Photo: A free agent signing out of Minnesota State-Mankato, Eriah Hayes made his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks on January 5th in Chicago (courtesy of Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
The San Jose Sharks have considerable depth at the minor league affiliate level. Quantity does not equal quality though, and while the ranks are brimming in numbers, there is not a lot to be excited for at the halfway point of 2013-14 season.
Photo: Center Freddie Hamilton is just one of the prospects with San Jose’s AHL affiliate in Worcester with the potential to fill a complementary role in the NHL (courtesy of Scott W. Grau/Icon SMI)
Last season, San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson spoke adamantly about how the team would be going through a refresh rather than a restart. He would add small doses of youth along the way instead of tearing down his veteran squad for a full-fledged rebuild.
Photo: Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues' fourth overall pick in 2008, has developed into the team's top blueliner, leading the team with over 25 minutes of ice time per game this season. (courtesy of Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
While some teams experience a lack of draft picks, or reliable prospects, the St. Louis Blues had an abundance of both in 2008. Headlining the list of 2008 draft picks was Alex Pietrangelo, a soon-to-be superstar in the NHL. Along with Pietrangelo, nine other selections were made by the Blues in 2008.
Photo: Center Travis Oleksuk is one of the Sharks' 2012 free agent signings that has struggled to make a consistent impact in his rookie season at the AHL level. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Worcester Sharks and San Francisco Bulls probably did not benefit as a whole due to the lockout as much as other AHL and ECHL organizations, but the individual San Jose Sharks prospects on the teams have made tremendous strides so far in the 2012-13 season. Injuries have slowed down development, but generally the end of 2012 and the start of 2013 has shown great improvement in the Shark’s prospect pool thanks in part to these AHL and ECHL players.
Photo: Left wing Matt Nieto leads a shallow group of winger prospects for the San Jose Sharks. (courtesy of Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI)
The San Jose Sharks have long believed in the philosophy of taking things slow, and letting young players develop to earn the opportunity to play with the big club. Unfortunately for the Sharks in the last five years, there have not been many opportunities earned.