San Jose, CA—The Sharks organization went into training camp this season without the services of a backup goaltender. Last season, San Jose had Thomas Greiss backing up Antti Niemi in net. Greiss had logged a total of 44 games with San Jose, 32 of them as actual starts and had a record a 17 wins, 16 losses in regulation as well as 3 overtime losses to his credit. With the Sharks, Griess had a 2.52 goals allowed average (GAA) and .912 save percentage (SV).
During the offseason, the Sharks had elected not to resign the German born netminder. Griess ended up signing with the Pheonix Coyotes to a one-year deal contract. By doing that, it left a hole in their lineup. Enter in both Alex Stalock and Harri Sateri as likely candidates for the vacant position. Both candidates have spent last season together as Worcester’s goalie tandem.
Stalock who was drafted by San Jose in the fourth round of the 2005 NHL draft at 112th overall, comes from St. Paul Minnesota. The St. Paul native has played 142 games with the Worcester Sharks over the span of four seasons (2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013). While with Worcester, Stalock recorded 76 wins, 53 losses, which includes 8 shootout wins and 10 shootout losses. In addition, he registered a 2.59 GAA and a .909 SV.
Sateri was drafted by the Sharks in 2008 at the NHL draft and was also selected in the fourth round, just like Stalock did three years prior, but was picked six spots earlier at 106th overall. At age 23, Sateri comes Toijala, Finland. The Finland native has spent three seasons with the Worcester Sharks has played in 84 with the AHL club. He recorded 30 wins, 44 losses that included 3 shootout wins and 5 losses. Furthermore, his GAA there was 2.77 and his SV was .910.
Sharks Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas provided his take on the situation between Stalock and Sateri.
“Obviously, both are unproven, but hopefully someone will emerge during camp and grab the job and the opportunity,” Thomas said. “Certainly, whoever isn’t here, it doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunity in the future, but it’s a short window here for the coaching staff and management to make a decision. Every practice, scrimmage and exhibition game is important for them.”
Both Stalock and Sateri are scheduled to travel with the Sharks to Vancouver on Monday, as they take on the Canucks at Rogers Center in their first preseason game of the 2013-2014 NHL campaign. During today’s practice, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan indicated that the auditioning phase of the back up role was described to be what he refers to, as a “dogfight”.
At this point in time, it is hard to say if Alex Stalock has the decisive advantage coming into this years training camp. Regardless of being three years older than Sateri, it’s unfair to make that determination even though Stalock has some NHL experience under his belt. As a precautionary measure, Stalock was brought in on relief services during the 2012-2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This does however; mean that Stalock is higher in the organizations depth chart at the goaltending position.
The St. Paul native made it apparent that he does not think he has the upper hand in audition portion of training camp.
“I don’t know how they look at that up top, but [after] years of being here, I don’t think that matters at all,” Stalock said. “You come in ready to compete, and obviously this organization wants to win every night. That starts with game one, and they need the best chance of winning from game one.”
Sateri and Stalock went into some detail about their good friendship between one another.
“We’re really good friends,” Sateri said. “He’s a good guy, and we hang out together a lot, especially last season in Worcester. Of course it’s a competition on the ice, but we’re really good friends off the ice.”
Stalock said: “He’s a good kid and good young goalie, and he’s got a bright future so it’s fun being with him.”
During the preseason games, both candidates are going be looked at hard by the organization. Sharks Wayne Thomas added about what Stalock and Sateri are going to experience in this year’s preseason action.
“For both of them, they’re both going to see things they haven’t seen before,” Thomas said. “They may have seen them on TV, but they’re going to experience them live at NHL speed. Hopefully they can react property to it, and in a hurry, and if they do make a mistake, recover from it for the next shot or next game.”
It will be interesting to see who comes out on top after the Sharks complete their preseason and training camp. So stay tuned as this story continues to develop.
Ryan Bayer Bay Sport Report Sharks Reporter @81Bayer
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