San Jose Sharks stacked with NCAA talent

By David Thicke
Photo: Defenseman Isaac Macleod provided a steadying presence this season for the Boston College blue line. MacLeod would appear in 44 games this season, helping the Eagles to a Frozen Four Championship. (Photo courtesy of

Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

The San Jose Sharks have good variety in their prospects group at the NCAA level but no prospects playing in Europe. The Sharks did have one European prospect in Daniil Sobchenko, but he tragically perished in an airplane crash with fellow Lokomotiv Yaraslavl teammates on September 7th, 2011.

The team has drafted a good mix of speed, skill, physicality, size and grit with six forwards and three defensemen having played this past season in the NCAA. There will most likely be no players leaving early to play at the professional level as most will need more development time in the NCAA.

NCAA

Colin Blackwell, C, Harvard Crimson (ECAC)
Drafted 7th round, 194th overall in 2011


Blackwell had a good start to his NCAA career as a freshman at Harvard University where the quick skating centerman scored five goals along with 10 assists and a minus five rating while taking 46 penalty minutes (2nd on team) in 32 games. The stocky forward plays with energy, drives fearlessly to the net, has a solid hockey IQ and can be a shooter but also has good offensive vision to be a playmaker. The freshman was involved in or set-up many important late-game goals for the Crimson this season.

Blackwell will need to add more muscle to his small build while improving his overall defensive game and learning to uses his quick accurate shot more often. He's a real longshot to make the NHL at this time but his work ethic, desire, and passion are extreme high.

Chris Crane, RW, Ohio State Buckeyes (CCHA)
Drafted 7th round, 200th overall in 2010

 

Crane really improved his offensive game this season at Ohio State University when the sophomore winger scored 14 goals along with 10 assists and a minus-three rating in 35 NCAA games. The physical forward plays really well on the boards, has a good work ethic, a nose for puck around the net and thrives when he drives the high traffic areas to score most of his goals. He led the Buckeyes team with the most points, goals, power play goals (six) while scoring two game winning goals and providing leadership when needed this year.

Crane will need to improve his first four step acceleration, shooting while in stride and his defensive play without the puck. He will be expected to bring more offensive and a better overall game in his junior season at Ohio State.

Drew Daniels, D, Northeastern Huskies (Hockey East)
Drafted 7th round, 194th overall, 2008

Drew Daniels had a solid junior year as a full-time defenseman for the Northeastern Huskies where the converted forward had seven assists (five on the power play) and an okay minus-six in 34 NCAA games. He wasn't putting up any offensive numbers in his first two season at Northeastern so half way through last season the switch was made to defense where he's found his game.

Daniels needs a lot of work on his overall defensive game, improving his skating balance, pivots and gap control while adding some muscle mass to his tall frame. The senior will be needed on the Huskies' defense for leadership and experience as the team has lost quite a few defenders this spring.

Justin Daniels, C, Northeastern Huskies (Hockey East)
Drafted 3rd round, 62nd overall, 2008

Justin Daniels was able to put up better offensive numbers than last season but just a little better than his freshman year. This twin stayed on forward unlike his brother Daniel but still hasn't shown an improved offensive game as he only score seven goals along with 10 assists and a minus one-rating in 33 games. The junior centerman struggled after a good start to his season and found himself on the fourth line as well as in the stands for a game this year.

Daniels needs to add more muscle mass, play with a more physical edge, and go harder to the dirty areas of the ice to score more goals. He will need to show a big improvement in his senior year for any hope of a chance at the professional level.

Cody Ferriero, C, Northeastern Huskies (Hockey East)
Drafted 5th round, 127th overall, 2010

Ferriero was having an excellent sophomore year on the top line for Northeastern before he underwent surgery for a torn Meniscus in his knee and missed the second half of the season. He had doubled his offensive numbers of his freshman year by scoring nine goals along with six assists and a good plus-15 rating in only 17 NCAA games. The quick skating centerman is a pure scorer who finds the open spots in the offensive zone to get off his quick, hard accurate release which helped him score a power play goal and two game winning goals this season.

To get back to the same level play, Ferriero needs to work hard strengthening his injured knee and get back to skating as soon as possible. The junior sniper should put up excellent number next season if he can stay healthy for the whole year at Northwestern.

Max Gaede, RW, Minnesota State Mavericks (WCHA)
Drafted 3rd round, 88th overall, 2010

 

Despite missing eight games to an upper body injury, Gaede had a strong finish to his freshman year at Minnesota State University where he scored three goals along four assists and a minus-six rating in 30 NCAA games. The physical winger has good strength along the boards, has good enough hands in tight to the net and can drive the net to score his goals. The 20-year-old winger was able to get playing time on the team's top line with all the injuries to the Mavericks' line-up this year.

Gaede will need to improve his acceleration and overall skating over the next couple of years developing at the NCAA level while the big forward gains strength and works on his offensive game. He has the hockey sense, work ethic, character, size and the overall game to project as a power forward but is really a raw talent that just needs time.

Isaac MacLeod, RW, Boston College (Hockey East)
Drafted 5th round, 136th overall, 2010

After a difficult freshman season, MacLeod made a big step forward on defense in his sophomore season at Boston College when he finished with six assists and a plus-14 rating in 44 NCAA games. The smooth skating, lanky defender helped the Eagles to their third NCAA National title in five years by playing big minutes on the team's top-six defensemen and killing penalties all season.

MacLeod needs to continue improving his reverse pivots, balance, and leverage while gaining more muscle mass to his 6'5 frame and work on moving the puck quicker to offense. He will be expected to play a bigger role, bring leadership and character to Boston College as a junior next year.

Lee Moffie, D, Michigan Wolverines (CCHA)
Drafted 7th round, 188th overall, 2010

Moffie had a solid junior season at the University of Michigan where the puck moving defenseman nearly doubled his last season's numbers, scoring seven goals along with 25 assists (led the team) and a plus-23 rating in 41 NCAA games. The mobile defender played on both specialty teams scoring two power play goals, a shorthanded goal along with two game winning goals for the Wolverines this year.

Moffie played most of the second half of the season with his shutdown partner, Jon Merrill (NJD) who clearly helped the offensive defenseman develop his overall game. He gained valuable experience playing big minutes in the CCHA Playoffs and the NCAA tournament. The talented blueliner will probably be returning for his senior year at Michigan to continue his development and play a bigger role for the Wolverines.

Matt Nieto, RW, Boston University Terriers (Hockey East)
Drafted 2nd round, 47th overall in 2011

 

Nieto had an excellent sophomore season at Boston University where the speedy winger scored 16 goals along with 26 assists and a solid plus-19 rating in 37 NCAA games. The 19-year-old forward has very quick four-step acceleration and uses his explosive speed to force the oppositions' defenseman to be cautious when defending against him. The offensively talented winger played on both specialty teams units, scoring four power play goals, a shorthanded tally and three important game winning goals this year.

Nieto needs to continue improving his overall game while putting up better offensive numbers and shooting much more often instead of forcing bad passes. He will be expected to provide more scoring, character, leadership as a junior on the Terriers for the 2012-13 season with the loss of forward, Alex Chiasson (DAL) who signed an NHL entry-level contract this spring.

 

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