Winchester wants to remain a Shark

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Winchester wants to remain a Shark

TORONTO After a summer of turnover in which the Sharks found themselves in need of depth forwards, they turned to a number of players to compete for open positions on their bottom two lines.

One of those guys was Brad Winchester. The 30-year-old journeyman forward was signed to a professional tryout in early September, made a good impression in training camp, and signed a one-year, 725,000 contract just before the start of the regular season.

Its an experiment thats worked out. Winchester has played in all but one game for the Sharks, contributed six goals and four assists, and is second on the team in penalty minutes with 77. Hes shown a willingness to stand up for his teammates, too, which never goes unnoticed in an NHL locker room.

Winchester has played primarily on the fourth line, but has also taken some top line shifts when coach Todd McLellan either likes the way Winchester is skating or wants to send a message to others. That includes Tuesday in Columbus, when Winchester skated for more than 13 minutes for just the third time in a 6-3 Sharks loss.

My goal was to come in and contribute to this team. Play my style of game, and be a great teammate and be a part of something thats special, Winchester said on Wednesday in Toronto.

Set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Winchester was asked if he thinks he's earned a chance to stay in San Jose past this season. I hope so. I love San Jose. Its a fantastic organization, he said.

Doug Wilson, however, prefers to wait until the year ends before discussing such matters.

What we try and do is get away from any distractions from this team. This is all about trying to win, being ready for tomorrow, and those things. Players know how we try and do business. Theres lots of time at the end of the year, Wilson said.

That doesnt mean Wilson isnt pleased with how Winchester has accounted for himself, though.

Hes played very well. He came in with no guarantees, earned his spot on the team, and has played well every night, the general manager said. Now, the most important time of the year is this point going forward.

Regardless of the way the season ends, Winchester is open to wearing a Sharks uniform for more than just one season.

If that opportunity arose I would definitely be interested in that, for sure," he said.

Practice canceled: The Sharks canceled Fridays practice in Toronto, opting for a workout at the team hotel and an earlier flight to Nashville.

The Sharks visit the Predators on Saturday and Wild on Sunday before hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman

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Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman

CHICAGO – The Sharks used their first pick on the second day of the draft to select defenseman Mario Ferraro at 49th overall.

The Sharks acquired the second round pick from New Jersey earlier in the week as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

Ferraro, a five-foot-11, 185-pound Toronto native, will attend the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in the fall. The 18-year-old posted 41 points (8g, 33a) in 60 games for Des Moines of the USHL last season.

“I describe myself as an offensive defenseman that takes pride in the d-zone,” Ferraro said. “Obviously, I like to get involved offensively. I think I’m a good skater, and I transition the puck up the ice quick. I also like to be physical in the d-zone and use my body.”

Ferraro said he needs to work on "my shot, especially. Getting pucks through to the net to create scoring chances, and I also want to work on when and when not to get up in the play, and reading the play better.”

Ferraro, the 78th-ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting and a left-handed shot, had about 20 friends and family in attendance at the draft.

“I’m very honored to be wearing this jersey right now. It was amazing. It’s been an amazing day so far.”

The Sharks chose center Josh Norris with their first round pick (19th overall) on Friday.

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

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USATSI

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

CHICAGO – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is typically restrained in his public praise for players in the system. “We don’t like to over promote our prospects” is a phrase he’s used countless times.

That’s what made his instant comparison of Sharks first round pick center Josh Norris to a current core player so unexpected.

“We think – I hate doing this, but I’m going to – [Norris has] a lot of the Logan Couture attributes to him,” Wilson said on Friday at United Center, shortly after presenting Norris with a teal sweater.

Wilson also made note of Norris’ confidence, which was evident in the 18-year-old’s media availability. Norris described himself as “a 200-foot player. I think I can give you a little bit of everything: power play, penalty kill, faceoffs, can chip in offensively. I think I kind of do a little bit of everything.” He added that he attempts to pattern his game to Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.

Like most players that aren’t top five selections, Norris isn’t likely to make the NHL roster in the fall. He’s set to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

Still, Wilson suggested that it might not take long for the six-foot, 189-pound Oxford, Michigan native to make the leap.

“He’s a kid, the way he plays and the way he thinks, he potentially could fast track. So, we’ll see,” Wilson said.

Norris had some familial help on his journey to draft day. His father Dwayne had a few cups of coffee in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques more than two decades ago, playing 20 career games from 1993-96.

Dwayne Norris was right there to congratulate his son, who was no sure thing to go in the first round as the 34th ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting.

“He just said how proud of me he was, and it was kind of a big moment we had that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Norris said about his conversation with his father.

Norris’ stats suggest he has an ability to create offense, as he posted 27 goals and 61 points in 61 games for the U.S. National Under-18 team last season, and added 12 goals and 26 points in 25 games in the USHL.

“I think I’m a little bit of a goal scorer and a playmaker,” Norris said. “I think I’m really good in my defensive zone. I think I have a lot of upside on the offensive side of my game that I’m going to continue to work on.”

Wilson said: “We think he’s a mature player.”

Norris had a strong showing at the NHL combine, leading all 104 draft-eligible players in attendance in five of the 14 fitness tests. Those results, along with a strong interview, made Norris an appealing target for San Jose.

“He’s arguably one of the most athletic guys in the combine,” Wilson said. “His interview was phenomenal. If you go back in his history in big games he’s stepped up in a big way, and that’s the type of guy we’re looking for.”

Norris, who played baseball as a shortstop until age 13, said: “I wasn’t too nervous going to the combine. … I just tried to make good impressions on teams. The physical testing aspect of it, I’ve always been a pretty good athlete.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Norris will make his first-ever trip to California in early July to take part in the Sharks’ development camp.

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Just before the Sharks’ contingent made its way to the stage to select Norris, Wilson was spotted talking with Washington general manager Brian MacLellan. After a brief exchange, MacLellan shook his head, and Wilson went back to the San Jose table and gathered his group to head to the podium.

Asked about the chat, Wilson said it was not about the 19th overall pick.

“We were actually looking at some other things, some other picks that we had,” Wilson said. “Some teams had reached out to us, and we’re planting our seeds a little bit for tomorrow already.”

The draft concludes on Saturday, with the second round beginning at 7 a.m. PT.