September 28, 2015 By Paul Gackle

As The Races For Roster Spots Heat Up, Goodrow Finds Himself On The Bubble

SAN JOSE — One year ago, Barclay Goodrow was the upstart rookie pushing for a spot on the Sharks opening night roster. Now, in his second training camp in Teal, he’s on the bubble, trying to play his way back onto a team that got much deeper over the summer.

With eight days left in training camp, the Sharks roster has been trimmed down to 26 names, 16 forwards and eight defensemen, which means at least three more players will be cut before opening night in Los Angeles on Oct. 7.

“It’s not hard to look at it and see that there’s too many guys out there,” Goodrow said. “It’s something that’s a good challenge to have. It’s kind of the same spot I was in last year, so hopefully I can use what I learned last year to overcome it.”

The 22-year-old benefitted from the Sharks brief-transition phase last season, earning his way onto the roster after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of the Ontario Hockey League in March 2014.

Goodrow raised eyebrows in training camp last fall, scoring three goals and picking up an assist in five preseason games. But his production fell off in the regular season.

In 60 games, he collected 12 points (4g, 8a) and posted a minus-1, seeing most of his ice time on the fourth line.

While Goodrow’s season was hardly a disappointment for an undrafted rookie, his job security took a hit in the offseason when the Sharks added depth to their forward lineup.

The Sharks put an end to their “transition” period in July, signing a pair of veterans, including forward Joel Ward, who’s skating on a line with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture in training camp. They also brought in 23-year-old Joonas Donskoi, who won the Jari Kurri trophy awarded to the best player in the Finnsh Liiga playoffs last spring, and 2014 first-round pick Nikolay Goldobin is knocking on the door.

In addition, Raffi Torres and Mike Brown are returning from injuries, making the races for the final roster spots at forward even tighter.

“I knew it was going to be competitive this year,” Goodrow said. “There’s always young guys coming along, not to mention some of the older guys coming back. It’s always going to be a challenge.”

At this point, Donskoi appears to have the inner track in the race for the final roster spot at forward. He registered three points in the Sharks Futures game two weeks ago, scored a pair of goals in their intrasquad scrimmage last week, and on Friday, he found the back of the net again in the team’s preseason bout with the Arizona Coyotes.

Head coach Peter DeBoer is currently rewarding Donskoi by playing him alongside Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski on the team’s top line, indicating that he’s in a strong position to make the opening night roster.

If Goodrow doesn’t make the team out of camp, he could benefit from the AHL Barracuda’s arrival in San Jose this year. With their farm team in town, the Sharks will likely move players back and forth depending on their needs on any given night.

“That’s one of the luxuries of having the guys right here in the building,” DeBoer said, adding: “I’m a big believer in having a push from underneath so to speak. That kind of pressure nightly to keep your job, or keep your spot in the lineup, I think, is critical.”

Goodrow’s 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame (as listed), for instance, could be useful when the Sharks want to send out a traditional checking line against tough-meaty teams in the Western Conference. Against leaner squads, they may want to use more speed and skill on the fourth line.

“It gives you flexibility,” DeBoer said, referring to having the Barracuda in San Jose. “You can bring in other types of players, depending on needs, so it’s a nice spot to be in.”

While Goodrow is determined to make the roster, he recognizes that he could be pushed out, which would mean starting the season in the AHL. But as an undrafted player who’s already beat the odds once, Goodrow knows that opportunity is always right around the corner.

“If I do get sent down to the AHL, I’ll have to tweak my game a bit, get better and work my way back up,” Goodrow said.

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