Brodie Reid is looking forward to an injury-free season and earning a one-way ticket back to San Jose.
The 24-year-old former standout with the Greater Vancouver Canadians will begin his third campaign in the American Hockey League on Saturday night with the Worcester Sharks.
Reid was assigned to the San Jose Sharks' number one farm team in the Massachusetts city after a solid enough training camp with the NHL club that included suiting up in his hometown on Sept. 24.
The Sharks skated to a 3-2 win over the Canucks at Rogers Arena and the right winger made the most of the special night by earning an assist.
"It was pretty cool getting an opportunity to play in a rink you grew up in with your family and friends there watching you," recalled Reid.
"I thought I had a pretty decent camp and would have like to have played (in more pre-season) games, but it is what is. Now I just have to work hard to get my opportunity again."
Realistically, the odds were significantly stacked against Reid sticking with San Jose.
Training camp represented the end of a long rehabilitation process following season-ending surgery back in March. He dislocated his shoulder on two occasions before team doctors determined he needed it surgically repaired.
Three trips to the injured list resulted in playing in just 34 games. Still, Reid was effective when he was healthy - matching his goal total of his rookie season with 10 in 32 less games, while adding 11 assists.
It was enough progress for the Sharks to reward him with a new contract in June.
"The first time I dislocated was on a body check where I ended up over the boards," said Reid. "I was back playing again and it felt fine until I got into a fight and it came out again all of a sudden.
"I missed about 10 games the first time and another six weeks when it happened again. It was pretty frustrating way to the end year, but I worked hard throughout the off-season and it feels great now."
Thanks to his hockey career, Massachusetts has become Reid's second home.
After a productive two-year stretch in the B.C. Hockey League, that included a 52 goal season back in 2007-08 with Burnaby, he was offered a full-ride scholarship to Northeastern University. His arrival at the Boston school was put on hold as Reid spent two more years at the junior level, including a season in the U.S. Hockey League with the Lincoln Stars in Nebraska.
With his long-term objective always being to sign with an NHL team, Reid had a solid freshman campaign, finishing fourth in team scoring, then passed on his final three years of eligibility to sign as a free agent with the Sharks.
Always noted for his excellent shot and quick release, Reid has put his sixfoot-one frame to use since turning pro as a solid two-way player who isn't afraid to drop the gloves if need be.
Now, he's hoping to show the Sharks he's healthy and ready to play in the NHL.
"They want me to be an offensive guy here and lead by example," Reid added. "I'm just going to work hard, knowing that my opportunity could come at any time."
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