2008-09: Travis Oleksuk struggled to stay in the UMD line-up in his freshman season with the Bulldogs. After a good 2007-08 season for Sioux City in the USHL, he failed to score any goals, added just five assists and had a minus two rating in 18 NCAA games.
2009- 10: Oleksuk improve greatly in his sophomore season at UMD where the playmaking centerman scored five power play goals along with two game winning goals for the Bulldogs. He finished the season having scored ten goals along with 14 assists and a plus one rating in 33 NCAA games.
2010-11: Oleksuk started to become more of a two-way centerman in his junior year at UMD where the talent center scored three power play goals, one shorthanded tally and showed his ability to score important clutch goals with seven game winners. He finished the season having scored 14 goals along with 19 assists and an okay minus two rating in 42 NCAA games.
2011-12: Oleksuk was second to the 2012 Hobey Baker winner, Jack Connolly in points and second to his linemate, J.T Brown (TBL) in goals at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The senior centerman showed a twenty point increase over last year’s offensive numbers when the team won the 2011 NCAA Championship. Oleksuk scored nine power play goals along with an improved plus 24 ratings this season while scoring some important goals (six game winning goals) down the stretch this season for the Bulldogs. He finished his final season at UMD having scored 21 goals along with 32 assists in 41 NCAA games. Oleksuk impressed the San Jose Sharks enough in his senior year to receive a free agent contract form the team on March 30, 2012.
2012-13: Oleksuk had limited success for San Jose’s AHL affiliate in Worcester in his first pro season. With NHL center James Sheppard skating for the Sharks during the lockout, and AHL veterans Bracken Kearns and Jonathan Matsumoto in top line roles most of the season, he scored 3 goals with 10 assists and was -12 with 12 penalty minutes. Worcester missed the AHL playoffs after finishing fourth in the Atlantic Division.
Oleksuk is a skilled player struggling to find his game at the professional level. He is an above average skater who is very strong on his skates and has some defensive pedigree despite being known more for his hockey sense. He lacks any sort of physical edge and tends to play a perimeter game that is proving difficult to perform at the AHL level. His inability to adapt is somewhat concerning. While it still early in his development, his imaginative playmaking ability might need to be toned down to compensate for his poor play under pressure.
Confidence is a prime concern for the two-way offensive forward and unless he can rectify this issue he stands to be yet another highly gifted player who could not put everything together.
Oleksuk will play the 2013-14 season with the Worcester Sharks and look to live up to the hype he had coming from university as the runner-up for the Hobey Baker award.