Training camp and the preseason didn't go exactly the way Devin Shore had expected or hoped, but that didn't keep the 22-year-old center from landing a spot on the opening night roster for the Dallas Stars.
"It's really exciting, and I am thrilled to still be here," said Shore, who is among the 13 forwards on the 23-man roster.
Shore, who spent the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery that kept him out the second half of the 2015-16 campaign, suffered an ankle injury on the second day of training camp that sidelined him until the final preseason game.
"It was tough, but I think the shoulder injury prepared me a lot; it taught me about mental toughness and the ankle was just another bump in the road," said Shore, a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. "It was an unfortunate hand I was dealt because you are so excited to get back and try to prove yourself. But it is out of your control, so you just have to continue to do whatever you can to progress and to get back as soon as possible, and I think I did a good job of doing that."
Despite missing six of the seven preseason games, Shore's strong showing in that final game against Los Angeles in Las Vegas was enough to convince the Stars he had earned the opportunity to start the season in the NHL.
"Getting that one exhibition game was important," Shore said. "It means a ton, the confidence they've shown in me."
Shore, who is listed at 6-1, 205 pounds, had a great start with the Texas Stars last season before suffering the shoulder injury, registering 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) in 23 games. He put himself in a good spot heading into training camp with an impressive showing at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan in September.
"He skates well. He's a big body and passes the puck extremely well. He had a great Traverse City and was a difference maker up there," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "He's a great kid, and he's up for any assignment. He's so excited to be up here and have the opportunity to play. He got over a big hurdle with the injury and now he's back."
With Cody Eakin (knee) and Mattias Janmark (knee) both out, Shore will help fill a void at the center position. He's been centering the fourth line in practice this week. He's been on the second power-play unit as well.
"It's a goal of mine to learn every single day and take it one day at a time. As the days progress, I want to earn some trust and earn a spot to stay as long as I can," Shore said. "The injury situation [for the team] is tough, but it's an exciting opportunity coming off the [shoulder] injury. I had a long time to think about it. I had nine months to think about this training camp, so it is good to still be here."
Stars make moves to get roster to 23
The Stars made some roster moves Tuesday to get their opening night roster down to 23 active players.
Defenseman Mattias Backman, who cleared waivers, was assigned to the Texas Stars (AHL). Forwards Ales Hemsky (groin), Cody Eakin (knee) and Mattias Janmark (knee) all were placed on injured reserve. Center Jason Dickinson (hip) was placed on injured non-roster.
So, the Stars will carry 13 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders to open the season:
Forwards: Jamie Benn, Adam Cracknell, Patrick Eaves, Radek Faksa, Jiri Hudler, Lauri Korpikoski, Curtis McKenzie, Brett Ritchie, Antoine Roussel, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp, Devin Shore, Jason Spezza
Defensemen: Jordie Benn, Dan Hamhuis, Stephen Johns, John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth, Johnny Oduya, Jamie Oleksiak
Goaltenders: Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi
Sharp, Spezza named alternate captains for 2016-17
Jamie Benn enters his fourth season as the captain of the Dallas Stars, and there will be two new alternate captains this season: forwards Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp.
Video: Sharp, Spezza named alternate captains
"They are two veteran guys that have been there and done a lot," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "They were two guys that were very important on the teams they came from and have been very important since they got here and they've had a big influence."
The 33-year-old Spezza is in his third season with the Stars.
"It's a big honor and something I take seriously. You don't change much in the way you act, but it's definitely an honor, and it's always nice to be recognized as one of the leaders," Spezza said. "It's an important job. You usually have a leadership committee, and everybody has to lead in different ways and at different times you need to say a few different things. I think it is important for guys to feel like they have guys to talk to when they need to talk and it's our job to relay things back to the coaches and send the coaches' messages back to the group. Communication is an important thing in the game."
The 34-year-old Sharp is in his second season with Dallas.
"It's a great honor. It's something I don't take lightly. I am very proud to have a letter on my jersey at the NHL level, especially with a team like the Dallas Stars," Sharp said. "This time a year ago I was talking about how welcome I felt in the locker room and how this team was taking steps in the right direction. I am very happy to be a part of it, and I am going to do my best."
*Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak left Tuesday's practice early and did not return. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it appears Oleksiak won't be available to play in Thursday's opener.
"He got a little bit of a muscle strain, so in all likelihood, he'll be out for Thursday now," Ruff said.
*Defenseman Esa Lindell, who did not skate Monday due to an undisclosed injury, went through a full practice Tuesday.
*Here is Tuesday's practice lineup.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Patrick Sharp - Jason Spezza - Jiri Hudler
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie/Lauri Korpikoski - Devin Shore - Adam Cracknell
Jordie Benn - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Dan Hamhuis - Patrik Nemeth
Esa Lindell - Jamie Oleksiak
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.