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Once the 2016-17 season concluded, each Barracuda player returned to his hometown or offseason hangout. Moving forward, each week sjbarracuda.com will check in with a different Barracuda player and see what he is up to this summer. This week we catch up with forward Ryan Carpenter, who added fatherhood to his day-to-day duties this offseason.
What are your plans for the summer? Just being around the family and enjoying baby Beau, and training. I’ll start skating in a month or so and kind of get used to being back on the ice for a few weeks before we come back to San Jose in mid-August.
Where do you stay in the summer? We’re in South Daytona Beach. We rent a condo for the summer, so we’re about an hour away from my hometown where my parents live. It’s funny, right now I’m actually looking at the beach.
Would you say Daytona Beach is your favorite summer destination? Oh yeah, Daytona is our favorite spot to be. You can’t beat it, with the beach and they even allow cars to drive on the sand so my parents, family and friends will drive come on down, and we’ll get the tents hooked up and have the whole day there, playing spike ball and hanging out.
If you could choose, are you a beach, lake or river type of person? Definitely the beach, that’s an easy one. I never really grew up on a lake, and lakes in Florida always have gators, so you’re always kind of leery about being in the lake with the snakes and gators.
What’s your favorite summer activity? I like golfing a lot but with a newborn there’s not a lot of time for that, but I like playing spike on the beach.
Any pro hockey players in the area that you work out with during the offseason? No not really, I kind of lift on my own and do what (Mike) Potenza sends me. I won’t start skating for a couple more weeks, and there are a couple of college guys and a couple of junior guys that I’ll skate with, but it’s really not a big group, and that’s kind of why I come out to San Jose before training camp to get some better skate time.
Now that you’ve signed a new contract and have some security for the next couple of years, how much of a relief is that, and what is it like knowing you’re back with the Sharks, the organization that gave you your first chance? It feels really good, coming out of college this is the team I wanted to play for, a team that can win and is competitive every year. Now that I have a family, to get a two-year deal is what we were looking for, and so, I’m just excited to be back, and I’m glad it worked out. And now I’m looking forward to getting back and getting the season rolling.
You got your first real taste of the NHL last year, being up with the Sharks for a month. Are you going into this training camp with a different mentality, wanting to become a full-time NHLer? There’s a ton of really good players on both the Sharks and Barracuda, so it will be competitive, but that’s definitely my goal. When you get that taste of the NHL, it makes you even hungrier to find a way to stick. I’m confident the way I played last year, but I’ve got to stay hungry and humble and keep working hard and come into camp as confident as can be.
As you look back on last season, what was your favorite memory? Probably the playoff run we had with the ‘Cuda, it was special. To win that game in overtime at home against Stockton, and the getting to the Conference Finals was so fun. It ended quick, but it was a cool team to be a part of. We won a lot of games, so it was fun to be a part of that team, and scoring my first NHL goal was pretty special, too.
For you to have the type of success you had during the playoffs, does that boost your confidence, even more, going into training camp? I think it does, but when you’re off for a while in the summer, it’s a brand new season when you return, so I want to build on that confidence and bring that into training camp.
The last question, what did the coaches tell you during exit meetings that they want you to improve on this offseason to make that next step? I’ve just got to stand out and do whatever it takes to stick out and breakthrough, if I want to be a Shark. It’s doing more than just being consistent and being a reliable player, but going above and beyond on that and being grittier and harder to play against consistently. Just do whatever it takes to stand out and be noticed.