Sharks NCAA prospects update

By Nick Lowman

The San Jose Sharks currently have 13 prospects competing at the collegiate level this season, which include six forwards, two goalies, and five defensemen.

P.J. Fenton, LW

University of Massachusetts
Drafted 2005 5th Round (163rd overall)

Senior forward P.J. Fenton is currently playing in his final year with the Minutemen and serves as one of the team’s assistant captains. The Longmeadow, Massachusetts native has performed very well this season, compiling 20 points in 28 games (6 goals and 14 assists). Fenton earned weekly honors after helping lead his team to the Lightning College Classic Tournament Title, their first-ever mid-season title in program history.

As a dependable two-way player, Fenton, strives on making everyone around him better. His veteran experience helps him see the ice very well and has the ability to adapt to any situation opponents give him. A much-improved skater, the left winger has played a versatile role on special teams and leads the Minutemen with 99 shots on goal.

Tony Lucia, LW

University of Minnesota
Drafted 2005 6th Round (193rd overall)

In his second season at Minnesota, Tony Lucia has been in bit of a rut as of late, but the same can be said to the entire Golden Gophers team. Minnesota has won an abysmal three games since ringing in the New Year (3-4-5). Lucia has appeared in 31 games this season, scoring five goals and adding six assists. At this point in the season, it seems unlikely he’ll surpass last year’s point total of 19 points.

The physical forward is more known for his gritty style of play and has the ability to change the momentum of a game with his high-energy and bone-crushing checks. The biggest attribute Lucia brings to his team is his defensive role. He’s smart with the puck in his own end and does a nice job of killing penalties. On occasion, he’ll contribute offensively by scoring garbage goals.

It’s far too early to predict how far Lucia will go in his career. As a fierce competitor with hockey sense, he is a work in progress. Not a particularly strong skater, he’ll have to work on his lower body strength and improving his puckhandling skills.

John McCarthy, LW

Boston University
Drafted 2006 7th round (202nd overall)

At the start of the 2007-08 season, McCarthy was given opportunities to play a more offensive role. The junior forward hasn’t been able to make the most of those chances as he has only six points in 28 games this year (3 goals and 3 assists). Known for scoring timely goals, his offensive production has not met expectations.

McCarthy is physical player who is difficult to play against, especially along the boards and in corners. His defensive game is good as he does a nice job taking care of his own end and is willing to block shots. Although he’s a very good skater, it seems unlikely he’ll be offered a contract from the Sharks.

Steven Zalewski, C

Clarkson University
Drafted 2004 5th round (153rd overall)

The Golden Knights seemed to have picked up where they had left off a season ago. Led by senior forward Zalewski, Clarkson sits atop of the ECAC and is currently ranked 11th in the nation. The upstate New York native tallied 10 points in his first 10 games this season and helped Clarkson climb to a seventh-place ranking in a national poll. Currently, Zalewski leads the ECAC in goal scoring with 13 and is first on his team in goals with 16. Through 29 games, he’s posted 24 points and has tied last year’s goal total of 16.

Zalewski is a dynamic, two-way center who plays extremely well at both ends of the ice. The senior co-captain has improved his game drastically over his college career, including his skating and strength. As a reliable forward, he doesn’t turn the puck over often and possesses a quick transition game that creates plenty of scoring opportunities.

The Sharks had already put an offer on the table for Zalewski, but the ECAC goal-scoring leader decided to return for his final season at Clarkson. After a successful senior campaign, it’s more than likely he’ll be playing professional hockey next season.

Nick Bonino, C

Boston University
Drafted 2007 6th round (173rd overall)

Bonino is off to an impressive start in his collegiate career. The 6’1, 190-pound freshman has registered 10 goals and 9 assists through 29 games. Although he has put up good offensive numbers, his immaturity as a rookie shows. His -3 rating is third worst on the team.

Bonino has arguably the best hands on the team and has a lightning-quick release. He is a pure goal scorer who plays a puck possession type of game and shields the puck well from defenders. The young center is excellent one on one and will even get his nose dirty from time to time.

It’s far too early to suggest where Bonino will end up. The coaching staff would like to see him improve his game defensively and work on strengthening his foot speed. He has the work ethic and commitment to better his game, but for now, Bonino needs to focus on getting stronger to use his frame to his advantage.

Carter Lee, RW

Lake Superior State University
Drafted 2003 9th round (276th overall)

Since transferring to Lake Superior State University following the 2005-06 season at Northeastern University, Lee has endured a long wait to play his first game as a Laker. He was put on a practice-only status during the 2006-07 season and then missed the first 12 games of the 2007-08 season due to an eligibility issue. Lee played two games for the Lakers before suffering a concussion on a hit from behind in his third game back. Since being cleared to play, Lee has sat out the majority of games. The Lakers have been playing well, giving coach Jim Rogue no need to change the lineup.

In the 12 games Lee has played this season, the right winger has scored a goal and an assist. In all, it’s been a frustrating career for Carter. He has seen limited playing time and has struggled to find any rhythm offensively. For now, he needs to focus on getting back into the lineup and help his team by being more of an offensive threat.

Nick Petrecki, D

Boston College
Drafted 2007 1st round (28th overall)

A first-round selection at the 2007 NHL entry draft, Petrecki is starting to find his way at the college level. He struggled early in the season, taking unnecessary penalties late in games that put his team in a bad situation. As a rookie, struggles can be expected, as part of a learning curve to a new level of hockey. The last several weeks, the 6’3, 215-pound blueliner has started to pay dividends for the Eagles. Recently, he scored the first two goals of his collegiate career in the 56th Beanpot Championship game, including the game winner in overtime. He now has three goals and six assists for the season and is gaining confidence.

A physical force, Petrecki is mentally mature for his age. He possesses the ability to see plays develop and knows when to jump up in the play offensively. The native of Clifton Park, New York is great on his feet and able to outmuscle most opponents in front of the crease. With a bullet of a shot, the freshman is starting to develop into a solid two-way threat.

At age 18, Petrecki is loaded with talent. His performance as a rookie is as expected — a learning experience. And as he continues to make strides at the collegiate level, he’ll need to continue to improve his speed and overall quickness.

Justin Braun, D

University of Massachusetts
Drafted 2007 7th round (201st overall)

After being selected to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team, what is Braun doing for an encore? For starters, the 6’1, 180-pound blueliner has already surpassed last year’s point total through 28 games, netting four goals and 13 assists. His 17 points leads all Umass defensemen in scoring and puts him fourth overall in team scoring.

The sophomore from Vadnais Heights, Minnesota has now become one of the Minutemen’s most reliable defensemen. He’s been given considerable power-play time and will routinely jump into the offensive attack. With accurate shooting skills, he can score from the point. Defensively, he reads plays very well and makes the all-important first pass out of the zone look easy.

Braun has tremendous upside and continues to develop. He still needs to work on changing directions and sticking with some of the faster players in the league, but that will come with experience. He has made a huge impact in the nation’s premiere college hockey conference and should be on a path to a good pro career.

Brian O’Hanley, D

Boston College
Drafted 2003 9th round (267th overall)

The senior defenseman is currently serving an indefinite suspension for violating team rules. O’Hanley played in the first game of the year and hasn’t been in the lineup since. He registered an assist in the only game he played in.

An offensive defenseman, O’Hanley is a power-play specialist who has a hard shot with a quick release. He has the ability to pick the puck off the boards with the ability to make good outlet passes. The suspension has hurt O’Hanley greatly as he’s lost the entire season.

Christian Jensen, D

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Drafted 2004 9th round (289th overall)

Jensen is playing in his second year for the Engineers. To date, he’s recorded two goals and five assists in 25 games, besting last year’s totals. He’s currently third in points among team defensemen and has posted a solid +2 rating on a sub-par team.

Jensen uses his size very effectively in front of the crease as well as in the corners. Big and mobile, he is almost always in the right spot defensively. His awareness on the ice is impressive and helps with RPI’s transition style of game.

At this point in Jensen’s career, he is far from being offered a contract. His acceleration is a concern for competing at the next level. 

David MacDonald, D

Harvard University
Drafted 2004 7th round (225th overall)

At 6’4 and 235 pounds, MacDonald is the largest player on the Crimson’s roster. Known more for using his frame to deliver big hits, the blueliner plays a physical style of game and can be a real sparkplug for his team. Beyond tallying just a goal and three assists thus far, the co-captain’s smart play and leadership have helped the younger players adjust to college hockey.

MacDonald is very intelligent in his own zone and rarely ever turns the puck over. He is very efficient at directing traffic in front of his crease, making sure that his goaltender has the best chance to stop the puck. His size and physical tenacity makes him one of the toughest players to play against.

The native from Halifax, Nova Scotia is a long shot for the NHL. Though big and strong, he lacks speed.

Alex Stalock, G

University of Minnesota Duluth
Drafted 2005 4th round (112th overall)

Entering his second year with the Bulldogs, Stalock’s numbers have greatly improved since his rookie season. The sophomore from St. Paul, Minnesota has started all but one game this season, posting a 12-10-6 record, with a 2.20 GAA, .918 save percentage and three shutouts.

Out of the six goaltending prospects for the Sharks, Stalock is considered to be the best puckhandler. The sophomore goaltender has two assists this season due to his ability to make the long accurate breakout pass to catch opponents sleeping. Defensively, Stalock possess an unusual style to make saves. He has tendency at times, to make saves along the ice with his glove rather than his pads.

With a few more years of developing his game, Stalock has the potential to be a top-notch goaltender at the collegiate level. His continuous improvement and focus between the posts will help him prepare for possibly a career after school.

Derek MacIntyre, G

Ferris State University
Drafted 2004 8th round (234th overall)

After posting a 7-3 record and being named CCHA Player of the Month for February 2007 of last season, it has been huge disappointment this season for MacIntyre. The senior from Stanwood, Michigan has only gotten the starting nod in goal once so far this season, which came in a 4-1 loss to Union on Oct. 13. MacIntyre is now third on the depth chart behind Mitch O’Keefe and Pat Nagle.

MacIntyre is a butterfly goalie with good reflexes and good lateral movement. The downside to MacIntyre’s game is that he plays deep in his net, often giving shooters more net to shoot at. He needs to work on challenging shooters more often and improve on controlling rebounds as he has a tendency to give up second and third chances in front of the net. With the Sharks already having a strong crop of goalie prospects, it seems very doubtful the Sharks will offer him a contract.