The San Jose Sharks have done a great job over the years of drafting and signing young talent. They’ve brought players such as Patrick Marleau, Scott Hannan, Brad Stuart, Douglas Murray, Joe Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Logan Couture and Justin Braun up through their farm system and they’ve turned into talented hockey players.
Let’s see who the Sharks currently have in the system and who might be in the NHL soon enough.
2018-19 Top 10 San Jose Sharks Prospects
1. Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph Storm (OHL), Peterborough Petes (OHL) and San Jose Barracuda (AHL)
HT/WT: 5-11/170 lbs
Drafted: 21st overall in the 2018 draft by the San Jose Sharks
Ryan Merkley is easily the top prospect in the San Jose Sharks farm system. The Sharks have consistently had great defensive units over the course of their history and they have another outstanding defenseman in the making. The only issue is that Merkley has shown immaturity in his game. He’s got a ton of risk, but it’s worth holding on to Merkley to see if his character will change in the NHL.
In addition, he’s a power-play specimen. He’s a great power-play quarterback and he could take the pressure off of Brent Burns down the road. But, he’s not a puck carrier. He prefers to pass the puck out to someone else rather than skate from zone to zone. Merkley does have great positioning though and is defensively responsible. The only flaw with Merkley is that he’s a tad undersized and needs to bulk up.
Last season, he split his time between the Storm and the Petes and was outstanding. In a combined 63 games played, he recorded 14 goals and 57 assists.
2. Joachim Blichfeld, RW/LW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
HT/WT: 6-2/187 lbs
Drafted: 210th overall in the 2016 draft by the San Jose Sharks
The 20-year-old Danish national is having a blast with the Portland Winterhawks. He might be an over-ager, but he’s becoming quite the goal scorer. Last season, he led the WHL in points with 114. He beat out Tristan Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Brendan Hagel of the Red Deer Rebels.
While he’s coming off of an outstanding season, these numbers won’t translate at the NHL level. He’s a solid goal scorer, but you need to keep in mind that the competition that he’s seeing in the WHL isn’t the same. He’s having a lot more luck in his over-ager seasons and likely will see a huge drop in the AHL and/or the NHL. But, his success is absolutely worth noting and fun for Sharks fan to keep track of.
3. Ivan Chekhovich, LW, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL) and San Jose Barracuda (AHL)
HT/WT: 5-10/185 lbs
Drafted: 212th overall in the 2017 draft by the San Jose Sharks
When you look at the San Jose Sharks organization, you’ll notice that they love to bring in forwards that are a tad undersized, have good hands and great speed. Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, Melker Karlsson all have similar body types and play the same kind of game as Chekhovich.
Chekhovich has looked like a steal so far. He’s played the bulk of his time over the past couple of seasons with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, but when he’s played for the San Jose Barracuda, he’s been outstanding as well. He doesn’t skip a beat. This past season, he played in 66 games for the Drakkar. He managed to record 43 goals and 62 assists with Baie-Comeau. He also tallied four points with the Barracuda.
4. Noah Gregor, C, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
HT/WT: 6-0/185 lbs
Drafted: 111th overall in the 2016 draft by the San Jose Sharks
Noah Gregor is coming off of a great over-ager season with the Prince Albert Raiders. In 63 games played, he recorded 43 goals and 45 assists. It’s evident that he’s quickly becoming a true playmaker, but he still has a lot of work as he’s been a bit inconsistent throughout his WHL career. If he has hopes of making it to the NHL down the road, he needs to have a great campaign with the Barracuda.
In terms of his playing style, Gregor is fast. He can out-skate the competition almost each and every time that he grabs hold of the puck. He also loves to go right up to the net, deke, draw the goalie off and then sneak in a backhand shot. While that technique has worked well in the WHL, Gregor needs to be mindful that goaltenders in the AHL and the NHL will catch up on fairly quickly.
5. Alexander Chmelevski, C/RW, Ottawa 67’s
HT/WT: 6-0/187 lbs
Drafted: 185th overall in the 2017 draft by the San Jose Sharks
The dual citizen, American and Ukrainian forward has had two great seasons back-to-back. In his 2017-18 campaign, he tallied 35 goals and 41 assists in 68 games. Last season, he recorded 35 goals and 40 assists in 56 games with the 67’s. While he couldn’t get his 67’s to the Memorial Cup, he’s been a valued asset in Ottawa and might soon be one in San Jose.
Chmelevski has great stick handling and his a beautiful spin move. When he’s playing against heavy traffic in the offensive zone, his puck handling and spin move can come in handy. It reminds me a lot of Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander.
6. Jonathan Dahlén, LW, Utica Comets (AHL) and San Jose Barracuda (AHL)
HT/WT: 5-11/183 lbs
Drafted: 42nd overall in the 2016 draft by the Ottawa Senators
Dahlén has been used as trade bait twice so far. He was traded by the Ottawa Senators to the Vancouver Canucks in the Alex Burrows swap. He was also dealt to the San Jose Sharks in February for Linus Karlsson. While Dahlén has danced around from organization to organization, he still is a blue-chip prospect.
Last season, Dahlén played in a combined 57 games with the Utica Comets and the Barracuda. He recorded 14 goals and 19 assists. Not too shabby. He doesn’t project to be a top line forward, so you shouldn’t be concerned about any offensive production issues.
In terms of Dahlén’s style of play, he loves to drive toward the net and enjoys going one on one with the opposing goaltender. He scores a fair amount of wrap around goals, loves setting up one-timers and is a stud of a poke checker.
7. Andrew Shortridge, G, Quinnipiac University (NCAA)
HT/WT: 6-4/185 lbs
Andrew Shortridge is a tall lanky hybrid goaltender, but he’s been impressive during his time at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.
Last season, Shortridge had the best GAA and SV% in the NCAA. He beat out Filip Lindberg of UMass Amherst, Mathias Israelsson of Minnesota State University, Hunter Shepard of University of Minnesota-Duluth and Dryden McKay of Minnesota State University. Shortridge had 27 appearances in net and posted a 1.51 GAA and a .940 SV%. His performance in net paved the way for him to earn the Ken Dryden Award.
8. Zachary Émond, G, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
HT/WT: 6-4/170 lbs
Drafted: 176th overall in the 2018 draft by the San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks clearly love tall lanky goaltenders. Andrew Shortridge and Zachary Émond fit that profile to a tee.
While Émond does play for the Memorial Cup champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, he isn’t the starting goaltender. Unfortunately for Émond, Samuel Harvey has been the starting goaltender for the Huskies. But, the good news is that Harvey is getting up in age and soon won’t be eligible to play junior hockey. That means that the Huskies will have to put Émond in net soon enough. But, that’s not a bad thing as Émond deserves it.
This past season, Émond had 27 appearances in net and recorded a stellar 1.73 GAA and a .932 SV%.
9. Mario Ferraro, D, UMass Amherst (NCAA)
HT/WT: 5-11/185 lbs
Drafted: 49th overall in the 2017 draft by the San Jose Sharks
Mario Ferraro has been a great two-way defenseman for UMass Amherst. While former teammate Cale Makar has stolen the show, hockey fans should familiarize themselves with Mario Ferraro’s name. He’s going places. In fact, Corey Pronman of The Athletic called Ferraro’s skating “elite”.
The only issue with Ferraro is that he doesn’t deliver that much in the offensive zone. But, that’s perfectly ok. The Sharks don’t need a plethora of offensive-minded defenseman. They need great two-way defensemen too.
Last season with UMass Amherst, he played in 41 games and recorded 2 goals and 12 assists. His offensive production dropped in comparison to the previous season, but it’s not awful since Ferraro isn’t going to dazzle you in the offensive zone. He’ll be more effective with his transitional play.
10. Jérémy Roy, D, San Jose Barracuda
HT/WT: 6-0/194 lbs
Drafted: 31st overall in the 2015 draft by the San Jose Sharks
Jérémy Roy has a physical side. He loves dropping the gloves and isn’t shy about laying out a hit. But, he’s also incredible in the offensive zone. He’s the perfect blend. Plus, Roy is great in transition. To be honest, it’s hard to find a flaw in his game.
This past season, he appeared in 58 games for the Barracuda and recorded 6 goals and 15 assists. Not too bad. Roy will likely need to have another similar season before he makes the jump to the NHL, but everything is looking good for the 22-year-old.