2015-16 San Jose Sharks Top 10 Prospects

2015-16 San Jose Sharks Top 10 Prospects

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A look at the San Jose Sharks top 10 prospects heading into the 2015-16 season.

After a disappointing season and failing to make the playoffs for the first time in ten years, the Sharks are a team looking for a new identity. The team replaced Head Coach Todd McLellan with Peter DeBoer and seem unable to move veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau due to no trade clauses in their contracts.

The Sharks appeared to embracing a youth movement with several prospects graduating to the big club in Chris Tierney, Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson. The team moved out Antti Niemi and replaced him with Martin Jones and signed 23 year old Joonas Donskoi. But the team also added more veterans by signing Joel Ward and Paul Martin.

The Sharks also added their top two prospects at this years draft to help bolster a prospect pool that has been somewhat depleted with so many recent roster graduations.

1. Timo Meier: Right Wing – 6’1” / 209 lbs
Drafted: ninth overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by San Jose

Meier had a breakout draft season playing in his sophomore year in Halifax scoring 44 goals and 90 points in 61 games. Meier was also a standout in the CHL top prospects game playing on a line with Connor McDavid and Travis Konecny, scoring a goal and two assists. Meier spent most of the season with  Jets top prospect Nikolai Ehlers in Halifax. At the WJC, Meier scored six points in six games. Meier was projected to be a first round pick between 12-15 range but was taken ninth overall ahead of higher ranked power forwards Mikko Rantanen and Lawson Crouse. Meier had survived two rounds of training camp roster cuts and  before returning to junior. He could make the NHL next season.

Scouting Report:

A winger with a great wrist and slapshot who loves to use it. His quick release makes it hard for goaltenders to track the shot. Uses all of his shot arsenal. Good first steps and speed but could be more agile. Has a good offensive mind and is always looking to put himself in a good shooting spot. Good play away from the puck in the offensive zone, though not in his own zone. Tends to make blind passes and turns the puck over too many times. Improved his physical play and is willing to use his body but still needs to use his size better in corner battles and while protecting the puck. Rather shoots than passes. Shows hockey sense and is making himself always available for a pass. His point production exploded this season and he elevated his game to a new level but this should be enjoyed with caution as he is on the teams most dominant offensive line together with 9th overall pick Nikolaj Ehlers. – Scouting Factory

2. Jeremy Roy: Defence – 6’0” / 188 lbs
Drafted: 31st overall in the second round of the 2015 draft by San Jose

A surprise player to slip out of the first round who was snapped up with the first pick in the second round by the Sharks. Roy was considered the best defenceman available in the draft from the QMJHL despite playing on a poor Sherbrook team. His point totals remained stagnant going to 44 from 43 the year prior, but he played 20 less games. Hailed as a great skater, strong two-way player with a high hockey IQ, Roy projects as a can’t miss top pairing defenceman in a few short years.

Scouting Report:

An offensively gifted defenseman who is solid in the defensive zone…has a real smooth stride and is pretty mobile…very mature game with strong positioning and smart with the puck…tough to separate from it as he has a heavy stick…makes terrific passes and rarely has anything intercepted…has a good point shot as well and he gets it on net…has the vision and creativity to QB a PP…solid defensively, using his smarts and his strong stick to break up plays and take away chances…uses his strength on defense to play physically down low and contain his man…used in all situations…a big presence on the ice and slows down the play when the puck is on his stick. – Future Considerations

3. Nikolay Goldobin: Left Wing – 5’11” / 180 lbs
Drafted:  27th overall in the first round of the 2014 draft by San Jose

After being drafted out of Sarnia in the OHL, Goldobin impressed Sharks management at training camp and was close to making the team. It was decided he needed to develop playing pro and was sent to Europe where he played for HIFK. As a 19 year old playing against men he did just fine scoring 21 points in 38 games. He also played for Team Russia at the WJC winning the Silver Medal scoring five points in seven games there. After his season ended in Finland he made his AHL debut with Worcester, playing six games and scoring four goals. Goldobin will play this season in North America either with the Sharks or the Barracuda, perhaps a little of both.

Scouting Report:

opponents must respect his lateral cutting ability – tough to get a read on – sneaky, doesn’t show his intentions .. assertive and confident puckmover – wants the puck – curls with puck in neutral zone and appears to be cutting right but goes left – and freezes the checker to the spot .. scores many of his goals on the move .. soft hands and shot in close, quick release .. defensive awareness and effort in tight-checking games are concerns .. best suited in a top-six role, but may be a fringe top liner depending on his development. – McKeens Hockey

4. Joonas Donskoi: Right Wing – 6’0” / 180 lbs
Drafted: 99th overall in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by Florida
Acquired: Signed as a free agent by San Jose in 2015

Donskoi has been playing in Finland with Karpat since being drafted by Florida and last season, scoring 49 points in 58 games. Where he really impressed however was at the WC where he had eight points in eight games. Donskoi plays a North American style of game and will compete with players like Tomas Hertl and Melker Karlsson for a top ix role this year in San Jose.

Scouting Report:

Donskoi is an explosive skater. Works hard both ways. Has excellent stickhandling ability and puck control, but could improve his finishing skills. – Elite Prospects

5. Rourke Chartier: Centre – 5’11” / 180 lbs
Drafted: 149th overall in the fifth round of the 2014 draft by San Jose

Chartier had a breakout season in Kelowna scoring 48 goals and 82 points in 58 games during the regular season.  His prolific goal scoring continued into the playoffs with 13 goals and 20 points in 16 games, leading Kelowna to the Memorial Cup finals where they lost in overtime to the Oshawa Generals. Chartier will return to the WHL for another season and will compete for a role on Team Canada at the WJC.

Scouting Report:

Chartier is a very quick skater who never seems to stop moving his feet. He has very good top end speed and excellent acceleration. He is always first in on the forecheck and creating turnovers in the offensive zone. A quick first step helps him to win races to loose pucks all over the ice. Chartier also has good agility and edgework. He might be a little undersized, but he is very strong on his skates and has excellent balance. Chartier is a pure goal scorer. When his teammates get the puck he seems to find the soft spots in the defence and is always open to bury a feed in the back of the net with a strong, hard shot and good release. He has the soft hands to finish in tight and the coordination and quickness to get tip-ins and pounce on rebounds. Through sheer hard work down low he is also able to create chances for teammates and picks up assists that way. Uses that effort level on the backcheck as well. He is willing to do whatever it takes to win, blocking shots, cutting down passing lanes, and taking a hit to make sure the puck gets out at the defensive blue line. – Last Word on Sports

6. Nikita Jevpalovs: Left Wing – 6’1” / 207 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2015

The undrafted Latvian had a breakout year in the QMJHL, scoring 49 goals and 100 points in 64 games. The Sharks are hoping that he is a late bloomer and can translate his overage success in junior to the pro level against men.  Jevpalovs attended the Philadelphia Flyers training camp last summer but was not offered a contract. The Sharks are playing with house money on this gamble

Scouting Report:

Attacking Latvian wing with a relentless motor. Makes good puck decisions and never seems to stop moving and working. Is patient and displays good hands, and passes. Good in traffic and in close. – Draft Site

7. Dylan Sadowy: Left Wing – 6’1” / 180 lbs
Drafted: 81st overall in the third round of the 2014 draft by San Jose

Known for his strong two-way play and hustle away from the puck, Sadowy developed an offensive touch as well last year in Saginaw scoring 42 goals (tied with Michael Dal Colle for 9th in the OHL) and 74 points in 65 games. His development over the past three years in the OHL has continued to improve and he should return for a fourth season where he could dominate.

Scouting Report:

plays a simple yet effective game as he habitually drives and heads to the net .. goals come as a direct result of hard work as he stays with plays, has better than average hand/eye coordination .. competes at both ends of the rink but can be guilty of not moving his feet at times .. an average skater with little explosiveness in his stride – yet can generate surprising top speed .. lacks balance and tends to fall down too much .. while not a physical force he can play a pestering style .. may find top-nine NHL employment if his defence and skating continue to improve – McKeens Hockey

8. Julius Bergman: Defence – 6’1” / 195 lbs
Drafted: 46th overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by San Jose

After being drafted by the Sharks, Bergman decided to make the move to North America and joined the London Knights in the OHL. He had a strong season scoring 42 points in 60 games. He also represented Sweden at the WJC and finally made his AHL debut playing in one game. Bergman has a late birthday and is eligible to start the season in the AHL where he will continue to develop and begin the adjustment to the pro level.

Scouting Report:

Bergman is very active physically, stepping up on players crossing the blue line, and using his size to push forwards to the corners. Overall his size, mobility, and physicality makes him a solid defender off the rush. Coverage is his biggest weakness, but he made strides there. Offensively, he moves the puck well, either by rushing it or by making a solid outlet. His shot from the point is solid too and he could run a power play at the next level. – Brock Otten, OHL Prospects

9. Noah Rod: Right Wing – 6’0” / 188 lbs
Drafted: 53rd overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by San Jose

The Swiss forward plays a physical and aggressive game. As an 18 year old he has been playing in Swiss National Liga A, but only played in 38 games and was limited to just four points.

Scouting Report:

He is a fast skater with good acceleration and mobility. Based on his playing style he would rather fit in a third or fourth line where he could be an effective two-way player with physical upside. Rod is a hard worker on the ice and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. – Dennis Schellenberg, THW

10. Kevin Labanc: Right Wing – 5’10” / 175 lbs
Drafted: 171st overall in the sixth round of the 2014 draft by San Jose

The Sharks took a low risk high reward gamble selecting Labanc in the 2014 draft after he produced just 35 points in 65 games in his first OHL season after coming from the USHL. But the Sharks scouts knew what they had as he had a huge breakout season scoring 31 goals and 107 points for a massive 72 point increase. Labanc will return for a final year in Barrie where he has to develop physically and prove last year’s scoring breakout was no fluke.

Scouting Report:

Two things changed in Labanc’s game this year. First is skating ability. Massive improvements in that area. Allowed him to be more involved offensively in every facet. Also made him a better player without the puck. Second was his skill level with the puck and his strength in maintaining puck possession. Labanc was a HUGE factor creating scoring chances off the rush this year, dotting in and out and proving to be a very slippery player for defences to key in on. – Brock Otten, OHL Prospects

Recent Roster Graduations: Barclay Goodrow, Tomas Hertl, Melker Karlsson, Chris Tierney, Micro Mueller, Martin Jones

Players under 25 years old and with less than 25 career NHL games played qualify as a prospect for purpose of this list.

Written by Peter Harling, who can be found on twitter @pharling

Timo Meier

Jeremy Roy

Nikolay Goldobin

Joonas Donskoi

Rourke Chartier

Nikita Jevpalovs

Dylan Sadowy

Julius Bergman

Noah Rod

Kevin Labanc