With regards to lines for the regular season, a couple of preseason practices may not mean much, but it looks like there is a potential for the trio of Frazer McLaren, Scott Nichol and Jamal Mayers. There aren’t guarantees of who even makes the opening day roster at this point, but the group is getting time right now to make an impression in training camp.
“It’s a shorter camp, there is no doubt about it and we have less time to experiment,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We have an idea of who we think can play with who. With the new players coming into the fold, we’ve got to figure them out a little bit. For the most part, when you look at our top six, we’re comfortable mixing and matching them. With the bottom six forwards, we’re finding out a little bit about some of them.”
A line with McLaren, Nichol and Mayers would bring a little of everything – faceoff ability, speed, banging and size.
“That’s the way you put all your lines together, they have to complement each other,” said McLellan. “Jamal and Scotty have a tremendous amount of speed and they are tenacious. Frazer is a bigger man who might not be as quick, but he is big and strong, so that combination works well. They are all physical players. I think they will push each other and take pride in playing with each other.”
McLaren is still looking to solidify himself as a regular NHLer after playing 23 games and posting his first career NHL goal to go along with five helpers. If he is able to force his way into the lineup, he does bring the ability to drop the gloves when necessary.
“We want to play a certain way,” said Mayers. “Playing with a guy like Scotty who skates so well, I think we will have a lot of good chemistry. Frazer protects the puck really well down low and he is a big body. Hopefully we can get in on the forecheck and create some havoc.”
Nichol is the one constant from all of last season and he likes what he sees so far.
“I played with Frazer a little bit last year and played against Jamal for a long time when he was in St. Louis and I was in Nashville,” said Nichol. “I know how he plays, he is a smart veteran player. He’s always going to play within himself. We won’t waste a lot of energy turning pucks over. We play pretty much a north south game. Frazer for a big man can handle the puck really well, kind of like Clowe does. I think eventually it could be a really hard line to play against.”
Nichol says they will not be looking for style points.
“It’s not going to be a cut across the middle, drop pass, back door one-timer, it’s going to be meat and potatoes, kind of like Jed and I last year,” said Nichol. “We’ll take pride in getting in there and creating a bit of a momentum change.”
The first scrimmage of training camp took place at Sharks Ice on Sunday and there was plenty of action.
Right off the bat, Douglas Murray
put Devin Setoguchi on the ice to set the tone there was no holding back against one’s own teammates. Setoguchi responded in his own way later. There was no fighting during the contest, but the physical play was evident throughout the game.
As for the goals, Joe Thornton
and Derek Joslin scored for Team A in the first half and Patrick Marleau
and Joe Pavelski
scored for Team B to knot things at two halfway through.
Team B prevailed thanks to a Setoguchi power play goal in the second half.
“I’m not sure how it happened, but I got a lucky shot off and it went in the net for me,” said Setoguchi.
The game was played with two 30 minutes halves where the clock ran without stoppages except for the last two minutes of the second half.
Kent Huskins was cut beneath the eye, but took his treatment at halftime and came back to play finish the scrimmage.