There will be a new face at the Sharks training camp when it opens on September 12. That newcomer is 27-year old forward Tyler Kennedy. The Sharks acquired the rights to speak with Kennedy from Pittsburgh prior to him gaining free agent status. That extra period of ‘getting to know you” time was crucial to the Sharks inking Kennedy a new two-year contract.
Sharks General manager Doug Wilson is pleased to have the energetic forward now wearing teal.
"He's a guy that for us fits perfectly with how we want to play and the type of ingredients that he brings filling out our top nine," Wilson said. "He can go up and down, he plays with an edge, he can score some goals. That's the type of player we've been looking for. Not only additional scoring but maintain the identity that we tried to build with our team the last year in particular.”
The right-handed shooter is a native of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. When it came time for Tyler to play junior hockey, he didn’t need to go far. He played four full seasons for the hometown SSM Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. During that time he refined his ‘grit factor’ while scoring at nearly a point per game pace.
At the 2006 NHL entry draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Kennedy in the 4th round, 99th overall. That following autumn saw Kennedy sent to the Penguins AHL affiliate for seasoning. While with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Kennedy continued to work on the finer points of his game. Pittsburgh made the call up early in the 2007-08 season. That season would see Kennedy notch 10 goals in 55 games. Kennedy fit in nicely a Pens team that went all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. Pittsburgh fell just short by losing out to the Detroit Red Wings in six games. That very next season saw the Penguins winning a Stanley Cup by downing that same Detroit Red Wings in seven games.
There is no substitute for winning, and Kennedy’s experience will be valuable to the Sharks in 2013-14. Adding Kennedy and his energetic, tenacious style to the likes of Raffi Torres, Tommy Wingels and Adam Burish should make life difficult for the rest of the NHL. Kennedy makes his living by working hard in the corners and making plays in traffic. Not a huge body at 5’11” and 183 lbs, he plays much bigger and is not afraid of battling for loose pucks.
Through the years Kennedy has earned the nickname, “The Little Tiger”. Known for his hard work, Tyler is also capable of chipping in with offense. He’s scored goals in double digits in five of his six NHL seasons. He’s known to be a streaky scorer whose value could be enormous if the top six forwards are not producing.
The spring of 2013 was bittersweet for San Jose. In round one, the Sharks defeated Vancouver in four games. This was the first winning sweep in Sharks history. The LA Kings provided the opposition in round two. After a hard-fought seven game series, the Kings came out ahead. The NHL’s parity is as great as ever and every addition or subtraction for a roster can be the difference of winning or losing a series.
Sharks training camp will open on September 12, with the regular season opener on October 3. Sharks Nation will most certainly have their eyes on #81 Tyler Kennedy, as hopes are high for another long playoff run and a shot at the 2014 Stanley Cup.