Photo: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko got off to an impressive start in his NHL career, making him an easy choice as the NHL's top rookie for January (courtesy of Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
Due to the NHL lockout, January was an abbreviated month, with most teams playing just over half a dozen games. Nonetheless, the Hockey’s Future staff was polled to give their early thoughts on the front-runners for the league's Calder Trophy, which recognizes the NHL's top rookie.
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.
Photo: San Jose Sharks defenseman and University of Massachusetts alum Justin Braun is the first of a recent group of that school's alums to make it to the NHL (courtesy of Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Casey Wellman has been with three organizations since turning pro during the 2009-10 season, but this season could mark his best chance to become an NHL regular.