Ian Reid’s San Jose Sharks Prospect Guide: Part 1
- Updated: September 8, 2015
Lately I have seen a lot of top 20 lists floating around when it comes to Sharks Prospects and I thought that I would do my own list as well as tell you where I think you can expect to watch these players this upcoming season whether it be in the NHL, AHL, CHL, NCAA or Europe. For the purpose of who is a prospect I’ll be including any player who is waiver exempt, on an Entry Level Contract and has played less than a full NHL season (82 Games). So while Chris Tierney and Barclay Goodrow make the cut, Tomas Hertl, Matt Nieto, Matt Tennyson and Melker Karlsson do not fit all the criteria.
#1) Chris Tierney – C
Draft Year: 1012 (2nd round, 55th. Overall)
While his ceiling may not be as high as the other sharks prospects in the system he is the most NHL ready player in the system. Tierney possesses a very high hockey IQ who I believe could easily become the future second line center for the Sharks who should excel in shutdown roles while being able to provide offence when needed. This year I am hoping to see Tierney get a chance to run with the 3rd line center role on the team and not be weighted down by a weaker 4th line. My only knock against Tierney from last year was he is going to have to improve in the face off circle.
Where to watch him: San Jose Sharks, NHL – 100%
Why: I don’t see anyway that he is anything but a full time roster player on the NHL team this year.
#2) Timo Meier – RW
Draft Year: 2015 (1st round, 9th. Overall)
It’s been a long time since I have been this excited about a Sharks prospect and while I was hoping the Sharks would choose Mathew Barzal in his place, Timo Meier isn’t a bad consolation prize at all. He is a big strong skater who has no problem making space for himself and should make an easy transition to the NHL game provided he is not rushed into it. He is a player who seems to look better the bigger the game is, something that Shark fans will definitely appreciate.
Where to watch him: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) – 100%
Why: As high as I am on this pick I’m not sure if it would be wise for him to rush a jump from Junior Hockey to the NHL. I’m also curious to see how he holds up with out line-mate Nikolaj Ehlers at the junior who will graduate to the Winnipeg Jets AHL system. He is not eligible to play for the Barracuda.
#3) Mirco Mueller – D
Draft Year: 2013, 1st round, 18th. Overall)
While Jérémy Roy may be my favorite defencive of the Shark prospects, its hard to deny that Mirco Mueller is the most well rounded and has the most complete game. Although he struggled in his first season in the NHL he did improve as the year dragged on and was unfairly made the face of the rebuild when he should have played his final season in Everett. The majority of defencemen that come through the league usually take time to develop so I’m not overly concerned about Mueller yet. He plays a smart game and makes a great first pass when he finds his NHL game he will be a significant piece of the Sharks defence.
Where to watch him: San Jose Sharks (NHL) – 50%, San Jose Barracuda (AHL) – 50%
Why: With the addition of Paul Martin the Sharks are not going to be forced to play Mueller in a large role like they did last season where he played on the second pair and had the regrettable task of trying to cover for the wildcard that is Brent Burns. The Sharks have the option of allowing him to play sheltered minutes on the third pair in San Jose or to play major minutes as a cornerstone of the Barracuda defence corps.
#4) Jérémy Roy – D
Draft Year: 2015 (2nd Round, 31st. Overall)
Based on raw potential, Jérémy Roy may be the most exciting Sharks prospect among defencemen. While Mueller has a better overall skill set, Roy game reminds me a lot of former Sharks favorite Dan Boyle because of his ability to skate, move the puck and his shot from the point. Roy has the potential to eventually become the Sharks #1 power play quarterback. His defensive game can use some work but do not be shocked to see him playing top 4 minutes for Canada’s entry to the World Jr. Championships (IIHF U20) after Christmas. Roy is one of those second round picks that could easily end up in the conversation with Shea Weber and Duncan Keith, even if he does not reach that level he is going to be a great addition to the Sharks in the future.
Where to watch him: Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) – 100%
Why: There is no rush or need to bring Roy to the NHL right now and his is ineligible to play for the Barracuda. What Shark fans should hope for is that he is traded to a serious contender who goes all in for a run at the Memorial Cup.
#5) Nikolay Goldobin – RW
Draft Year: 2014 (1st Round, 27th. Overall)
Nikolay Goldobin is an offencively gifted winger who has the potential to put up a lot of points over his career. The question is will he figure out how to play without the puck? The sharks knew the risk when they drafted Goldobin as he is very much a boom or bust prospect with out much room in between. However with other complementary players not only in the system but on the team now he could be a much needed offencive boost to a team that struggled to score goals last year. I’m curious to see how he fares under coach DeBoer.
Where to watch him: San Jose Barracuda (AHL) – 75%, San Jose Sharks (NHL) – 25%
Why: I think that Goldobin could see his nine game audition in the NHL but I think that unless they throw him on the top like with Thornton and Pavelski I’m not sure where he fits on the roster long term this year. He is probably better served playing top minutes for the Barracuda.
#6) Joonas Donskoi – RW
Draft Year: N/A, Signed as a free agent in 2015.
I personally think that Joonas Donskoi is one of the best players who currently isn’t playing in the NHL and could be definitely considered a dark horse for an opening night roster spot. Formerly a prospect of the Florida Panthers, Donskoi has more professional experience than every prospect on this list with over 300 games in the Finnish Elite League (Liiga) and may end up being the best move that Doug Wilson made this summer. Donskoi is a two-way forward gifted with great hands and has a solid work effort which could make him a fixture on a future second or third line on the Sharks going forward.
Where to watch him: San Jose Sharks (NHL) – 50%, San Jose Barracuda – 50%
Why: At one point I felt that a roster spot was Donskoi’s to lose but because of the addition of Joel Ward and the potential return of Raffi Torres there just may be no room for him on the big clubs roster unless it comes at the expense of a guy like Barclay Goodrow who would not have to face waivers. A good training camp will make Peter DeBoer’s job very difficult. Playing for the Barracuda also would not be terrible as they could use his experience and leadership on an AHL team that has seen plenty of turn over.
#7) Rourke Chartier – C
Draft Year: 2014 (5th Round, 149th overall)
When it comes to Shark Prospects this may be the proverbial “diamond in the rough”. Rourke Chartier has had 2 explosive seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) playing for the Kelowna Rockets who lost to the Oshawa Generals in the Memorial Cup last spring. Chartier is a versatile player who can excel at centre or on the wing. It is important to acknowledge that Chartier has had the benefit of playing with some great line mates in Nick Merkely and Leon Draisaitl he has shown that he was drafted on his own merits proven by being the final cut for Team Canada’s gold medal winning entry in last years World Jr. Championships as well as probably a lock to join this years team. The only knock on Chartier is that he has had some concision issues the last year which is always a concern for any player looking to make the jump to play against much larger adults in the AHL/NHL
Where to watch him: Kelowna Rockets (WHL) – 100%
Why: Not eligible to play for the Barracuda and he is not needed by the big club at this time. He also will be able to take another run at the Memorial Cup on a Rockets team that while not the favourite, should still be very good.
#8) Julius Bergman – D
Draft Year: 2014 (2nd round, 46th overall)
Julius Bergman is a Sharks prospect that has dropped down my list a little bit. His transition to the North American game was a pretty mixed bag that saw him make some great plays that allow you too see how he was selected in the second round and others that made you wonder how he was drafted at all. While its far too soon to right off Bergman this next season will probably tell us how far or close to the NHL he really is. There is a lot to like about Bergman, his size his skating and a pretty good hockey IQ, he just needs to focus on simplifying his game and not go for the risky big hit.
Where to watch him: San Jose Barracuda (AHL) – 75%, London Knights (OHL) – 25%
Why: Bergman was loaned to the London Knights so the Sharks have the option of playing him there an additional year or having him play for the Barracuda. This is actually should be a pretty difficult decision as although the AHL may provide better competition, the Knights are in my mind the favourite to represent the OHL in the Memorial Cup where he could play big minutes and gain more confidence in the NHL game.
#9) Nikita Jevpalovs – LW
Draft Year: N/A, Signed as a free agent in 2015
This is a guy I have been really high on since catching a few games featuring his QMJHL team the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada where he showed a great blend of physicality and skill. It is important to note that he had been passed over in 3 consecutive drafts and that should give cause for concern however his 100 point season last year should also give reasons for plenty of optimism.
Where to watch him: San Jose Barracuda (AHL) – 100%
Why: He is finished with junior hockey and building on his game in the AHL is the next logical step in his development where he could play in any of the top three lines.
#10) Dylan DeMelo – D
Draft Year: 2011 (6th round, 179th overall)
Dylan DeMelo is a Sharks prospect that has flown under my radar until last year probably. DeMelo unfortunately is stuck in a log jam trying to make the big club in the 6th and final spot on the blue line as I don’t think the Sharks want to waste him as a 7th defenceman for any significant time. DeMelo is a promising offencive defenceman with a cannon for a shot that he seems to be able to unleash from anywhere and while he may not be the best three zone defenceman, his offencive hockey IQ allows him to really shine in the offencive zone.
Where to watch him: San Jose Barracuda (AHL) – 85%, San Jose Sharks (NHL) – 15%
Why: I think DeMelo will be in for a tough training camp as he will have to try and pass Mirco Mueller and Matt Tennyson in the depth chart meaning he will likely play a large role for the Barracuda this coming year. It would not shock me to see DeMelo called up as an injury replacement though.