Sharks Split Into NHL, AHL Practice Groups

SAN JOSE – The Sharks made a significant change to their practice groups on Wednesday, essentially breaking up into NHL and AHL factions on the sixth day of training camp.

All of the NHL regulars from last season took part in the early session, joined by forwards Nikolay Goldobin, Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Carpenter, Marcus Sorensen, Micheal Haley and Kevin Labanc. On defense, Mirco Mueller, Dylan DeMelo, Patrick McNally and Joakim Ryan remain.

Pete DeBoer naturally ran the more veteran group, while Roy Sommer oversaw the younger one.

"It's nice to get this group together and out there practicing at NHL speed," DeBoer said.

DeBoer granted that it's fair to say all who remain in the first group are still pushing for an NHL roster spot.

"For me, it's kind of an earned right to be in the group, and those guys have done that through one [preseason] game. But, we're just getting started."

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Timo Meier remains out, still suffering from the effects of strep throat. It was his fourth straight day off of the ice, and he won't play on Friday in the Sharks' second preseason game against Arizona, either. Meier was in attendance at the Sharks-Canucks game on Tuesday night, and is hoping to return soon.

While the timing isn't ideal for the Sharks' most highly regarded prospect and ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, DeBoer pointed out it could have been worse, too.

"No one anticipated it would be this long. He's trying to make the team. The good news is we still have time here," DeBoer said. "He's still going to get some games in. He was feeling better today.

"It's not perfect, but if you are going to deal with something like that, it's probably better now than a week or two from now."

Defenseman Jeremy Roy, drafted after Meier with the first pick of the second round in 2015, was returned to his junior club on Wednesday. The official roster now stands at 52 players.

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Joonas Donskoi took part in his first full practice since returning from the World Cup, skating on a line with Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto. He feels like he's ahead of the game in terms of stamina.

"I think it's good to have a tournament like that at the beginning of the season," Donskoi said. "It gets you going early. I think that's good for me."

Although the organization's 2015-16 rookie of the year is surely going to be on the opening night roster, Donskoi said he'll approach the remaining two weeks of camp the same way he did last year when he was trying to make the team.

"It's still only [been] one year [in the NHL]. I have to work hard to keep my spot on the roster."

Joe Pavelski did not skate on Wednesday.

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