2018 Preseason Opens with Rookie Faceoff
The San Jose Sharks open their preseason in Las Vegas this afternoon with their rookie squad facing off against the Arizona Coyotes. A tournament in name only, the Sharks will play games against the Coyotes, Avalanche, and Golden Knights. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks are also in attendance but will not play their Nor-Cal rivals. The Sharks have opted to use the tournament to get a peek at the future. There is no one on their rookie roster that, at least in my opinion, will threaten for an NHL job out of camp. Players like Dylan Gambrell, Rudolfs Balcers and Antti Suomela will sit this one out. That being said there is still some intrigue to be had at this event in regards to the Barracuda. It also allows us to see who has taken the time to improve their game after the July rookie camp.
Here are some of the players that I think are worth watching. That, of course, is if having Hockey back isn’t reason enough to watch.
Easily the most talented player the Sharks are bringing too Las Vegas. All eyes will be on the 2018 first round pick in this tournament not only to see his elite skill on display but also to see his reaction when something does not go his way. Much has been written about off-ice and attitude issues of the young blueliner. His detractors and fans will be watching equally close I imagine. I feel that we will see plenty of Merkley this preseason as the Sharks will want to get him as much experience as possible before sending him back to Guelph to play in the OHL.
With the addition of Ryan Merkley, Roy, in my opinion, became the second-best defensive prospect in the Sharks system, at least on paper. It is difficult to gauge how much ceiling there is for a player that has suffered so many significant injuries so early in a promising career. Before his most recent injury though there was a lot to be excited about. (albeit in a small sample size of games). He was playing easily the best hockey of his career for the Barracuda and gave fans a glimpse of why the Sharks traded up to select him in 2015 Draft. The first and foremost concern with Roy now isn’t so much his development but his health. This weekend I hope we see signs that a promising career wasn’t ended before it even started.