San Jose Sharks loaded with goaltenders

By Kyle West
Photo: Standing at 6’8, defenseman Taylor Doherty has been favorably compared to Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers over the past two seasons. (Photo courtesy of Holly Gunning/HF)

San Jose has an abundance of goaltending prospects, with four in headlining the top 20, and also have an unusual number of late round draft picks who have panned out rather well. Seven of their top 20 prospects were drafted in the 6th or 7th round of the draft, including Benn Ferriero who was drafted by Phoenix in the seventh round.

1. (5) Charlie Coyle, C/RW, 7.5 C
Acquired: 1st Round, 28th overall, 2010

Lauded for his size and hands, Charlie Coyle was top of the list for San Jose Shark’s GM Doug Wilson who claimed him with the Sharks first pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. Coyle showed off both those attributes at the World Junior Championships in 2011, finishing as one of the USA’s top scorer with two goals and four assists in six games, tying him with 2009 first rounders Chris Kreider and Kyle Palmieri. Already playing at near ideal NHL size standing 6’2 and a muscular 210 pounds, Coyle has been a leader on and off the ice as a freshman with his hometown Boston University Terriers. A top student at Thayer Prep Academy, Coyle has proven to be coachable and diligent as a student of the game and is a vocal and commanding presence on the top line for the Terriers. His 26 points in 36 games include 19 assists, credit to his playmaking ability, and his strength down low and willingness to battle in front of the net have been a big asset to the Terriers as they look to recapture some of their recent glory. With the Worcester Sharks just a short jaunt along the coast, Coyle may not have to travel far to begin the next phase of his development as a top-six forward. If he continues to dominate within his age group, it will be increasingly difficult to hold him back from the pro ranks in the next year or two.

2 (4) Alex Stalock, G, 7.0 C
Acquired: 4th Round, 112th overall, 2005

The number one goalie in Worcester, Stalock has battled his way upstream against a crowded goalie depth chart to become the heir apparent to whichever Finn is deposed in the Sharks current starting tandem. Appearing as backup in one NHL game this year, Stalock came on in relief during a match in Phoenix and stopped all nine shots he faced to record his first NHL win. Likely the easiest win he will ever record, Stalock has been under duress to a greater degree in the AHL yet has maintained a consistent standard of performance. His numbers are nearly identical to those of his rookie season, a 2.63 goals against average and a .907 save percentage, despite the team being significantly weaker and his win totals dropping from 39 in 61 games to 19 in 41. An aggressive goalie who comes way out to challenge shooters and takes risks handling the puck, Stalock can sometimes get burned by cagey AHL shooters and must rein in his style when making the jump to the NHL. However his confidence and focus are matched by a desire to win and those qualities will ensure that he stays atop the long list of goalie prospects on the Sharks roster.

3. (8) Taylor Doherty, D, 7.0 C
Acquired: 2nd round, 57th Overall, 2009

Named captain of the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL to start the year, Taylor Doherty is a man his teammates look up to. Towering over both benches at 6’8, Doherty was a gangly stay-at-home type with limited offensive potential when drafted. Two years later, Doherty is one of the top scoring defenseman in the OHL. While his skating stride has smoothed out, Doherty has also learned composure with the puck and applied his hockey sense to the offensive zone. The blossoming of a player of his size can only draw comparisons to recent Calder Trophy winner Tyler Myers, a player of similar size and style, and Doherty seems to be on a similar path of development. With 14 goals and 52 points in 64 games Doherty seems set to begin the next phase of his progression with a switch to the pros, perhaps as early as this spring if the playoff schedules of the AHL and OHL align.

4. (2) Thomas Greiss, G, 7.0 C
Acquired: 3rd Round, 94th overall, 2004

The Sharks backup in 2009-10, Thomas Greiss played 16 games for San Jose last year and performed quite well, posting a 7-4 record with a 2.68 goals against average and .912 save percentage. Unable to stick with the Sharks when Finns Antero Nittymaki and Antii Niemi were signed as free agents in the off season, Greiss was assigned to the Swedish Elite League with Brynas to start the year. A good positional goaltender with great anticipation, Greiss exhibited a quick glove hand and decent puck-handling skills and made it apparent to most that he has the ability to play in the NHL. Unfortunately for him, Greiss is stuck behind the deepest goalie depth chart in the league. A free agent at the end of the year, he seems certain to move on in search of regular playing time.

5. (12) Benn Ferriero, C, 7.0 C
Acquired: Free agent, 2009

One of many seventh round picks in the Sharks top prospects list, Benn Ferriro was drafted in 2006 by Phoenix and signed by San Jose in 2009 after he failed to come to terms with the Coyotes. Ferriero won a spot on the opening night roster last year with a terrific training camp and played 22 games before being sent to Worcester for further seasoning. The center from Boston fired home 19 goals and 50 points in 58 matches at the AHL level last season and a further 26 points in 30 games with Worcester this year. Ferreiro has 56 NHL games to date, scoring seven goals and 14 points, and has brought energy and persistence on the forecheck when he takes to the ice. His motor makes him an important part of the Sharks third line and he has shown enough to be considered a regular NHLer as early as next season.

6. (6) Nick Petrecki, D, 7.0 D
Acquired: 1st Round, 28th overall, 2007

The big blueliner made a name for himself in two years with Boston College as a defenseman who stepped up when his team needed him. A rugged physical player, Petrecki takes care of his own end first but scored some memorable goals for the Eagles, including an overtime winner in the 2008 Beanpot final against Harvard and the winner over Miami in the Frozen Four. Now in his second season at the AHL level the first-rounder struggled in his first taste of pro hockey and was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Struggling with his defensive assignments at times, Petrecki’s lack of foot speed was exposed by the faster players at the pro level as well. While his strong physical play is valued and his team-first work ethic is unquestioned, Petrecki needs to improve his skating and decision-making before he sees any NHL action.

7. (9) Harri Sateri, G, 7.0 D
Acquired: 4th Round, 106th Overall, 2008

Another top goalie prospect that the Sharks don’t have room for, Sateri has stayed with his native Tampere in Finland this year despite signing an NHL contract last summer. In his fifth season with the Tappara, Sateri hasn’t been backstopping a particularly good team and his stats have suffered in recent years as a result. A vocal confident goalie, sometimes accused of being cocky, Sateri has lightning-quick reflexes however his positioning and fundamentals are sometimes less than perfect. Sharks fans have waited patiently to see the flashy Finn since he was drafted in 2008, yet the crowded crease situation in the San Jose system will need to be cleared up before he can come over to North America

8. (10) Tommy Wingels, C, 7.0 D
Acquired: 6th Round, 177th Overall, 2008

Rookie pro Tommy Wingels made an immediate impression in the AHL as a speedy two-way forward and penalty kill specialist, chipping in 14 goals and 25 points in 55 games. Recalled to the Sharks for five games this season, Wingels saw minimal ice time but has clearly caught the attention of Sharks brass with his smarts and awareness. The type of player every team needs on their checking line, Wingels attention to detail and game focus will be appreciated by his Sharks teammates for years to come. A star with Miami University for three years, Wingels led the RedHawks to two straight Frozen Four appearance. Posting 17 goals and 26 assists in 44 games as a junior, Wingels was named to the CCHA All-Conference Second Team and voted Best Defensive Forward.

9. (16) Marek Viedensky, C/RW, 7.0 D
Acquired: 7th Round, 189th Overall, 2009

The big Slovak is one of the fastest-rising Shark prospects. Viedensky enjoyed an excellent season in the WHL last season, posting a combined 20 goals and 29 assists in 61 games, split between Prince George and Saskatoon. In a full season with the Blades, a top team in the WHL this year, Viedensky has 35 goals and 85 points in 60 games and was named an alternate captain on a team that contains a number of top prospects and strong characters. An efficient, two-way forward Viedensky has the top plus/minus rating on the team and has 10 game-winning goals. Viedensky has added 10 more pounds to his lanky 6’4 frame but still has room to add a few more pounds to his 195lb fighting weight. Viedensky skates fairly well for a big man but he does need to add some quickness to his first step.

10. (18) Justin Braun, D, 6.5 B
Acquired: 7th Round, 201st Overall, 2007

Of all the defenseman called in to cover for the Sharks rash of injuries on the blue line, Justin Braun has perhaps impressed the most. Singled out by Dan Boyle for special praise, Braun has played just under 20 minutes a game on the recent Sharks team and aside from jitters early into his tenure, has held his ground and played well. A former standout with the University of Massachusetts, Braun was a Hockey East All-Star and voted Hockey East’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Joining the Worcester Sharks for the 2010 Calder Cup playoffs, Braun has wasted no time seizing the opportunities given him. A solidly built 6’2 and 205 lbs, Braun is a very smart and aware defender who gets good position on attackers and uses a strong skating technique to cover the ice. Looking like another astute pick in the seventh round, Braun is going to push hard for a regular spot regardless of the Sharks injury situation going forward.

11. (11) William Wrenn, D, 6.5 C
Acquired: 2nd Round, 43rd Overall, 2009

A smooth-skater who uses his mobility to deliver ferocious hits, the Alaska born and raised Wrenn punches above his 6’1 and 200 lbs frame. Hampered by a hip injury during his freshman season at the University of Denver, Wrenn switched to the WHL in January of 2011 this year, joining with the league leading Portland Winterhawks. Having played in 26 games with Portland, Wrenn has already outstripped his scoring totals from 31 NCAA games with 2 goals and 10 assists. Never likely to be a high-scoring power play quarterback, Wrenn is a character guy who plays a solid defense-first game. However his awareness and strong skating may yet see him tap into some offensive potential to benefit the Sharks blue line down the road. Seeming to make an effortless adjustment to the WHL, the Sharkes will probably get a good look at how Wrenn plays under pressure during a long playoff run with the Winterhawks.

2. (14) Brandon Mashinter, LW, 6.5 D
Acquired: Free agent, 2009

A power-forward project, Mashinter fired home 22 times in 79 games for the Worcester Sharks in his pro debut after being signed as an undrafted free agent from the Belleville Bulls of the OHL. Applying his impressive 6’3 and 230 lb frame to consistent use in the corners and in front of the net, Mashinter also dropped the gloves with anyone who asked. Having impressed Sharks management with his play, Mashinter was recalled for 11 games in January and although he didn’t record a point, did engage in his first NHL fighting major. Returned to the AHL to work on his speed and defensive game, Mashinter continues to produce regularly with 28 points in 51 games and this free agent signing could prove to be an astute one for the Sharks.

13. (15) Thomas Heemskerk G, 6.5 C
Acquired: Free agent, 2009

Enjoying a run as the undisputed starter for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, Heemskerk has started in all but 13 of the Warriors games this season. A free agent signee from the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips, Heemskerk had platooned with Blackhawks prospect Kent Simpson with Everett before an off-season trade to Moose Jaw. Heemskerk was significantly better with Everett however, placing in the top 5 WHL netminders with a 2.34 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. Getting a chance to test his lateral movement and reflexes nearly every game, Heemskerk has posted a 2.99 goals against average and .906 save percentage, less than impressive numbers in his first year with a full workload. Slated to turn pro next year, Heemskerk is joining one of the deepest goalie depth charts in the NHL and will have to be much better in the pros.

14. (17) Max Gaede, RW, 6.5 D
Acquired: 3rd Round, 88th Overall, 2010

A former linebacker in high school, square-shouldered Max Gaede likes to hit people. A fairly good scorer with decent mobility, Gaede uses his size to his advantage in front of the net as well, scoring five of his eight goals in the USHL this year on the power play. While solid physical play will always be his trademark, Gaede posted impressive stats in his final year of high school hockey and may yet develop into a decent scorer. Gaede is committed to join Minnesota State University in 2011, though there are still rumors that the Sharks may prefer he take his penchant for hurting people to the CHL.

15. (NR) Freddie Hamilton, C/RW, 6.5 D
Acquired: 5th round, 129th overall, 2010

Taking a starring role with his younger brother, 2011 draft-eligible defenseman Dougie, Freddie Hamilton has been a key performer for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL. Scoring 36 goals in 64 games, the elder Hamilton has rarely gone a game without a point. Lining up at center and the wing, Hamilton has 80 points in 64 games and been a key performer at even-strength and on the powerplay. An over-achiever off the ice, Hamilton is a top student and a fitness fanatic. He and his brother are offspring of Olympic athletes, dad was a rower and mom a basketball player, and is as committed and hard-working a prospect as the Sharks could hope to select. A choppy skater who lacks quickness, Hamilton will need to dedicate himself to improving his foot-speed before taking the next steps in his development.

16. (NR) Konrad Abeltshauser, D, 6.5 D
Acquired: 6th round, 163rd overall, 2010

The lanky German defender has continued to progress well despite playing on a very bad team. The Halifax Mooseheads have shown some improvement this year and are currently off the bottom of the QMJHL standings, but they have been mostly dreadful for the duration of Abeltshauser’s tenure. Filling out his 6’5 frame has been the first priority for the German national, who played in all 6 games for Deutschland at the WJCs in 2011, and he has bulked up to near 210lbs this year. One of the top scorers from the blueline with eight goals and 27 points in 57 games, Abeltshauser is composed and confident with the puck and is believed to have untapped offensive potential. Sharks brass will soon have to decide whether another year in the Q will be of more benefit to his development than turning pro and testing himself against tougher opposition.

17. (NR) John McCarthy, LW, 6.0 B
Acquired: 7th Round, 202nd overall, 2006

One of the co-captains of the Boston University team that were NCAA champions in 2009, McCarthy is a hard-working winger who plays a team first game. Strong along the boards, a shot-blocker and penalty-killer, McCarthy is the ideal winger for a checking line and nearly secured a full-time role with the Sharks as such out of training camp. A regular with the Sharks for 36 games this year, McCarthy made the most of limited ice-time as a dirty job specialist on the fourth line. Chipping in a pair of goals, McCarthy was slowed down by injury and assigned to Worcester of the AHL, only to be recalled twice since. A valued teammate and popular with coaches for his unstinting work ethic, McCarthy looks to translate a lunch-bucket approach into a regular spot in the NHL.

18. (NR) J.P. Anderson, G, 6.5 D
Acquired: Free agent, 2010

Undrafted in 2010, Anderson made the most of an invite to training camp with a spectacular showing that convinced the Sharks to offer him a three-year entry level contract. Returned to the Mississauga Majors, Anderson has been an integral part of the OHL’s league-leading team. Invited to the selection camp for the Canadian WJC team, Anderson has risen to the top level of goaltending prospects in the CHL. Recalled to the Sharks when injuries reduced their goaltending complement to none in January, Anderson got a first-hand glimpse of his NHL future. With a staggering 36-10-1 record this year, Anderson has become accustomed being a winning goalie, a tradition that Sharks fans hope he retains when he does turn pro next year.

19. (20) Mike Moore, D, 6.0 C
Acquired: Free Agent, 2008

Sent down after scoring his first NHL goal in Colorado, former Princeton Tiger Mike Moore gave a good account of himself in a six game stint with the Sharks in November. A popular teammate in Worcester for the past few years, Moore isn’t flashy but is a very good defensive defenseman who sticks up for his teammates. A solidly built 6’1 and 200 lbs, Moore exhibited a penchant for big hits in college and hasn’t backed down from the bigger forwards in the pro ranks. A decent skater with good mobility, Moore needs to improve his first pass and prove he can adapt to the quicker pace of the NHL in order to be considered for a bottom pairing role with the Sharks.

20. (19) Frazer McLaren, LW, 5.5 B
Acquired: 7th Round, 203rd Overall, 2007

The heavyweight winger failed to build on his sterling 23 game stint with the Sharks last year, a spell where he scored his first NHL goal and added five assists as well as engaging in some memorable tilts with the likes of Dan Carcillo and Derek Dorsett. Frazer "The Razor" McLaren has not seen the NHL since his nine games in November where he failed to score and left at a minus 1 rating in limited ice time. His numbers in the AHL have declined as well, which is discouraging for a player who is trying to avoid becoming a one-trick pugilist. McLaren’s skating ability is above-average for a 6’5 and 250 lb winger and allows him to at least keep up with the play on the fourth line. McLaren needs a strong end of season push to stay in the prospect ranks and avoid becoming an AHL goon for life.