With the second day of development camp for the San Jose Sharks taking place on the same day that free agency opened, the Sharks had a busy Wednesday.
Steven Lorentz joins the Sharks in a trade that saw Brent Burns head to the Carolina Hurricanes. Without even talking to GM Mike Grier, he’s already sounding like he plays the game Grier wants on the San Jose roster. The 26-year-old spoke to local media over Zoom.
Ryan Merkley has a big opportunity presented to him with a major part of the Sharks’ defense moved, but it’s more than just what will be missing on the ice. Merkley, participating in his fourth dev camp, spoke with us in person.
Lorentz, on the trade to the San Jose Sharks:
I’m super excited. Obviously the trade happening today was a little bit out of the blue for me. I wasn’t really expecting something like that to go down. But same time, it’s a new opportunity for me. I’ve only been a part of Carolina’s organization. So I’m excited for a fresh start, and I can’t wait to get down there. I know there’s a good core group of guys there right now, but I know there’s been some fresh faces coming into the organization obviously with the new GM and it seems to be that they’re going in a direction that I’m excited to be part of. I’m obviously excited to get things going and I can’t wait to get down there for the first time.
Lorentz, on being traded for Brent Burns
I just want to warn you guys right now, I can’t grow as good of a beard as Brent Burns. (laughs)
It hasn’t even really sunk in yet, being part of a deal like that. I would have loved to have been a teammate of his, but at the same time, I hope Burnzie does well in Raleigh. I think he’s going to like it a lot. Great culture. Great group of guys there, but yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Lorentz, on if he’s spoken to GM Mike Grier yet:
No, I haven’t really spoken to him today. He’s a busy guy today, obviously, with the free agency opening up. I understand that there’s a lot of things going on around the league today, a lot of moving parts. I expect something in the near future, but I’m not waiting on standby here every second of the day for my phone to go off. But like I said, when that time comes, he’ll reach out and we’ll have a good chat, and I’m obviously looking forward to that.
Lorentz, on what he brings to the game and what he’d like to improve:
I bring a lot of energy and a lot of tenacity. Playing in Carolina’s system where I really learned to be an NHL player under Rod Brind’Amour, where it was just battle level, intensity, and compete, as long as you were doing those three things, it didn’t matter if you were making mistakes, this or that. Mistakes happen in the game of hockey and that’s part of it, but as long as you were working your butt off and you’re going as hard as you could, things would fall into place. I think I do a good job of doing that night in and night out, consistently. I think I have a high battle level.
One thing I’d like to do is maybe see my offensive side start to blossom a little bit more. In Carolina, I didn’t really produce as much as I’d like to on the scoresheet, but at the same time, I’m just going to go out and play my game. I’m so excited to put on those colors for the first time.
Merkley, on the San Jose Sharks trading Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes:
It’s crazy. Certainly wasn’t expecting it. He’s always been the face of this franchise for like a decade now. He’s played forever. He’s an awesome guy in the locker room for sure. I mean, this guy is 37 years old and a guy I look up to because he’s still having fun. He’s still coming to the rink laughing and joking around. I wish I could do that 15 years from now, it would be incredible. Just in that aspect, he made me really love the game and showed that you can still have fun at that age. It’s incredible.
Merkley, on learning to both have fun but work harder than everybody else from Burns:
I just think coming to the rink and how happy he was. Honestly, he put in the work. A lot of work. He was always on the bike, riding. Always taking care of his body and he just liked to have fun, have a smile on his face, cracking jokes, it keeps the room light. I think it was awesome to see firsthand.
Merkley, on what opportunity there is for the defensemen with Burns gone:
He led the league in ice time last year. [It’s] 27 minutes up for grabs now. It’s going to be given out at training camp, so we’ve got to come ready to work.
Merkley, on how the last several days have been and what the changes mean for him:
They’ve been crazy. A lot of change around the office and staff and the players. It’s going to be a lot different this year. A lot of new eyes on the GM. Doug Weight’s in there now. It’s not Doug and Doug Jr. and the normal guys that I’ve been drafted by since 2018, four years ago now. It’s certainly different now. They weren’t the ones who drafted me first round now, so I have to go in there and prove and show what I’m capable of.
Merkley, on what he’s hoping to show off a little bit throughout development camp:
Hopefully, my shot surprises a few people. I know we’re working on our shooting our first two days here, so I think they’re a little surprised in the way that I already knew how to do the push/pull shot that we’re learning right here.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.