Having skated alongside Dwight King and Jeff Carter at today’s practice, it appears that 22-year-old center Nick Shore is on the verge of making his NHL debut. An intelligent, two-way forward who was used in all situations at AHL-Manchester – and ranked second in the league with 41 points at the time of his recall – Shore has utilized the instruction he received at development camp, training camp and in the American Hockey League and has earned a promotion based both on the team’s need with two key forwards out but also through his own merit and progression.
“I think we were all expecting me to obviously build on my first year, my rookie year down there in Manchester,” Shore said. “It didn’t even start that well down there. I think it took a couple games to get into it and once we got going, [we] really got on a roll there.”
After tallying five points in his first nine games, the center took off. Showing an attention to detail that was respected throughout the organization, Shore totaled 36 points over his next 28 games, a stretch that included 12 multi-point efforts.
“I think as a whole, we’ve gotten off to a great start there in Manchester,” Shore said. “This year, I think I’ve taken a little more responsibility on both ends of the ice. I’m kind of known more offensively to score goals and things like that. But I think as a whole down there, we’ve done a great job so far. We got off to a good start and sort of carried that through until now.”
It does, of course, raise the potential that Shore will face his older brother, Drew, a fellow Denver University product who was traded last week from Florida to Calgary, next week. With Shores on opposing sides, Monday’s Kings-Flames game could turn into a bi-coastal affair.
Though the two played together in college, Shore didn’t believe that the two have ever faced each other in an organized game.
“It’d be strange. It would be a first,” he said. “I don’t think either one of us was really expecting it this year or anything like that. I mean if it happens, it happens, it’ll be a cool experience.”
There are four boys in the family, with younger brothers Quentin (an Ottawa draft pick) and Baker rounding out the Shore boys. Their parents are practicing lawyers in the Denver area.
“[Baker] is a little bit younger than all of us. He’s 15 right now,” Shore said. “We’re hoping he’s going to be the best.”
Darryl Sutter, who knows a thing or two about growing up alongside brothers, started becoming more familiar with Shore when he signed with the club late in the 2012-13 season. The following training camp, Shore was one of the brightest spots.
“That’s when everybody was talking about Linden and Tanner and Tyler, and actually we, as coaches, thought that he had a better camp than those guys,” Sutter said. “Just the organization, what Dean does, and it’s the right way to do it, is to keep those kids a little longer and send him down, and that’s what we did.”
Though the stage may be brighter and broader, the approach doesn’t change.
“I think most of the guys have been saying that the best thing you can do when you’re up here is play your same game,” Shore said. “Try to simplify things and just kind of carry through what you’ve been doing all year.”
Nick Shore, on whether his parents will attend Monday’s game against Calgary:
Yeah, I think so. They were actually down watching him last night. So I’m sure if we both ended up playing, they would make it out.
Shore, on whether one of his parents’ first dates was at a hockey game:
They met at law school at the University of Denver. Obviously that’s where three of us have gone to school so far and their first date was a DU hockey game.
Shore, on whether Darryl Sutter spoke to him about growing up with a lot of brothers:
No, we really haven’t had a chance to talk about it. Obviously there are good blood lines where he’s from. But no, we haven’t had a chance to talk about it.
Shore, on whether having a few days in Los Angeles before drawing into the lineup has been beneficial:
Yeah, I just came in and didn’t really know what to expect. Just come out here working to get better every day, and if you get into a lineup in a game it’s going to be really exciting.
Shore, on whether nerves might be a factor before his first NHL game:
I really haven’t thought about it too much. I guess we’ll approach that when it comes. But if I happen to be in the lineup, it’s going to be my first and it’s going to be a really cool experience. Obviously I have a little nerves going for that, but let’s see how it goes.
Shore, on whether his confidence is improving:
Yeah, I think that goes with anyone. If you continue to play well, your confidence is going to rise. It’s always good to be playing confident.