Ben Eager is very familiar with the National Hockey League’s Western Conference. He was chosen in the first round by Phoenix in 2002 and was a member of Chicago’s Stanley Cup Champions. Now, after a brief stint in Atlanta, he’s back in the west.
“It’s good to get back to the west. I was really familiar with it the last three seasons in Chicago,” Eager said. “It fits my game. It’s a fast, high tempo game and I can skate pretty well.”
In addition to being happy about his conference affiliation, Eager is equally ready to join the Sharks, a club he knows a great deal about from last year’s Western Conference Finals.
“I’m definitely excited to be here and be part of the San Jose Sharks,” Eager said. “You look up and down their lineup and they have a deep team with a lot of special players. We played against them a lot the last few years and they were always tough games. You had to be ready to play a team like the Sharks.”
As for his game, no one will question Eager’s desire to compete.
“I just come and compete every night,” Eager said. “I try to get in on the forecheck hard and try to make the other teams’ defensemen turn and go back for the puck and try to score some goals.”
Eager’s ability to be physical in all areas will definitely be noticed by fans and that can make a player equally as popular in the dressing room.
“I’ve always been a physical player,” Eager said. “I’ll be a tough player to player against and bring some excitement to the dressing room. (I’ll) just be a good team player.”
Eager is anxious to help the Sharks make another deep postseason run.
“Come playoff time, I want to be a big part of the team and help the team win,” Eager said.
Eager, who played junior hockey with Oshawa, is familiar with both Sharks netminders. He played with Antti Niemi
the last two years in Chicago. Eager was Antero Niittymaki’s teammate in Philadelphia.
“I’m looking forward to seeing (Antti),” Eager said. “We had a great time in Chicago and he’s a great goaltender. I know Niittymaki from when I played in Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to seeing those guys and getting to know the rest of the guys.”
Eager has every intention of making the first possible practice with his new club.
“I’m packing up my place here and it’s a scramble,” Eager said. “I’ve got a flight tonight at 7 o’clock getting out of here. I should be on the ice tomorrow for practice.”