SAN JOSE — Aaron Dell will have a chance to make his case for the Sharks’ backup goalie job. Dell will start tonight’s preseason tilt against Arizona, and could play the entire game, according to head coach Pete DeBoer.
“I’m going to see how the game goes, but I’m not opposed to leaving him in the game, depending on how things are going,” DeBoer said.
This will be Dell’s first ever preseason start for the Sharks, but he said he’s already familiar with the SAP Center and some of the players playing in front of him tonight. Last season, Dell started 40 regular season games for the San Jose Barracuda, posting a .922 SV%. With the Barracuda sharing the same practice facilities as the Sharks, Dell was able to see firsthand the preparation and maintenance required to make it to the highest level.
“I think being able to see all that, I could see the level that I needed to be at to be here,” Dell said.
Dell described himself as a fast, aggressive goaltender that looks to “get out and take away the angle” to compensate for his lack of size. His best attribute, however, may be his poise.
“In general, I’m pretty laid-back. I think that helps a lot,” Dell said. “I try not to do too much.”
As Dell looks to jump to a higher level, he will not only face better shooters, but play behind better defensive players. As a result, he said that the easy saves become even more important.
“I think the mental side is a big of part of it,” “[There’s] a bit more structure. there’s not as many ‘grade A’ chances. So, I think being strong on the shots that I need to save is a big part.”
The Sharks will face a lineup light on NHL veterans tonight, just as they did on Thursday. It would not be the same as evaluating Dell against NHL competition, DeBoer said Dell still has to handle what lies directly in front of him.
“You still have to produce,” DeBoer said. “I look at Donskoi last year, and [he cleared] every hurdle. Whether it was an early exhibition game, which earned him a late exhibition game against NHL content, andplayed well again. That earned him a regular season game. You’ve got to keep clearing the hurdles that get put in front of you.”
Meier returns to practice
Timo Meier skated today for the first time since Saturday, joining the Sharks’ second group.
“It was great to be back on the ice,” Meier said. “[I’m] trying to get started slowly, and not try to do too much and get it worse.”
The 2015 first round pick said he began to feel sick a couple days before he missed his first practice on Sunday, and was feeling symptoms “a little bit” on the first day of camp. He said he lost a couple pounds while he was feeling sick, and was only able to eat yogurt and other similar foods. He decided to skate today because he felt better this morning.
“I was able to eat, [and] get back some more energy,” Meier said. “I was talking to the doctor and he said, ‘why don’t you give it a shot?’”
Meier said he made more of an effort as practice went on in order to rest. He’s not sure if he’s going to be able to play on Sunday in Vancouver, but said he doesn’t want to rush back in an effort to make the team knowing time is on his side.
“I might miss an NHL game, but at the end of the day you want to have a long career,” Meier said. “You[‘ve] got to make sure your body is staying healthy.”
The Sharks are still not sure what Meier has, but will have a better idea in the next couple of days, according to Meier.
DeBoer gets creative with lack of centers
With Logan Couture and Joe Thornton missing all of camp so far because of the World Cup of Hockey, Pete DeBoer has had to get creative with who’s played center.
Patrick Marleau and Tomas Hertl, who played wing down the stretch for San Jose, have centered their own lines throughout camp, and will play the same position tonight. Tommy Wingels, who played center in college, will also center his own line start the game. Melker Karlsson, who took line rushes alongside Wingels at the morning skate, will see some time at center as well.
Part of this is because Thornton and Couture are gone, but it is also to see which players can be counted on where during the season, according to DeBoer.
“We need versatility. We need guys that can move around depending on injuries and things like that,” DeBoer said. “We need guys that can step into multiple roles.”
DeBoer added that he doesn’t “have anyone penciled in anywhere” to start the season, and will continue to evaluate each position as the preseason continues.
“Everything’s so fluid with lineups and injuries. We still haven’t even got everyone back here yet to see what we have,” DeBoer said.
World Cup contingent flying home today
Mikkel Boedker, Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are flying back from the World Cup of Hockey to San Jose today, but won’t rejoin the team until after the weekend according to DeBoer.
“I don’t anticipate them being around [training camp] until Tuesday [or Wednesday] next week,” DeBoer said.
Last night, Burns, Couture, Thornton, Vlasic, and Canada clinched the World Cup of Hockey with a 2-1 win over Boedker and team Europe. The game was Boedker’s
first second of the tournament, and the Sharks’ free-agent acquisition finished fourth on Europe in even strength corsi-for percentage.