharks as a rookie two seasons ago, and he's trying to regain the spot on the roster he lost last season.

"I think it was good for my game overall to spend time at the American League level to kind of just get my game where it needs to be, develop some things with more ice time at the American level," Goodrow said. "I think it was big for my confidence, and I did improve on some aspects of my game that I look forward to bringing to my game for this season coming up."

It took him some time, but Goodrow started playing a more physical game, taking advantage of his 6-foot-2, 215-pound body, which was what the Sharks told him to do at the time of his demotion.

"I'm a big body out there," Goodrow said. "If I can use my body to my advantage, whether it's driving pucks to the net or holding onto pucks down low, whether it's the offensive zone or defensive zone, just having the confidence to make a play when you do have the puck.

"When I got sent down, I was kind of nervous to make mistakes. I wasn't playing the game that got me to this level. I think I was able to work on those things and I continue to do that throughout the summer, and I look forward to bringing my best game to [training] camp."

Sharks development coach Mike Ricci said Goodrow made definite progress during his time in the AHL.

"It's just like anybody," Ricci said. "You've got to learn how to use your body. Teams want zone time now. Your legs and your body have to protect the puck, you have to keep it moving. Everybody defends so well. He's still a young player. He's got a lot to learn, but he's put the work in and I feel like he's gotten better, and he's still got some more work this summer. He's made the strides I think we want."

Goodrow won't lack motivation after being sent to the AHL, then practicing with the Sharks during their six-game series victory against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final and their six-game series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final.

"I was there for the third and fourth rounds, around the team, warmed up a couple games," Goodrow said. "Right when your team reaches the pinnacle of your sport and you're not in the lineup, it kind of just motivates you to do whatever it takes to make sure that if you have that chance again, you're going to be playing and helping the team.

"I just wanted to play. You dream of playing in the Stanley Cup Final. I was staying ready just in case something did happen and I was thrown in. It was a great experience to be a part of and just to see what the Stanley Cup Final was all about, but obviously I wish I was playing. That motivates me in the summer to become a better player to make sure I'm there the next time."

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