A week until hockey. It almost seems surreal, doesn't it?
But it's true. And with a week left until the season starts, the competition for some of the final few spots on the final roster is heating up. And while some of the Sharks second-year players have a leg up on some other challengers, none of them feel like their role is guaranteed.
"I don't believe that my spot is secure. I kind of come in with the mindset that I have to earn my spot again...I try not to get comfortable and stay motivated to do what I can to impress out there and play my game and show the coaches and people that are part of the Sharks that I can help this team. That's the mindset and I try to keep it that way. So, it keeps me pushing forward to be the best I can be out here." - Sharks Defenseman Mario Ferraro
But the upbeat defenseman has been impressing in camp.
"Mario just takes another step from last year; he came into camp and no one gave him a job. He worked for it from the first day in that rookie camp. All we could hear from the coaches was, "you got to see this Ferraro kid." He proved that he can play and that he's an NHL player and he's ready to take that next step this year." - Sharks Captain Logan Couture
Two other returning sophomores have put in the work over the pause to try to secure their spots.
"There was a lot of reflection that I was able to do throughout this extended off-season, and one of the things I wanted really wanted to do, was I put on some mass, I put on some weight while also trying to be as quick as I possibly can. I am not necessarily a quick guy to begin with, but just being able to play heavier while also playing fast was something I really worked hard on this summer." - Sharks Defenseman Jacob Middleton
"I think with this long offseason you had a ton of time to add strength, and I tried to do my best to not lose my speed. I think that's a big part of my game is my speed. I definitely don't think I lost anything. If anything, I think I might've gained a step, so I feel good out there." - Sharks Forward Noah Gregor
There is one thing that the sophomores have an advantage of: experience.
"What's easier in your second year is that you've had that first-year experience. It doesn't get easier, it gets harder as the years go by but, at least you have that first year of knowing what it takes to play in this league, knowing how to play, the chemistry with the team." - Sharks Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic