The Worcester Sharks are currently fourth in the Atlantic Division with an 18-12-2 record. After a bad start and a seven-game losing streak, Worcester is back on its winning ways and looking for a playoff spot. Eight out of the San Jose Sharks top 20 prospects are in the minor leagues now, with 12 seeing at least some time there.
The Worchester Shuttle has been busy all year with prospects such as Derek Joslin, Jason Demers, Benn Ferriero, Jamie McGinn, Logan Couture, and Frazer McLaren all being able to prove themselves in the minors to get their shot in the NHL.
Logan Couture, C, 20
The 2007 first-round draft pick has been impressive as a rookie in the American Hockey League. Couture is leading the Worcester Sharks in scoring despite playing 11 fewer games than the second leading scorer. Couture has 11 goals and 18 assists in just 20 games, centering Worcester’s top line with Steven Zalewski and . Couture also played 11 games in the NHL, with a goal and an assist. Couture might get another chance at the NHL level again this year.
Nick Petrecki, D, 20
Although Petrecki has been the same physical presence on the Worcester blue line as he was at Boston College, his overall defensive play has slipped a little playing in a quicker league. Petrecki has four assists in 32 games and 54 penalty minutes. He also has four fighting majors this season and is -7. The rookie needs to get quicker to be the same hulking force that he was in college. That will come with time and practice as he adjusts to life in the AHL.
Tyson Sexsmith, G, 20
Sexsmith has had his ups and downs so far this season playing for both the Worcester Sharks and their ECHL affiliate the Kalamazoo Wings. His stats in the ECHL are far better than how he started in the AHL. Sexsmith was supposed to split starts with fellow rookie Alex Stalock, but Stalock outplayed him to become the starter. Before getting sent to the ECHL, Sexsmith was 2-4-1 with 4.00 goals against and .857 save percentage with Worcester. Sexsmith played far better in his two games in Kalamazoo. He had two wins and only five total goals against in those games with a .932 save percentage. Sexsmith has since been recalled back to Worcester.
Mike Moore, D, 25
Moore was one of four defensemen competing in training camp for a spot on San Jose’s roster. Moore has a higher salary cap hit than other defensemen in the system so he will not get the same opportunity that Joslin and Demers have had. Moore also does not have the same offensive upside that those two have. He has been very solid defensively for Worcester in just 17 games, missing some time due to injury. Moore has six assists and is an impressive +9 and is a steady defensive presence on the back end.
Derek Joslin, D, 22
A fifth-round pick in 2005, Joslin has split time in the AHL and NHL the past two seasons. This year Joslin has played 20 games with San Jose and 14 games with Worcester. Joslin has not scored a goal yet this season, but with his heavy shot from the point, it should not be long before he scores. He does have six assists along with a -2 and just six penalty minutes. Joslin might be back to San Jose the rest of the year.
Steven Zalewski, C, 23
Zalewski is currently second in scoring on Worcester with 27 points — 10 goals and 17 assists in 31 games. Zalewski had a three-game stint with San Jose earlier in the season. Zalewski is a defensive-minded forward with some offensive upside, and playing alongside Couture has helped his offensive game. In his third season with Worcester, Zalewski is on pace to eclipse his previous high of 39 points.
Alex Stalock, G, 22
The University of Minnesota-Duluth product is having a stellar season so far with Worcester. In 25 games he is 16-8-1 with 2.39 goals against average. Stalock played himself into the starting role by outperforming Sexsmith in the early part of the season and is now tied for the lead league in wins. The fourth-round draft pick in 2005 has provided steady goaltending all season and also plays the puck exceptionally well. Stalock has good stick skills and passing for a goalie. Stalock looks to be another in the history of fine goaltenders out of the San Jose pipeline.
Matt Jones, RW, 23
Currently with Kalamazoo of the ECHL, Jones has found his game once again, putting up 11 goals and five assists in just 15 games along with 17 penalty minutes. Jones struggled for the early part of the season in Worcester before his demotion. At 6’4 and 200 pounds, the power forward had only two points in 14 games in the AHL. Jones wasn’t able to put up consistent numbers in the minor leagues last year either, but his demotion to the ECHL has brought a new confidence and he’s regained his goal-scoring touch.
Benn Ferriero, RW, 22
Ferriero played his first 22 games of the season in San Jose. After going up and down a bit, he has been a fixture on the Worcester top line. In 14 games with Worcester, Ferriero has six goals and nine assists and is also a +2. Since being signed by San Jose in the offseason, Ferriero has been a great addition to both San Jose and Worcester. Depending on injuries and demotions, Ferriero may get another chance in San Jose this year.
Joe Loprieno, D, 23
Loprieno was signed by San Jose this past offseason after playing three years at Merrimack College. In only 19 games with Worcester, he has been held pointless, but has 33 penalty minutes and is a -4. The rookie is a 6’3 and 220-pound shut-down defenseman.
Brandon Mashinter, LW, 21
The 6’3, 225-pound power forward can put up points and he will frequently drop the gloves for Worcester. He has eight fighting majors along with eight goals and six assists in 32 games. He also has a total of 66 penalty minutes and is a -5. Mashinter has recently been playing with two other big forwards in Kevin Henderson and Dennis McCauley.
John McCarthy, LW, 23
McCarthy is in his first year with Worcester after graduating from Boston University. The speedy, energy-line forward is first on the team in plus/minus with a +12 rating. The 2006 draftee also has five goals and 10 assists in 32 games this season. McCarthy has been playing with Andrew Desjardins and Dan DaSilva and has also been getting a lot of time on the penalty kill.