Photo: The Sharks have two of their top forward prospects turning pro in 2013-14: Tomas Hertl (pictured) and Matt Nieto (courtesy of Rocky Widner/Getty Images)
The San Jose Sharks have notoriously been known as having one of the worst prospect pools in all of hockey. Yet season after season new faces from the farm make waves and the depth charts are refreshed and they remain in the hunt.
Photo: The Sharks traded up two spots to the 18th pick to select Mirco Mueller, who shouldered a heavy load on the Everett Silvertips blue line after Ryan Murray was lost to injury (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The San Jose Sharks entered the 2013 NHL Draft with high optimism and eight picks in what many were describing as a very deep draft class, filled with players who could make a real impact. In fact, it is quite often compared to the 2003 draft, which gave rise to many of the stars of today. With an already improved prospect pool, along with four of the first 58 picks in the draft, the Sharks pipeline was looking as well stocked as it ever has and primed to become one of those pools other organizations marvel over.
Photo: The Sharks selected Czech center Tomas Hertl 17th overall in 2012. Hertl is the only first round pick in the Sharks organization from the last five draft classes (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
Just a day after trading defensemen Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for draft picks, San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson made it clear that the team would not be rebuilding like many suspected; it would be refreshing.
Photo: Chris Tierney scored 21 points in 21 OHL playoff games to help the London Knights capture their second consecutive J. Ross Robertson Cup (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The players in the San Jose Sharks prospect pool endured plenty of post-season successes and failures. The 2013 playoffs featured multiple first round exits, a few long runs in the CHL, and considerable amounts of golfing as a number of players did not even get a taste of the post-season. The prospect pool was a microcosm for the playoffs in general; you win some, you lose some, and that is just the nature of the game.
Photo: Defenseman Nick Petrecki found his physical game during the 2012-13 season and skated in his first NHL game on January 29, 2013 (courtesy of John Hefti/Icon SMI)
The 2012-13 season will go down as a major turning point in the San Jose Sharks prospect pool. Long gone are the days of shallow pools and bleak futures. In fact, if this season was any indication of the growth and development process the Sharks management group has in place, big things could be coming to the Sharks in the coming years.