Sharks junior prospects season review

By Christopher Lee

The 2006-07 CHL season has been very good to the San Jose Sharks organization with five of their six junior prospects recording career highs in scoring.

In the Ontario Hockey League, Jamie McGinn brought his offensive game to a new level, while his Ottawa teammate Doug Joslin was a solid component on a young defense corps. Meanwhile, in Oshawa, James DeLory played a big role on another young team.

In the Western Hockey League, two Shark prospects were vital cogs of Prince George’s season and playoff run. Devin Setoguchi had another productive year and Ty Wishart continued his steady two-way play on the backend. In Kootenay, goaltender Taylor Dakers had another 30-win season and was the team MVP.

Ontario Hockey League

James DeLory, D  6’5, 212 lbs — Oshawa Generals
4th round pick, 98th overall in 2006

James DeLory’s third season with the Generals was one of mixed results. The huge defensive rearguard saw a slight drop in production this season despite being expected to play a bigger role as part of the team’s top pair. He finished third among Oshawa defensemen with four goals and 21 assists in 61 games down from the 32 points he put up last season. On the positive side, DeLory improved his plus/minus rating from the poor -22 he had in the previous year to a -11 on a team that made the playoffs for the first time in his three years there. He also showed the ability to step up his play with two overtime goals in the regular season and increased production in the team’s short playoff run.

DeLory’s game is that of a physical defenseman who loves to finish his checks and is not afraid to drop the gloves. This part of his game does need some maturity though, as DeLory has been suspended on a couple of occasions and carried the bad habit of taking instigator penalties. He led the Generals in penalty minutes, finishing in the top 20 in the OHL, but found himself in the penalty box on a number of occasions when his team needed him on the ice. Although DeLory’s repertoire is not completely devoid of offensive ability, his ticket to the NHL will be his size and his ability to play strong defensive hockey. He will almost certainly be back in Oshawa next year.

Jamie McGinn, LW
  6’0, 183 lbs — Ottawa 67s
2nd round pick, 36th overall in 2006

The speedy Ottawa 67s winger took his game to new heights this year. Playing a role on the top line was an easy transition for McGinn who had been used on a checking/energy line in the past. McGinn almost doubled his output, scoring 46 goals and contributing 43 assists in 68 games while playing most of the year with 2007 draft prospect Logan Couture. He continued his scoring clip with five goals in five playoff games, and was Ottawa’s most consistent and productive player all year long. The OHL rewarded McGinn with a third-team All-Star selection. At the end of the season, McGinn signed with the Sharks and moved to Worcester to see some pro action, where he notched a goal and an assist in limited action with the affiliate in the final weeks of the regular season.

With McGinn, there’s never a question of effort. Known for his intensity and relentless two-way play, he was able to cut his penalty minutes in half this season in his new scoring role. While he does not have ideal size, McGinn is not one to back down from even the biggest guys on the ice. A terror to the opposition, he projects to be a third line player who can contribute offensively. McGinn is too young to play in the AHL next season, so he’ll likely be back in junior.

Derek Joslin, D  6’1, 191 lbs — Ottawa 67’s
5th round pick, 149th overall in 2005 

The Ottawa 67s co-captain for the 2006-07 season quietly went about his business again this season, bettering his offensive output by one point over the previous year and finishing in the top 20 in scoring among OHL defensemen with 49 points in 68 games. He was named an Eastern Conference All-Star and followed up the season with a very solid playoff. He, along with fellow 67s teammate and Sharks prospect McGinn, joined Worcester for the remainder of the AHL season and playoffs, getting a few pro games under his belt.

The average-sized blueliner has added some muscle to his 6’1 frame, but needs to continue to bulk up for the rigors of an NHL season while spending the next few years in Worcester. His offensive game is respectable, but not strong enough alone to keep him on an NHL roster. If Joslin can define his game as a strong and responsible defenseman with sufficient offensive ability, he could become a regular on the Sharks’ back line.

Western Hockey League

Taylor Dakers, G  6’2, 170 lbs — Kootenay Ice
Fifth round pick, 140th overall, 2005

Dakers asserted himself again this year as another of the deep pool of netminders in the San Jose organization. Despite missing almost a month in the early part of the season, the lanky British Columbia native still managed to improve on career highs, posting top 5 numbers in wins (33), goals against average (2.16), and save percentage (.919) in the WHL. At season’s end, he was named an Eastern Conference second team All-Star and the MVP of his Kootenay team. He led his team to Game 7 of a disappointing first round loss at the hands of the Calgary Hitmen before joining the Sharks to travel with the team during their two-round Stanley Cup playoff run.

Dakers has the reputation of an excellent technical goaltender who is mentally strong. He will likely need to add some bulk to his frame in the next few years in the Sharks pro system. With the depth that the team possesses in net, he could be placed in Fresno of the ECHL to begin his pro career next season. If Dakers continues to progress steadily, he projects as an NHL starting goalie, although he is still several years off.

Ty Wishart, D
  6’5, 205 lbs — Prince George Cougars
First round pick, 16th overall, 2006

Ty Wishart continued his steady development into the top pairing defenseman the Sharks brass thought they had when they made him their first round pick in last year’s draft. The Prince George anchor on the backend had career highs offensively with 49 points in 62 games despite having missed a few games due to minor injuries early in the year. The second team All-Star also had a team best +15 rating and, paired with 6’8 Tampa Bay prospect Vladimir Mihalik, formed one of the most feared defense pairings in the league. His consistent two-way play continued into the playoffs where he had 11 points in 15 games, helping his team reach the Western Conference finals.

Wishart continues to put weight on his 6’5 frame, all the while maintaining a focus on foot speed and improving his first pass. He possesses good offensive tools in a heavy shot and good vision in the offensive zone.  Wishart will likely be back for his 19-year-old year in Prince George and possibly up for a spot on the Canadian junior team. Should he continue to progress the way he has, Wishart’s upside is that of an all-around NHL defenseman, capable of being dominant at both ends of the ice.

Devin Setoguchi, F  6’0, 195 lbs — Prince George Cougars
First round, 8th overall, 2005

Early in the first round of the 2005 entry draft, the Sharks shocked many by selecting enigmatic goal scorer Devin Setoguchi with the eighth overall pick. At the time, it was thought to be quite a risk, with many more proven NHL prospects still on the board. Two years later, the Sharks organization is still happy with their choice. Setoguchi had a rough start to the 2006-07 season, first getting injured in Sharks training camp costing him a shot at the team, and then being traded to Prince George immediately upon being sent down. All that, and a few early season injuries, was not enough to stop him from notching a career-high 36 goals in 55 games. Along with fellow Sharks pick Wishart for the Cougars, Setoguchi anchored the team’s run in the playoffs, where he placed among the WHL’s playoff point leaders, registering 11 goals in 15 games.

Setoguchi is as natural a goal scorer as they come with a fantastic shot, but his tendency to suffer lengthy droughts through can be very frustrating. While not a power forward by any means, he is not afraid of playing physical and can deliver punishing hits with his improved strength. While he holds the outside chance of earning a spot on the San Jose lineup, he will likely start next season in Worcester, where coaches will surely attempt to mold him into a consistent scoring winger, which is well within his grasp.

Copyright 2007 Hockey’s Future.  Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.