Sharks Top 20 prospects, Fall 2009

By Cory Wilkins

A former powerhouse at the draft table, the San Jose Sharks recently graduated prospects have helped the club climb the NHL standings in recent years. The Sharks have emerged as a contender, and with that comes low picks in the draft and the dealing of picks to upgrade the roster.

Nevertheless, the Sharks remain one of the most keen teams at scouting. The club’s first pick this year came 43rd overall, selecting defenseman William Wrenn, who now ranks eighth among the club’s prospects.

Top 20 at a glance

1. (1) Logan Couture, C – 7.5 C
2. (2) Nick Petrecki, D – 7.5 C
3. (8) Tyson Sexsmith, G – 7.0 C
4. (3) Jamie McGinn, LW – 7.0 C
5. (6) Thomas Greiss, G – 7.0 C
6. (9) Harri Sateri, G – 7.5D
7. (12) Samuel Groulx, D – 6.5 C
8. (NR) William Wrenn, D – 6.0 C
9. (NR) Justin Daniels, C – 6.0 C
10. (7) Mike Moore, D – 7.0 D
11. (4) Derek Joslin, D – 6.5 D
12. (11) Jason Demers, D – 6.5 D
13. (5) Steven Zalewski, C – 6.5 D
14. (NR) Taylor Doherty, D – 6.5 D
15. (10) Alex Stalock, G – 6.5 D
16. (14) Matt Jones, RW – 6.0C
17. (13) Justin Braun, D, 6.5 D
18. (NR) Daniel Rahimi, D, 6.0 D
19. (NR) Patrick White, C, 6.0 D
20. (NR) Drew Daniels, RW, 6.0 D

1. Logan Couture, C, 20
6’0, 195 lbs
Acquired: 1st Round, 9th overall in 2007

The blue chip of the Sharks prospects, Couture has been a quality scorer at the OHL level. Couture is another year away from being NHL-ready, but an outside chance remains that could make the team out of training camp. With the Ottawa 67’s (OHL), Couture was a consistent offensive threat and saw his two-way game develop. Possessing good hockey sense and strong playmaking skills, Couture has the makings of a top-six forward at the NHL level. Couture possesses a strong ability to contain the puck down low, good defense, but he could continue to work on his skating.

The captain of Ottawa, with 39 goals and 48 assists in 62 games, he ranked ninth in OHL scoring. In the playoffs, Couture added another 10 points in seven games. At the end of last season, Couture joined Worcester in the AHL. In 12 playoff games with Worcester, Couture notched two goals and an assist. Couture is expected to join Worcester full time next season and will be among a group of players on the call-up list for San Jose.

2. Nick Petrecki, D, 20
6’3, 215 lbs
Acquired: 1st Round, 28th overall in 2007

Dubbed a complete package, Petrecki is likely still another year away from being NHL-ready, but there is no denying his skill. A big, physical defenseman, Petrecki delivers jarring hits. Despite his size, Petrecki is relatively mobile and is strong on his skates. Petrecki has good vision, which allows him to move the puck with a good outlet pass. He also owns a heavy shot from the point.

Scoring only seven points – all assists – last year with Boston College, Petrecki is capable of more offensively. He will be pushed to produce more, as well as reduce his penalty minutes, while also improving his defensive positioning.

3. Tyson Sexsmith, G, 20

6’0, 204 lbs
Acquired: 3rd Round, 97th overall in 2007

The Sharks may have another top-notch netminder in Sexsmith. Highlighted by a Memorial Cup win in 2007, Sexsmith has put up very good numbers for the Vancouver Giants. He holds a WHL record of 26 shutouts. His save percentage was just .898 this season, but in four years with Vancouver, Sexsmith has appeared in 179 games, losing only 35 matches.

A technical goalie who hates to be scored on, Sexsmith never gives up on a play, has a calm demeanor and good positioning in the net. Sexsmith was an invitee by Team Canada to the 2008 World Junior Championship but did not make the team. Questions continue to linger about how Sexsmith will perform when not behind a stacked Vancouver team.

4. Jamie McGinn, LW, 21

5’11, 179 lbs
Acquired: 2nd Round, 36th overall in 2006

With an admirable work ethic, winger McGinn is a high-energy player, though his raw skill could still use more refining. Considering his size, McGinn is very physical.

While he still must improve his consistency, McGinn’s versatility allows him to line up at either wing position. McGinn has yet to meet his offensive upside. Using his body to power past other players, one of McGinn’s greatest strengths is his ability to cycle the puck, which coincides well with his quick release shot and ability to finish. McGinn could stand to improve both his skating and his playmaking skills.

A potential top-six winger at the NHL level, McGinn spent last season with Worcester, scoring 19 goals and 11 assists in 47 games, though he did join the Sharks as well. In 35 games with the big club, McGinn averaged 8:55 ice time, scoring four goals and two assists.

5. Thomas Greiss, G, 23
6’1, 190 lbs
Acquired: 3rd Round, 94th overall in 2004

With the Sharks not re-signing veteran backup goalie Brian Boucher, the team is ready to hand the second string duties to Greiss. Though it is expected that he will only see limited playing time behind incumbent Evgeni Nabokov, Greiss is NHL-ready. A technically sound goalie who is very composed, Greiss owns great athleticism and exceptional flexibility.

Greiss has developed well in the five years since his draft year, and does own the potential to be a No. 1 goalie at the NHL level. He has not yet reached his prime though. A strong, sizable goalie with excellent positioning, Greiss owns good lateral movement, which helps with his rebound control. However, he could use improvement handling the puck.

Coming over from Germany in 2006, Greiss has adjusted well to the North American game. In 57 games last season with Worcester, Greiss notched a 30-24-2 record, a 2.47 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

6. Harri Sateri, G, 19
6’1, 190 lbs
Acquired: 4th Round, 106th overall in 2008

Another goalie, Sateri is a potential dark horse for San Jose. He thrives on seeing a heavy workload and plenty of pucks and, with that, has the ability carry his team and steal games.

A very raw talent with high potential, Sateri plays a strong butterfly style, challenging shooters by playing bigger than his size. Sateri’s strong reflexes allows for quick movement in the crease. Two areas needing improvement are rebound control and puck handling.

In 22 games last year with Tappara (Finland), Sateri owned a losing record of 6-12-3, though his numbers, a 2.30 GAA and .921 save percentage, did not reflect that record. With so many goalies in the Sharks system, Sateri is expected to continue his development in Finland.

7. Samuel Groulx, D, 19
6’1, 183 lbs
Acquired: 4th Round, 92nd overall in 2008

Playing a simple yet effective game, Groulx is a strong two-way defenseman who excels on both special teams. Groulx continues to improve defensively.

A potential bottom-tier defenseman at the NHL level, Groulx continues to build physically, but will also need to improve his decision-making with the puck before he gives himself a legitimate shot at being an NHL-caliber blueliner. Spending the past three seasons with Quebec (QMJHL), Groulx tallied three goals and 22 assists in 61 games last season, ranking third among the team’s defensemen.

8. William Wrenn, D, 18

6’1, 190 lbs
Acquired: 2nd Round, 43rd overall in 2009

The Sharks first pick of the 2009 draft, 43rd overall, Wrenn plays a smart, defensive game. A prototypical stay-at-home defenseman, Wrenn is a strong skater with good mobility, while also providing a strong physical presence. Wrenn is reliable in his own end and is a good leader.

Wrenn’s offensive skills are moderate, scoring six goals and 11 assists through 60 games last season with the U.S. under-18 development team. He will attend the University of Denver.

9. Justin Daniels, C, 20

6’2, 175 lbs
Acquired: 3rd Round, 62nd overall in 2008

A lanky center who would benefit from added size, Justin Daniels showed strong offensive abilities last season with Sioux City (USHL). The next step is translating his offense to a more competitive league.

A quick skater with a long stride, Daniels can play through traffic and has exceptional skill cycling the puck. Owning great physicality and a terrific shot, Daniels could stand to be more selfish with the puck, though his playmaking abilities have developed well. His hockey sense has improved and though he is a long-term project for the Sharks, the potential does exist. Daniels must continue to fill out his frame.

Daniels finished fifth in Sioux City scoring last year, tallying nine goals and 28 assists in 56 games.

10. Mike Moore, D, 24
6’1, 190 lbs
Acquired: Free Agent – April 2008

A free agent signed by San Jose in April 2008, Moore is an underrated defenseman with an ability to deliver huge hits. Playing with poise, the 24-year-old owns a great work ethic, which makes him a very trusted player. Moore’s best chance to make the NHL would be as a rugged presence on the blueline.

Though he plays better without the puck, Moore’s offensive outputs have been exceptional considering his skill. Last season with Worcester, Moore scored five goals and 13 assists in 76 games. Moore owns good acceleration and mobility.

11. Derek Joslin, D, 22

6’1, 210 lbs
Acquired: 5th Round, 149th overall in 2005

A sizable, puck-moving defenseman with strong offensive instincts, Joslin is a reliable power-play quarterback, with a good shot from the point, though he is not flashy. Joslin is a potential top-four defenseman at the NHL level. A sound game allows him to play in all situations. Joslin’s offensive creativity can bring life to a team’s blueline. Joslin makes a good outlet pass.

Still, he needs to improve defensively and he could stand to use his size more. Like many young players, Joslin’s skating is not good enough to stick in the NHL. Joslin continues to develop his strength.

While he is still adjusting to the speed of the NHL game, Joslin did see some playing time this past season with San Jose, though he did not score any points in 12 appearances. With Worcester, Joslin tallied 11 goals and 19 assists in 63 games.

12. Jason Demers, D, 21
6’0, 198 lbs
Acquired: 7th Round, 186th overall in 2008

A late pick by the Sharks, Demers could turn into a gem.

The offensive defenseman had a good first season last year with Worcester, scoring two goals and 31 assists in 78 games, finishing second in scoring among the team’s blueliners.

Drafted by the Sharks in 2008, San Jose had invited Demers to the team’s rookie camp the year prior. They advised him on weaknesses to improve on in his development, and having made the improvements, followed through and drafted him.

13. Steven Zalewski, C, 23

5’11, 189 lbs
Acquired: 5th Round, 153rd overall in 2004

An older prospect who impressed last year in his first year with Worcester after four years in NCAA, Zalewski owns a great work ethic and strong two-way abilities, which allows him to be a noteworthy “grunt work” player.

A potential energy line center at the NHL level, Zalewski scores by going hard to the net with his quick release. Zalewski’s offensive capabilities are limited. Though he is not flashy, Zalewski does all the little things well and excels on special teams. Zalewski is also good in the face-off circle and owns good defensive awareness. His frequency to display a mean streak shows that he is a gritty player who can act as an agitating presence. Though his stride has improved, Zalewski’s skating still lacks strength.

With Worcester last season, Zalewski tallied 13 goals and 26 assists in 75 games.

14. Taylor Doherty, D, 18

6’7, 218 lbs
Acquired: 2nd Round, 57th overall in 2009

A second-round pick by the Sharks at this year’s draft, Doherty is a hulking defenseman who provides an intimidating presence on the blueline. Doherty comes to the rink with a solid work ethic and is a great character player. Modeling his game after Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames, Doherty has strong defensive positioning, ability to play the body and good hockey sense.

Doherty skates well considering his size, but could still use improvement in his overall mobility. He must correct his tendency to get into penalty trouble.

Scoring just 20 points in each of the last two seasons with Kingston (OHL), Doherty’s offensive abilities are limited. He will need a lot of time before he is NHL-ready and is a project player for the Sharks.

15. Alex Stalock, G, 22

6’0, 185 lbs
Acquired: 4th Round, 112th overall in 2005

An athletic butterfly goalie, Stalock is very mobile in his crease, displaying his great flexibility. Stalock is a fiery competitor who plays with intensity and has the ability to carry his team, though he most overcome his consistency issues. Stalock has good puck-handling skills for a goaltender.

With Universty of Minnesota-Duluth last season, Stalock notched a 21-13-8 record in 42 games, alongside a 2.13 GAA, .924 save percentage, and five shutouts. He is not likely to be a starter at the NHL level.

16. Matt Jones, RW, 23

6’4, 200 lbs
Acquired: Free Agent – March 2008

An older prospect still looking to find his game after an injury-riddled season, Jones was inked as a free agent in March 2008. In 46 games last season with Worcester, Jones was limited to just two goals and six assists and looked like a player still troubled after returning from a serious jaw injury. Jones also played two games with the Phoenix Roadrunners (ECHL).

Though he owns the size of a power forward, Jones is a tremendous skater, with added natural goal-scoring ability. Jones has the potential to be a depth player for San Jose.

17. Justin Braun, D, 22

6’1, 180 lbs
Acquired: 7th Round, 201st overall in 2007

Braun is a steady, hard-working defensive defenseman. His greatest ability is his stick handling, able to effectively block passes and close shoot lanes with his great reach. Braun plays with good vision and hockey sense, but needs to further develop his strength and foot speed.

Playing a simple, responsible, and intelligent game, Braun is a solid all-around, bottom-pairing defenseman. Scoring seven goals and 16 assists in 39 games last season with University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Braun’s offensive abilities are moderate, though they could still be enough for the next level.

18. Daniel Rahimi, D, 22

Drafted 2006 3rd Round 82nd overall

Swedish-born Daniel Rahimi stands at 6’3" 213 lbs. He has a common issue for big defensemen — a need to work on skating and mobility. He has also at times been labeled an underachiever. With five points in 41 games, Rahimi is your typical big-bodied stay-at-home defender who plays the game with an edge. He has good international experience playing in two world juniors (2006, 2007) and playing a few seasons in the Swedish Elite League. Rahimi has the size and defensive awareness necessary. However, with so many skilled forwards in the game today, Rahimi will need to work on his skating before that happens.

19. Patrick White, C, 20
Drafted 2007 1st Round 25th overall

Time is running out for White, whose production has been a disappointment. White spent the last two seasons with the Univ. of Minnesota Golden Gophers and while he improved upon his freshman totals (10 points in 45 games), 16 points (seven goals) is still less than expected for a former first-round pick. He has been encouraged to shoot more and to become more confident with the puck. White must do more if he hopes for a contract when he’s done with college.

20. Drew Daniels, RW, 20

6’2, 175 lbs
Acquired: 7th Round, 194th overall in 2008

A sizable winger with moderate offensive abilities, Drew Daniels has the potential to be a fourth liner at the NHL level. Daniels’ greatest asset is his quick shot. But, the winger must continue to add bulk to his frame, while his skating could also use improvement. Daniels plays with poise, but needs to improve his ability to carry the puck in traffic.

The twin brother of fellow Sharks prospect Justin Daniels, Drew also spent last season with Sioux City (USHL), tallying nine goals and 19 assists in 53 games.

Missing the cut

Brandon Mashinter, LW, 20

A relentless power forward who drives to the net, Mashinter has improved his offense considerably, his point totals jumping from 20 to 58 over the past season.

Patrik Zackrisson, LW, 22

The only European skater among the Sharks top 20 prospects, Zackrisson is a late-blooming offensive winger. Playing a solid two-way game and owning good hockey sense, Zackrisson has displayed offensive improvement.