There are a lot of scouts throughout the NHL who will tell you that the San Jose Sharks have the best group of young defensemen in their system than any other team in the NHL. Included in this list are players such as: Brad Stuart, Scott Hannan, Andrei Zyuzin, Mike Rathje, and more… What makes San Jose’s defensemen so appealing, is not only that they’re good, not only that they have more than a few of them, but that they have all different types, for a well rounded defense as well. While every team wants to have a specific direction, you also want some variety. They have big guys, smaller guys, and everything in between. What I intend here is to go through some of San Jose’s main defensive young guys, and let you know what to possibly expect in the future from them.
In this report, I’m going to cover what is undoubtedly the most important position on the ice. Take a look at Stanley Cup winners throughout history, and what do they all have in common? Goaltending. At the very least, it’s been good, if not great. Detroit has had Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon. In previous years it’s been names such as Broduer, Roy and Richter. So who’s going to be the goaltender for the Sharks when they eventually win the Cup? Will it be one of the below named players, or someone else currently with another team or in juniors?
Well, first off, I owe everyone an apology. I said in my last post that I would be writing stories back to my normal pace, but unfortunately things came up, and that wasn’t possible, but I’m back…
In this report I’m going to focus on some players currently in Kentucky of the AHL, and briefly on one player currently playing in Richmond of the ECHL.
The Sharks have had some surprises in Kentucky this year, fortunately, they have all been pleasant surprises thus far. Perhaps the biggest surprise is right up at the top, in their coach, Roy Sommer. Last year, Sommer was the eye in the sky for the San Jose Sharks. At that point, the Kentucky Thoroughblades decided that while Jim Wiley may be a good guy, being the Head Coach of the team wasn’t quite his spot, so he was re-assigned, demoted, whatever you want to call it to Director of Hockey Operations. Roy Sommer was brought from the San Jose Sharks to fulfill his first Head Coaching job in the AHL. Roy has coached in the ECHL, oddly enough with the Richmond Renegades, now the Sharks ECHL affiliate, and won it all there on multiple occasions. Many people will tell you that Sommer could possibly be the next Head Coach of the San Jose Sharks if things work out well enough there. After a very disappointing season in Kentucky last year, rookie Head Coach Roy Sommer has put the Tblades into a position where they are challenging for their division title.
Well, the San Jose Sharks have completed their 1998 training camp. As always, some guys were impressive, some not. The players who were sent down in the first set of cuts I did not get the chance to see… The others however, I have seen. Some of the guys sent down in the first set had write-ups in the paper about them, and I recorded those comments in the players review…
1: Sean Gauthier: G-Many have been impressed by him; unfortunately, I’m not one of them… He has given up tons of rebound opportunities… Bruce Racine should get the #3 job, only question is does Gauthier go to AHL or the ECHL?
2: Bill Houlder: D-Very typical Billy Houlder defensive hockey… Nothing flashy, but doing his job… Not allowing the forwards to get any great shots off…
3: Bob Rouse: D-He’s looking like a very good pickup… Largely overshadowed in Detroit…
4: Andrei Zyuzin: D-The fact that he has not shown much improvement since last year is a bit disheartening, but I wouldn’t get to worried quite yet… Darryl Sutter has voiced displeasure of his play, but also has implied that there has been progress as camp goes on…
5: Brad Stuart: D-You could tell he was a bit overwhelmed… He seemed surprised at times at the extra speed and intensity of the NHL players… Sent down to Regina at the last minute. (WHL) Read more»
Name: position, height/weight, age, where picked (year in parenthesis) League/team, statistical information
Awards: (Some players have two All-Star teams mentioned, this is not in error. The CHL comes out with two of them, one in the middle of the year, one at the end which never plays a game, just listed as 1st team, 2nd team or 3rd team All-Star)
Description/star ranking… The star ranking is the player’s chances of just making it to the NHL/1998 destination, where he’ll probably be next year.
20 years old
4th round 102nd overall (96)
OHL/Kingston: 55GP 33G 50A +13 24PIMS
Awards: Selected to play in Eastern Conference All-Star team
Named league’s 3rd best defensive forward by OHL coaches Named Most Gentlemanly Player by OHL GMs. Named to Canadian Junior National team. Named to OHL All-Star 3rd team.
Finished 4th on the team in scoring, 16th in the league, which tells you how much offense his team has. He’s surely benefited from this, but his offense has steadily improved over the years. His ability to be the first to the puck helps not only in getting the puck out of the defensive zone, but also in picking up loose rebounds. His defense has always been great. He can be a very good 3rd line guy. Doesn’t have the scoring ability for 1st or 2nd line duty, but would be perfect for 3rd line duty. There are a lot of players who fit that role perfectly, and he can fill that role very well for the Sharks. Read more»