Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.
Perhaps the Sharks biggest offseason move this summer was the one they didn’t make. San Jose reportedly went all in on landing the big fish, John Tavares. Once you strip away all the excitement and buzz over the big sweepstakes, the Sharks offseason was somewhat unremarkable. Despite all this, GM Doug Wilson made some sensible moves, as he generally does, re-signing key players and bringing in some new players that will help the club remain competitive this season.
It has felt for a while now as though the Sharks are on the verge of suffering a drop off due to an aging core. Despite not generally having the advantage of high picks, good drafting and development has kept the team competitive and gives Sharks fans some hope that a new core is emerging. It’s worth keeping this excellent track record in mind when looking at drafting Sharks prospects for your keeper league. You may just find the next Joe Pavelski lying in wait somewhere in their system.
Joakim Ryan – Not a whole lot needs to be said here. Ryan played in 62 games for the Sharks last season and until sidelined by an injury, played well on the top D pair with Brent Burns. There’s no reason to think he won’t start there again this season.
Marcus Sorensen – The speedy winger made a bit of a name for himself during the 2018 playoffs. He should be considered a virtual lock to make the Sharks out of training camp. However, head coach Pete DeBoer has used him sparingly in the past and at the age of 26, there isn’t much room to grow.
Dylan Gambrell – After three seasons with the University of Denver, this will be Dylan Gambrell’s first full pro season. Whether he plays with the big club or the Barracuda, will be determined in training camp. The Sharks have room for a center, but he’ll have to beat out free agent addition Antti Suomela.
Maxim Letunov – Maxim Letunov is also forgoing his final year of NCAA, choosing to turn pro instead. The lanky center’s game has improved and matured over the past season. Letunov also has a chance at that final center spot but the AHL is a more likely landing spot for him.
Jayden Halbgewachs, Noah Gregor, Joachim Blichfeld – Barring any surprises, this trio of WHLers will make their debuts as AHL regulars this season. The likelihood of any of these players starting on the Sharks this season is relatively low. However, a call up is always possible. Halbgewachs and Gregor both have great offensive upside, Blichfeld will need a year or two in the AHL to continue developing.
Josef Korenar – It looks like Josef Korenar will make the transition to North America from the Czech league this season. Korenar will likely back up Antoine Bibeau with the Barracuda. It will be interesting to watch Korenar play against better competition this season. Although Bibeau has been very good with the Barracuda, Korenar could have the higher ceiling long term.
Rudolfs Balcers – The Latvian winger played a starring role for the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL,