SAN JOSE -- Sharks coach Todd McLellan has been mostly happy with the performance of his veterans through the first 10 days of training camp, but he emphasized again Saturday night after San Jose's 3-2 overtime win over Phoenix that he also has liked the way several other players have challenged for roster spots.

Center Freddie Hamilton is one of those players. He scored the first of three power-play goals by the Sharks, who improved to 2-1 in the exhibition season after Logan Couture's overtime goal with 1:32 left in the extra session.

Defenseman Jason Demers also scored with the man advantage for the Sharks, who are expected to make more roster cuts before their next exhibition game at home against Vancouver on Tuesday.

Playing on a line with Couture and Patrick Marleau, Hamilton, 21, finished with two shots, three hits and two takeaways as he made his presence felt at both ends.

Plainly asked if he feels he's ready for the NHL, Hamilton said: "I think so. After these two exhibition games and the scrimmages, I think I've proven to myself that I belong. Now I just have to keep on working hard."

Hamilton, selected in the fifth round by the Sharks in 2010, has played just one year of professional hockey -- 26 points in 76 games for Worcester in the AHL last season. Although he is hardly a lock to make the Sharks out of training camp, he does have the attention of McLellan.


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"He's pushing some others, and he's playing like he wants to make the team," McLellan said. "The coaching staff feels comfortable with him, so things are going the right way."

McLellan said the next step for Hamilton is to make sure he can play against full rosters but also added that Hamilton's future will be best served if he continues to play in games. If the Sharks are healthy going into their regular-season opener, ice time for an inexperienced player like Hamilton might be scarce.

"If he's just around as an extra player, that's not going to work real well," McLellan said. "We'll see where it goes."

Hamilton wasn't the only young player to be on a line with two Sharks regulars, as Matt Nieto played on a line with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels.

Nieto, 20, and Hamilton skated in San Jose's exhibition opener against Vancouver on Sept. 16, with Nieto playing on a line with Rylan Schwartz and Matt Pelech. Playing with Pavelski and Wingels, though, gave Nieto a chance to skate with two players who are expected to have significant roles with the Sharks this season. Nieto finished with one shot and one hit in 15 minutes and 34 seconds of ice time.

Saturday night, McLellan did not yet have a health update on Raffi Torres, who appeared to injure his right knee in the second period of Friday's game against Anaheim when he collided with the Ducks' Emerson Etem.

Both players were on the ice for an extended period. Etem came back for two shifts later in the second period, but Torres did not return.

If Torres has to miss regular-season time, that may open the door for a young player like Hamilton or Nieto to crack the roster.

McLellan also said he needed to see Harri Sateri in goal in a game to get a feel for how comfortable he is playing at the NHL level. Sateri, who made 24 saves Saturday, is in competition with Alex Stalock to be the Sharks' backup goalie to No. 1 Antti Niemi.

Stalock started against Vancouver on Sept. 16 and made 14 saves on 16 shots in a 3-2 San Jose win.

McLellan is not in a hurry to make a decision on who will be the backup, saying Stalock and Sateri will each play again as they prepare Niemi for the regular season opener.

  • Injured defenseman Brad Stuart skated in Saturday morning second practice, but McLellan said Stuart is not quite ready for game action.

    TUESDAY'S EXHIBITION
    Vancouver at Sharks, 7:30 p.m.