Another draft has been completed, and it was one that made formulating a top ten list quite for the Sharks difficult. However, after much deliberation, using many different sources and opinions, I have finally come up with a top ten that I am comfortable with.
While the player’s abilities is the key deciding factor, other factors such as experience at a certain level, how NHL-ready a player is, and intangibles (IE: height, weight, etc) take a part at times, particularly after the fifth selection where any of ten players could be anywhere from 6th through 15th.
Look for in depth player evaluations of all key Sharks prospects to come in the next week or so here at hockeysfuture.
1st: Jonathan Cheechoo-RW/LW
This was the only easy selection. Of all Sharks prospects Cheechoo is the most ready for the NHL, has successfully played at all levels of competition, and simply has the most talent at this point of his career than anyone else in the Sharks system.
Cheechoo played significant time at left wing last season for Cleveland of the AHL, which he may need to do again next season if he has a chance of cracking the Sharks lineup. While his natural position is right wing, he will have a tough time earning ice time with Teemu Selanne, Owen Nolan and Nik Sundstrom all entrenched in their spots on the right. However, with only Scott Thornton and Adam Graves with solid positions on the left (Marco Sturm also plays on the left, but is often at center), that could give Cheechoo an opportunity.
Cheechoo will start off like all Shark rookies start Read more»
The 2002 NHL Entry Draft was certainly an interesting one for the San Jose Sharks, headed by GM Dean Lombardi and Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Burke
With seven picks in the draft, the Sharks chose five players from the US, a highly unusual route. In 2000, the Sharks went with a rather unusual theme, selecting Marcel Goc, Christian Ehrhoff and Dimitri Patzold, all out of Germany. In 1999, the Sharks went with the college theme, selecting Jeff Jillson, Willie Levesque, and Niko Dimitrakos. So far, both of those “theme drafts” have turned out positive for the Sharks.
Whether or not the high school theme of 2002 will enjoy the same success is impossible to tell from the outset.
Name: Mike Morris
Draft Spot: 1st Round: 27th Overall
Position: Right Wing
Size: 6’1” 185 pounds
CSS Final Rank: 57th among North American Skaters
Last Year’s Team: St. Sebastian High School (Massachusetts.) Read more»
When Jeff Jillson decided to leave the University of Michigan after his junior year last season, he had a specific goal in mind—to make himself as ready for his first professional hockey season as possible. Jillson spent most of the summer of 2001 in San Jose working out with the Sharks’ Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Mac Read, trying to prepare himself for the faster, bigger, and stronger competition at the professional level, but it’s not the first time he’s had to adjust and turn himself into a different player.
It was only four years ago that many felt he would have been better suited to play in the Canadian Hockey League as opposed to college, but Jillson decided not only to make the decision that was best for his hockey career, but also what was best for his own personal development.
“I saw a few games in the junior leagues and then I saw a couple in the college leagues and figure I got the best of both worlds, (I got to) play a high level of hockey and at the same time continue my education,” said Jillson. “The thing is at Michigan is that you get so much exposure even though it’s a college team as far as hockey goes and you can get the best of both worlds to continue to work on your game as well as continue on with your education, so it works out pretty well.”
In another sign of Jillson’s constant strive for improvement, not just in hockey, but in life, Jillson recently registered for classes on the Internet at Michigan where he was a constant All-Academic selection. He said that the early plan is to do most of his coursework Read more»
The importance of a team’s depth at all positions was proven last year when at various times in the season many of the Sharks top players such as Owen Nolan, Vincent Damphousse and Steve Shields missed games due to injuries or suspensions. Without the contributions of players like Tony Granato, Jim Montgomery and Bill Lindsay, it is hard to say where the Sharks would have finished in the playoff race. Particularly Granato filled a role where he patched holes where necessary; ending up playing 61 games in what will likely be his last NHL season.
As the Sharks close in on training camp, the core of their team remains in tact. The addition of Adam Graves and the retention of Gary Suter gives the Sharks four solid scoring lines and three experienced defensive pairings. The only players still unsigned are defenseman Mike Rathje, center Patrick Marleau, and right wing Todd Harvey.
While the Sharks have prospects such as Marcel Goc and Jeff Jillson who are considered solid to blue chip prospects, if in need of help, players such as these may not necessarily be the best choice, as further playing time in various developmental leagues may be in order, or in the case of players in college or playing in CHL, can’t play in the NHL even if they were ready.
Last season it was the Sharks forward lines that were plagued by the injury bug. With Nolan missing 25 games due to various injuries and a 12-game suspension by the NHL, and Damphousse missing almost half the season with a shoulder injury, the Sharks were without their two best players, much of which at the s Read more»