Coach Steve Hansen admits he is keeping one eye on the future in bringing Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot into the All Blacks wider training group.
The 35-strong squad arrived in Wellington on Sunday for a second training camp ahead of the three-Test series against Ireland beginning in Auckland on June 9.
Elliot and wing Hosea Gear are two new names in the line-up, brought in as cover for the injured Keven Mealamu and Cory Jane.
Hansen says Mealamu's on-going calf problems leave some doubt around whether he'll be fit for the first Test.
"Kevvie's progressing, and we're confident that at some point we'll see him in the Irish series playing a Test match. We're just not that confident it's going to be the first one."
Hansen says the All Blacks are well-served with three very good hookers in Andrew Hore, Mealamu and Corey Flynn.
"But all of them are over 30. Corey's got a history of injuries, Kevvie's having his injuries at the moment and Andrew Hore's fit," he said.
"It's a big risk - if you look to the end of the year, we may not have any one of those hookers available because of injuries. Then we'd be starting off with two brand new ones and we don't want to do that."
There was good news for Hansen with confirmation from in-form No.8 Kieran Read that he will be lining up for the Crusaders in Friday's upcoming Super Rugby match against the Highlanders.
Read injured his pelvis after falling heavily in the Crusaders' shock 28-19 loss to the Melbourne Rebels two weeks ago.
Hansen also said Blues halfback Piri Weepu is making good progress as he looks to meet training targets by Tuesday if he is to be considered for the Irish series.
"At this stage he's on track, and we'll see on Tuesday whether he's made it or not."
The 30-man All Blacks squad for the Irish series will be named on June 3.