Doug Wilson has always had a keen eye for talent.
Consistent and effective, Wilson and his scouting department have identified plenty of players flying under the radar. Last offseason, when the Sharks signed Cam MacIntyre from Princeton University, many thought this was just the latest excavation of a diamond in the rough.
The prize of the undrafted free agent market, MacIntyre was expected to compete heavily for a roster spot. However, a groin injury prevented him from starting camp. The injury was expected to sideline him just a few days, but the problem proved to be much more persistent, and much more serious. MacIntyre, who worked so hard to get a contract, didn't even get a chance to skate.
"The injuries were dissapointing," said MacIntyre, in a recent interview with Fear the Fin. "They put a damper on things... and prevented me from making the impression that I wanted to last season."
It was a rough start for MacIntyre, who has battled injuries for much of his career as a hockey player. During his time at Princeton, he was limited to just twenty-four games in his junior and senior seasons, which was the main reason the six-foot tall, two-hundred-twenty pound forward went undrafted. Still, San Jose saw promise, promise which MacIntyre is hoping to fulfill.
To start down that road to redemption, MacIntyre was one of the first to begin practicing in the informal Captain's Ice sessions held by members of the team. At Captain's Ice, there are no coaches to impress, no roster spots to be earned. It's a laxed environment, but MacIntyre sees it as another step in his development.
His dedication to his career is evident in his presence.
"It's good to be on the ice early," states MacIntyre. "There are always things I can be working on."
He's learned that lesson the hard way.
"You always learn from it, when you get hurt," claimed MacIntyre. "About certain weaknesses and imbalances in your body. It gives you an opportunity to address those types of things."
So far, Sharks fans haven't been able to see MacIntyre at his best. As he recovered from injury, he saw some time with San Jose's minor league affilliate in Worcester. Unfortunately, that experience was mired in injury as well. Never quite at full-strength, MacIntyre scored just eight points in forty-two games with the team, struggling to make an impact. As always though, the optimistic forward considered the time to be a benificial learning experience. Confident and determined, MacIntyre gave us a peek at what his future may hold.
"I like to think of myself as a power forward who can shoot the puck pretty well. I'm a good, agressive forward who can forecheck effectively and finish checks. And, if the opportunity presents itself, I can put the puck in the back of the net."
If he remains healthy, that skill-set could end up finding its way onto the roster out of training camp. Spots are there for the taking, and the competition for one of those spots has already started in MacIntyre's mind.
Now, as he prepares for the start of organized team activity, he's leaving his injury history in the rear view mirror.
"That's all behind me," said a hopeful MacIntyre. "I feel healthy now. I'm super excited, and grateful. I was very fortunate to get a two-year deal and I'm lucky to have the opportunity to repay that confidence over the next couple of weeks and going forward with the organization."
If MacIntyre can continue to improve, and remain healthy while doing so, Sharks fans should be excited as well.