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: Sarnia Sting defenseman and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy has been a solid defensive presence for Team USA at the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
After dropping a couple of tight, low-scoring encounters to rivals Russia and Canada, Team USA appears to have gotten their offense in gear the past couple of games. The USA has scored 16 times in those two games, against Slovakia and the Czech Republic, while giving up just three goals.
Photo: Though the Columbus Blue Jackets added several important prospects this past off-season, none were more prominent than defenseman Ryan Murray, who was selected second overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Below is the bottom third of the NHL Team Rankings in terms of prospects as voted on by Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Photo: Chris Tierney has been a key defensive forward and a leader at the faceoff dot for the OHL's London Knights in 2012-13. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The San Jose Sharks have six prospects developing at the junior level. While that number is small in comparison to other organizations, it is a case of quality versus quantity for the Sharks. The group consists of three defenders, two centers, and a goalie. All of them could be considered dark horse prospects at their time of acquisition but they continue to develop and surprise.
Photo: San Jose Sharks prospect Tomas Hertl achieved another milestone in his young career with his recent selection to the Czech Republic's top national team (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Two years ago, little was known about Tomáš Hertl, then a 16-year-old center for the junior team of Slavia Prague. That season, he played mostly in the Czech U-20 Extraliga, posting better numbers than Radek Faksa, who was, however, drafted at a higher place at the 2012 NHL Draft. The same year, Hertl had his Czech Extraliga debut, not collecting any points, but at the age of sixteen, surely letting the hockey world notice his name.