SAN JOSE — Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer spoke highly of the San Jose Sharks’ blueline on Saturday.
“I would argue we might have the most blueline depth one-to-seven, maybe one-to-eight in the league, or right up there,” DeBoer said.
“When you combine that with Martin Jones, that gives you an opportunity to win every night.”
DeBoer also mentioned his seventh and eighth defensemen. Despite the Sharks’ signing of David Schlemko, which would seem to push Dylan DeMelo down the depth chart, DeBoer said DeMelo remains in the mix.
“I think he’s more than an insurance policy. I think he’s going to push for a job here,” DeBoer said.
“We don’t slot ice time on contracts or what guys are making. We’ve got eight [or] nine quality defensemen here. Let the competition begin.”
DeBoer said DeMelo opened his eyes last year in camp, and that he’s looking for that same performance from Mirco Mueller during training camp this year.
“There’s other guys in the organization [that] we need to do the same thing. Mirco Mueller needs to be one of those guys this year. He’s got to be this year’s Dylan DeMelo.”
Dell “trying not to think about” backup goalie competition
Aaron Dell is one of three goaltenders in training camp competing to be Martin Jones’ backup. Dell platooned with one of those goaltenders, Troy Grosenick, for most of last season with the San Jose Barracuda, before becoming the starter down the stretch.
Dell knows of the opportunity to win the job, but doesn’t want to worry about it.
“I’m trying not to think about [the competition] too much,” Dell said.
“It’s [the coaching staff’s] decision at the end.”
Dell’s bounced around the pro ranks since leaving the University of North Dakota. He played in the now-defunct CHL, ECHL, and six games in the AHL before joining the Worcester Sharks on a two-way contract with the ECHL’s Allen Americans during the 2014-15 season. Last season, Dell was a full-time member of the San Jose Barracuda.
In two seasons with the Sharks’ top minor league affiliate, Dell posted a .927 and .922 SV%, and was rewarded with a two-year deal this offseason. At age 27, Dell thinks he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL.
“I feel pretty comfortable out there. I think all the steps I’ve taken all the way up have prepared me pretty well for this opportunity.”
Head coach Pete DeBoer said that Dell’s performance the last couple of seasons “deserves recognition” and he’ll take it into account. But, the competition is still open, and there could still be more of it brought in later on.
“These guys all have to understand that we are looking internally first, but if the answer isn’t there, then there’s a whole other pool of guys that come into consideration,” DeBoer said.
Time will tell if Dell emerges as the Sharks’ backup goaltender. He said he’s always dreamed of being an NHL starter, but won’t mind being second on the depth chart in this case.
“This would be the first step [to being a starter.] Just to be there would be a dream come true.”
Quote of the Day
Head coach Pete DeBoer on not putting too much faith in his initial observations:
I’ve made the mistake over the years of watching practice, and there’s some guys that look fantastic in practice and games start, and they’re nowhere to be found, and the opposite.
I remember I had Mike Richards as a 16-year-old. He was our first-round pick in Kitchener when I was coaching junior. He was 5-10, 11, and about 160 pounds and couldn’t skate really well, had a terrible camp. I almost wrote him off, and he went on to lead us to a Memorial Cup less than 24 months later.
You got to be careful with that. I think he real test is once the games start.