Jabber Jaws: End of the season interview with Noah Gregor
Gregor talks contract, his slow start and what he hopes to bring next year. Plus, what a potential top draft pick could bring to the team.
Sharks' forward Noah Gregor talks about what may have triggered the slow start to his season, how he pulled it all together in the final few weeks and what that means for whether he'll be re-signed by the Sharks in the offseason.
Plus, Gregor talks about what he's seen out of the young prospects coming into the NHL for the first time and his outlook on a potential top pick in the NHL draft.
Gregor reflects on how the 2022-23 season went
"A tough year for everyone. You know, personally, it was hard. Really, the first half was tough for myself, you know, not playing as well as I would have liked and, you know, being [at the end of] the lineup is never fun as well. And then just, you know, the way our season was losing a lot of games, it's tough."
"But we have a great group in here and away from the rink our team is really close. So, you know, it's always a positive, and then was able to finish on a pretty strong note for myself so I can hopefully build on that into next season, which is, you know, it's good."
Gregor on what spurred his strong finish to the season
"It's tough to say; I don't know. I wish I had an answer, so I could, you know, replicate the last two months for the whole season. You know, I would have loved to play like that the whole year, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. I don't know."
"I think just maybe confidence. You know, getting a little more opportunity here in the last couple of months helped as well. A little more ice time, you know, had some chances on the power play, that helps to get some more reps in, get some more touches on the ice. I think that helps."
"I don't know if there's a different approach. I try to approach every game, you know, the same way. It's weird how in the last two years, I've had really strong finishes. But, obviously, I want to start that way. So, maybe just changing my mindset a little bit, trying to have that confidence coming into next year that I'm going to be an impact player in this league for this team. And then, hopefully, I can create some of this production that I've had at the end into next year."
Gregor on what may have contributed to his slow start to the season
"I think, you know, once I was kind of in and out of the lineup, I probably didn't have the best attitude. You know, I was down on myself. I wasn't...not the right mindset, I guess, for a lot of those games. It's hard to be in and out of the lineup when you...I expect a lot out of myself. I expected to be a full-time player every game at the start of this season."
"And, you know, when that didn't go the right way, I probably didn't have the best approach sometimes. So, that's something I have to learn from. I think I've done a good job of that. The second half of the season, staying even keel and just trying to, you know, bring my best game every night. So, that's something...I did a good job of I think in the second half. So, I'll try and build on that."
Gregor on whether this was his first adversity as a professional player
"I think a little bit, you know, my first two years, I was kind of up and down from the minors and I never really, you know, obviously you want to be a full-time guy, but that was never really something that I put too much pressure on myself and this year for sure. I was...even the year before...I was expecting myself to be a really good player for this team. I still think I can do that. So just putting that, maybe, a little extra pressure on myself at the start of the year is a part of the reason for a slow start. It's hard to say exactly."
Gregor on whether continuity of coaching has contributed
"I think that'll help for sure. You know, getting comfortable with the coaching staff is always good. Think of myself and Quinny [Quinn] have a good relationship. I know what he expects of me. So, hopefully, next year, we can start off strong."
Gregor on the support he has received
"I had a lot of good people in my life that have helped me stay positive, my family. The teammates are great for me as well. They all believe in me. I think the coaching staff has shown a lot of good faith in me; they believe in me. So, a lot of trust in the coaching staff as well to, you know, that I can be a good player for us."
Gregor on the young prospects making the leap to the NHL
"We saw a ton of guys score, you know, in their first games which, you know, doesn't happen very often. So it was really cool to see the guys that you mentioned, like Petey [Peterson] came up and I think he was almost a point per game for the amount he was in the lineup. He was really good. Ekey [Eklund] came up, was great. Gusch [Gushchin] came in, scored a goal. Bordeleau came up and played well. So, you know, I think you can't really expect much more from the young guys that come up. They produced, they did well, so, it's exciting to see for next year."
Gregor's advice for the younger players
"I mean, just enjoy it. Just, you know, have fun. Play your game. Don't, you know, don't try and, you know, overthink things. It's still just hockey at the end of the day. These guys are all good players. They know how to play the right way. So just come up and be confident. You know, enjoy it."
Gregor on potential contract extension
"Yeah, I think having a strong finish definitely, you know, eases my mind a little bit. You still never really know. I haven't talked to Mike at all about any contract talks or anything like that. So that's still out of my hands. But you know, I feel good about my finish."
Gregor on whether he can work his way into the top six
"I mean, wherever, you know, I play in the lineup is up to the coaches, but I feel like I can be in the lineup every single night. That's my goal is to play every game, not being an out, find that consistent game and help this team win."
Gregor on what he's learned over the years
"I think it's just kind of trying to round out your game. Obviously, defensively, something that I've been focusing on a little more, just trying to be a good defensive player. That consistency is something that I talk about a lot in my game, just finding that consistent play. Using my speed as consistently as I can, not just, you know, off the rush and, you know, with the puck but, you know, jumping into, you know, puck battles faster, you know, getting into defensive positions faster. Being able to break up plays, stuff like that."
Gregor on the draft lottery and a potential top pick for the Sharks
"A little bit I mean, it's hard not to, especially when we're in the position we are, it's hard not to look and, obviously, there's some good players that are available. And we'll see how things work out here. And whenever that lottery is, I don't know the date, but it's exciting, I guess, to see who we can be getting."
"I mean, wherever we end up picking, I think there's some good players that are available that I think should be able to come in and make an impact pretty quick. You know, you never know. It's still the NHL. These guys are young players and it's hard to come in and be really good, but from everything I've seen and heard, there's some good players available that should be able to make an impact."