San Jose Sharks – Offseason Prospect System Review

by Chris on August 24, 2018

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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.

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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.

 

Graduating Players

 

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.

 

Risers

 

Rudolfs Balcers – The Latvian winger played a starring role for the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL, leading the team in both goals and points. Balcers is ready for the next step and should make a strong case for a roster spot this fall. Balcers has pushed his way to the top of the depth chart when it comes to Sharks forward prospects. He has the offensive pedigree to slot in as a complementary player in the top six when injuries inevitably arise. Keep a close watch on Balcers, he could be a nice early season waiver wire pick up.

 

Alexander Chmelevski – Chmelevski’s game has been steadily improving since the Sharks drafted him in 2017. The California native’s totals increased significantly to over a point per game in the OHL. He also got into six games with the Barracuda, posting four points. During this summer’s World Junior showcase, Chmelevski’s improved defensive play was on display. He was used in a bottom-six role, killed penalties and played on the PP. This is promising for both his chances of joining the team USA squad in Vancouver and his long-term potential.

 

Jayden Halbgewachs – All Jayden Halbgewachs does is score. He has crazy high end skill and he’s already declared himself too good for the WHL, where he posted nearly two points per game this past season. This of course has to come with the caveat that he is now 21 years old and should be dominating teenagers. Halbgewachs isn’t the fastest skater either which isn’t ideal for a player of his stature. However, with the pure offensive talent and the way the game is moving away from size, Halbgewachs is a prospect to watch. This season in the AHL will tell us pretty quickly if his production will translate.

 

Fallers

 

Mike Robinson – Mike Robinson made it into just six appearances in the NCAA last season. In those six games he posted a .894 sv%. Not exactly a stat that jumps off the page at you, especially for a goalie that didn’t have the best pedigree coming into NCAA hockey. Danny Tirone, the starting goalie for the University of New Hampshire is moving on this year so there is a spot for Robinson to claim. However, it wouldn’t be too surprising if he’s passed over in favor of Lightning prospect Ty Taylor.  

 

Alex Schoenborn – All that needs to be said about Alex Schoenborn is that he turned 22 years old last season and only managed 15 points in 42 ECHL games. The former third round pick has fallen completely off the radar.

 

Kyle Wood – It might seem odd to have a brand new prospect on the list of fallers, but that’s exactly why the Arizona Coyotes chose to move on from Kyle Wood. After a great first pro season, Wood’s production cratered and so did the coaching staff’s confidence in his game. Wood has pretty good offensive pedigree for such a big defender but skating is an issue for him.

 

 

Prospect Depth Chart

 

Left Wing

Rudolfs Balcers, AHL

Marcus Sorensen, NHL

Jayden Halbgewachs, AHL

Ivan Chekhovich, QMJHL

Vincent Praplan, AHL

John Leonard, NCAA

Jacob Jackson, NCAA

 

Center

Antti Suomela, NHL

Josh Norris, NCAA

Dylan Gambrell, AHL

Linus Karlsson, Allsvenskan

Maxim Letunov, AHL

Noah Gregor, AHL

Rourke Chartier, AHL

Jasper Weatherby, NCAA

Scott Reedy, NCAA

Alexander True, AHL

Marcus Vela, NCAA

Tim Clifton, AHL

 

Right Wing

Alexander Chmelevski, AHL

Joachim Blichfeld, AHL

Vladislav Kotkov, QMJHL

Manuel Wiederer, AHL

Jacob McGrew, WHL

Jon Martin, AHL

Filip Sandberg, AHL

Alex Schoenborn, ECHL

 

Defense

Joakim Ryan, NHL

Ryan Merkley, OHL

Mario Ferraro, NCAA

Jeremy Roy, AHL

Jacob Middleton, AHL

Radim Simek, AHL

Nick DeSimone, AHL

Kyle Wood, AHL

Karlis Cukste, NCAA

Cavan Fitzgerald, AHL

Cody Donaghey, ECHL

 

Goalie

Antoine Bibeau, AHL

Josef Korenar, AHL

Jake Kupsky, NCAA

Mike Robinson, NCAA

Zachary Emond, QMJHL

 

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects

 

  1. Joakim Ryan, D
  2. Rudolfs Balcers, LW
  3. Antti Suomela, C
  4. Josh Norris, C
  5. Marcus Sorensen, LW
  6. Ryan Merkley, D
  7. Dylan Gambrell, C
  8. Jayden Halbgewachs, LW
  9. Mario Ferraro, D
  10. Alexander Chmelevski, RW

 

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Chris Legg
@Legg06