San Jose Sharks
Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl are healthy and will be on the ice when the Sharks skate for the first time Friday.
Karlsson missed San Jose’s final 13 games last season because of a broken thumb, and Hertl missed the final 18 games after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee.
The Sharks, who opened training camp with testing and other administrative protocols Thursday, were one of seven teams that did not make the Stanley Cup Qualifiers last season. They last played a game on March 11.
“I feel good now,” Karlsson said. “I don’t think it should be anything that’s going to be lingering.”
Karlsson, who scored 40 points (six goals, 34 assists) in 56 games last season, said he has been training and skating at his offseason home in Ottawa since June.
“I’m not going to say I’ve gone full speed at all times, but the set up I have had access to up in Ottawa has been really safe and remarkable,” Karlsson said. “I’ve got no complaints.”
Hertl, who scored 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 48 games last season, said his leg muscles have gotten big enough through his rehabilitation that he can’t fit into his suit pants anymore.
“I’m ready to play,” he said. — Dan Rosen
The Bruins are expected to name a captain prior to the season, general manager Don Sweeney said.
Defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was captain for the past 14 seasons from 2006-20, agreed to a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
“I think it’s an obvious decision and one that we’ll make in a respectful manner at an appropriate time,” Sweeney said. “We will allow this some time to breathe for Zdeno and his decision. We’ll make a decision moving forward.”
Center Patrice Bergeron has been an alternate captain since the 2006-07 season, and center David Krejci since the 2013-14 season.
“There’s no question Patrice is going to be the next captain of the Boston Bruins,” Chara said Thursday. “I think everybody knows that. I think he’s absolutely the right person to have as the captain. … So I can’t imagine anybody else to be the captain and I’m truly very, very happy that he’s going to be the next captain because he really deserves it and I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for the Bruins, for me personally, supporting our kind of vision and leading together in Boston. I’m very happy for him.”
There are six other NHL teams that do not have a captain: the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Vegas Golden Knights. — Amalie Benjamin
Samuel Morin will be used at left wing rather than defenseman during training camp.
Morin said Flyers coach Alain Vigneault discussed the possibility with him in October.
“[Vigneault] told me about in the playoffs, especially against the Islanders, the lack of physicality,” he said. “The boys were getting pushed around even against Montreal, so he kind of needs a guy to answer that.”
Morin has been limited to 28 professional hockey games, including eight with the Flyers, since 2017-18, because of injuries.
General manager Chuck Fletcher said Morin could play forward because the Flyers have depth on defense.
“His size (6-foot-6, 202 pounds), his skating and his physicality are elements that we feel our team could use,” Fletcher said. “In an ideal world, the American (Hockey) League’s going, maybe you could have him getting some reps on defense and growing his game, and at some point that could still become a reality again.
“But for right now, to have Sam part of our group, and that size and that physicality … he’s been working hard for a couple months now on this transition and we think there’s a realistic chance that he can positively impact our team in that role.” — Adam Kimelman
New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes said he feels he is in the best shape he’s ever been in entering a hockey season.
“I’m a lot bigger, probably put on 14 pounds of pure muscle since March,” the 19-year-old said. “I ended last season at 164 pounds and am now around 180-ish so that’s big for me.”
Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, scored 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 61 games as a rookie last season, and adhered to a strict diet during the long layoff. The Devils last played March 10.
“I treated eating like a job,” Hughes said. “I had 5-6 meals a day; like five eggs, protein shakes, steak, chicken and rice … normal stuff but I was just trying to eat a lot so I can put on that weight when you’re training hard. Obviously, me and (performance coaches) Brian Galivan and Will Morlock put in the work at USA Hockey Arena (in Plymouth, Michigan), so I’m ready for it to pay off this year.
“I mean, this year was important for me mentally and physically to get ready for a big year. I’m excited and confident and ready to have a breakout year.” — Mike G. Morreale
Centers Derek Stepan and Cedric Paquette, and defenseman Braydon Coburn were not at camp.
Stepan, who was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, is in Arizona with his wife, who is expected to give birth in early January. Paquette and Coburn, who were each acquired in a trade with the Tampa bay Lightning on Sunday, are in quarantine after arriving from the United States.
Stepan and Paquette will provide the Senators with veteran depth at center.
“Whether it’s Colin White, Logan Brown, Josh Norris… We want to make sure they grow because they’re going to be facing some very good centers in the Canadian Division,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said. “Any night they could be facing either [Auston] Matthews or [John] Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs), [Elias] Pettersson or[Bo] Horvat (Vancouver Canucks), [Mark] Scheifele or [Paul] Stastny (Winnipeg Jets), [Connor] McDavid or [Leon] Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers), so we wanted to make sure that we had someone who could play the tough hard minutes.”
Dorion also said that Tim Stuetzle, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, likely will be used at forward instead of center. Stuetzle, who is playing for Germany at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, was tied for the scoring lead with 10 points entering play Thursday.
“He’s got a lot of the great qualities as a center but what comes with that is the play away from the puck and defensive responsibilities,” Dorion said. “As much as he’s got high NHL talent, away from the puck he still has a lot of work.” — Mike Zeisberger