San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels has a right to be as frustrated as anyone when it comes the the NHL lockout. The 24 year old has a roster spot waiting for him for the first time in his brief NHL career, but with the NHL preseason on hold, Wingels – like everyone else – is in wait-and-see mode, via CSN Bay Area:
"It's disappointing and frustrating. You work all summer and prepare to start playing here, and you want to play games. We play this game because we love it, because the games are the most fun and best part about it. So, it's disappointing, but there's an onus on you to stay (in) shape and be ready. Things can progress quickly, and I think that's what we're all hoping."
Wingels endeared himself to Sharks fans, teammates and management with his scrappy, physical play that saw him tally 102 hits in just 33 games las season. With the Sharks counting on Wingels and a core of young players to rise to the occasion and contribute for a team that lost in the Western Conference quarterfinals to the St. Louis Blues, the forward says he's ready to accept the challenge:
"My last year was pretty good, but I personally feel like I can build on it. I think there's that expectation from the team for me to do that. That's a challenge I have for myself. I think you're going to see a lot of guys, most of the guys here, build on what they did last year – whether it's guys who didn't do as well as they would have liked, guys who were injured, or guys who are just ready to take that next step."
Wingels unexpectedly made the Sharks roster out of camp in 2011-12, but was sent to Worcester after just five games. He returned to the Sharks in January, and finished the season with three goals and six assists. He's considering heading to Europe to play if the lockout drags on, but his heart is set on getting back in a Sharks uniform sooner than later.