Ryan Carpenter is taking his season one day at a time.
The former Falcon standout is hoping the approach eventually will land him in the National Hockey League.
Carpenter starts training camp Friday with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. He attended the Sharks’ rookie camp earlier this week.
“I just want to have a good showing in training camp and do the best I can all year,” said Carpenter, who signed with the Sharks last spring after completing his junior season at BG.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound center was one of college hockey’s most sought after free agents at the start of last season. But he missed BG’s first 24 games because of a broken foot and then a broken hand.
“My goal is to make the NHL, but I don’t have a timetable or anything like that,” said Carpenter, who was a captain at BG during his sophomore and junior seasons. “I’m taking the small, simple approach of trying to get better one day at a time and focus on the task at hand.”
Carpenter’s solid offense and defense first drew the eye of pro scouts during his first two seasons at BG. He had 29 goals and 34 assists and an on-ice rating of plus-3 during those two seasons.
The injuries last season limited Carpenter to eight goals and eight assists in 15 games.
After signing with the Sharks, he had two assists in 12 games with San Jose’s American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester, Mass.
Carpenter’s goal at the start of this season is to make the Sharks’ roster, but a more likely beginning is a return to Worcester.
If he doesn’t make the Sharks or Worcester, he’d most likely be assigned to an East Coast Hockey League team.
“You’re trying to develop your game and, hopefully, if you don’t make the NHL, you stay in the AHL,” Carpenter said. “Wherever you’re at, your goal is to develop your game and be the best player you can be every day and improve as a player.
“I’d love to be there (the NHL) as quick as I can, but it’s such a hard league to be in, and my game needs so much work and I have so much to prove. It all takes time.”
Even though he played in only 12 games at Worcester last season, he was helped by his time there.
“The biggest thing is taking care of your body … every little thing counts — rest, nutrition, being able to handle the grind,” Carpenter said. “I’m in better shape overall and that will help because of the number of games we play and having to play three games in three nights.”
The AHL has a 76-game regular-season schedule, compared to college hockey’s 34-game slate.
“The size of the guys was different — they’re bigger and more like men than the younger players in college hockey,” Carpenter said. “Playing the games, riding the bus, the routine, how we practice — it was just good to see all of that and how our systems work. It was nice to get a taste of all of it.
“You also have to make better decisions during the game. You see the pace and the style of the game — I have so much to learn.”
Carpenter is hoping his summer workouts will help him get off to a good start.
“I feel I’m in good shape, but it’s hard to really know until you start playing games,” Carpenter said. “But I’m as confident as I can be right now. I’ve been taking it one day at a time and I feel like I’ve been improving this summer, which is good. Hopefully, that leads to the results I want.”
Carpenter is focusing on each day, instead of the big picture or where he stands in the Sharks’ organizational depth chart.
“You can overanalyze everything about your situation,” Carpenter said. “Some of the best advice I’ve gotten is not to overanalyze who is up, who is down, guys getting called up, guys getting sent down.
“There are only a few things I can control and that’s my approach. That’s something Coach Bergeron (BG head coach Chris) has always stressed and I try to apply it every day in my life. I try to control what I can control to the best of my ability.”
Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from BGSU in May. He finished with a 3.9 grade-point average.
Carpenter, who is from Oviedo, Fla., graduated in just three years because he received college credit for classes he took in high school.