The Sharks have drafted well in late rounds and have an impressive group between the pipes. The forward ranks took a hit when number one rated prospect Charlie Coyle was dealt in a draft day deal to Minnesota that landed the Sharks Brett Burns. With the team’s success over the past few years, the Sharks have been drafting late, so the system lacks top-end talent, but still has several strong professional prospects. Sadly, tragedy struck when Sharks prospect Daniil Sobchenko was killed along with 43 other people aboard the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team plane that crashed on September 7th in Yaroslavl, Russia.
1. (2) Taylor Doherty, D, 8.0D
Drafted 2nd round, 57th overall 2009 entry draft
Taylor Doherty had a solid season as the Captain of the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. He set career highs in assists and points for a season, and showed the leadership that the Sharks were looking for. His composure with the puck has improved, and he has size drawing comparisons to Tyler Meyers. Skating will always be an issue, but his offensive play has improved beyond expectations. Doherty will join Worcester this coming season. The Sharks will be anxious to see if he can handle the rigors of a professional schedule.
2. (3) Benn Ferriero, C, 6.5B
Signed as a free agent, August 23rd, 2009
What a year for the former seventh round pick. Ferriero was on the Sharks opening night roster and scored his first NHL goal versus Anaheim on October 3rd. He was sent back to the farm and ended up with 33 points in 46. He played 33 games with the big club, and had five goals and nine points.
Benn is an excellent penalty killer, but will need to improve his play in his own end at even strength. The Sharks would like to have him fill a bottom-six role and add a little scoring punch to the fourth line.
3. (5) Harri Sateri, G, 7.0C
Drafted 4th round, 106th overall, 2008
Sateri played for a poor Tappara team this season in Finland, but still managed a 2.83 goals against average. The Sharks were excited to bring him to North America where Sateri played in seven games in the AHL putting up a 2.56 goals against average and a save percentage of .918. Accolades aside, finding a spot for him will be challenging in a crowded prospect pool of goaltenders.
Sateri has improved his positioning in net and has fast reflexes, but will need to improve his puck-handling to be NHL ready.
4. (6) Tommy Wingels, C, 7.5D
Drafted 6th round, 177th overall, 2008
After an amazing college career at Miami of Ohio that included two Frozen Four appearances, the speedy Wingels turned professional, and instantly became a fan and locker room favorite. Wingels takes pride in killing penalties, is a detail oriented player, and a film room junkie. He made the Sharks opening night roster and got a five game tryout, but did not get a lot of ice time. Back in the AHL, he put up a 14 goals and 25 points. The future is bright for Wingels, as the Sharks will be looking to shed payroll and he could fit in nicely in the bottom-six and be a regular penalty killer.
5. (NR) Matt Nieto, RW, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 47th overall, 2011
Matt Nieto was the top pick for the Sharks in the 2011 draft. A Southern California native, Nieto already has one year of NCAA hockey under his belt at Boston University where he managed 10 goals and 12 assists.
Nieto will take a bigger role with the Terriers this season and may move into the top six forwards. The Sharks will let him develop for at least one more season and may try to bring him out next spring.
6. (4) Nick Petrecki, D, 7.0C
Drafted 1st round, 29th overall, 2007
Another in a long line of Boston based players, Defenseman Nick Petrecki enjoyed a fine season as a top pairing defenseman in the AHL. A stay-at-home type, Nick is not going to be putting up points, but is the perfect type of player to pair on the top line. Next season will be critical to Petrecki’s development as he ends his entry-level deal, and there will be some openings on the Sharks blue line as some players contracts are up. Time will tell if the former number one pick will be a full time NHL player.
7. (1) Alex Stalock, G, 7.0C
Drafted 4th round, 125th overall, 2005
Stalock is another in a long list of solid goaltenders. He will start his third season with Worcester of the AHL. A smaller, but solid goaltender, Stalock managed to put up a 19 wins, a goals against average of 2.63, and a save percentage of .907 in an injury shortened season.
Stalock will press to be the AHL starter in 2011-12.
8. (9) Justin Braun, D, 7.0C
Drafted 7th round, 201st overall, 2007
This was Braun’s first year as a professional hockey player. The blueliner started the season with Worcester and was getting limited ice time. Injuries moved him up the depth chart on the farm, and his play earned him a call up to San Jose. After an impressive 28 game stint, Justin was sent back down for more seasoning. He finished the AHL season with four goals and nineteen points.
Braun is a power play specialist with NHL size, but will need to improve in the defensive zone. Due to the presence of Dan Boyle and the acquisition of power play quarterback Brett Burns, the blueliner will likely start the 2011-12 season in the AHL, playing top-line minutes, but a solid training camp might prevent that.
9. (10) William Wrenn, D, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 43rd overall, 2009
William Wrenn played the 2009-10 season with the University of Denver. This past fall, he decided to leave college hockey and join the powerhouse Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. A stay at home defenseman, Wrenn was an impressive plus-25 despite only playing 29 games.
Wrenn will never be mistaken as an offensive juggernaut, but is the type of player who can be paired with a top defenseman against other teams’ top lines. Since he already possesses a NHL sized body, the Sharks might let him start the season in the ECHL or AHL. The future is bright for Wrenn.
10. (11) Brandon Mashinter, LW, 6.5C
Signed as a free agent, March 3rd, 2009
Mashinter is a hulking project forward who had a huge 2009 season to the extent that the Sharks offered him a contract. Coming off his second impressive season in the AHL, Mashinter had 14 goals and 96 penalty minutes. The Sharks have been trying to develop Mashinter into a power forward and have liked the results so far. He has no fear, is willing to drop the gloves with anyone, and plays very well in the corners. His skating will need to improve, but he may get a long look in camp and some spot duty in the NHL if injuries occur.
11. (19) Frazer McLaren, LW, 7.0D
Drafted 7th round, 207th overall, 2007
With a large heart and no fear of anyone, McLaren is mostly used as an enforcer and forechecker though he can chip in the occasional goal. He had a nine game cup of coffee early in the 2010-11 season though spent the bulk of the season in Worcester. In the AHL, he managed two goals in forty games, when he was not sitting in the press box. A fast mover up the Sharks prospect list, there is an enforcer spot open on the Sharks roster and Frazier has a chance to make the NHL club with a solid camp.
12. (14) Konrad Abeltshauser, D, 6.5C
Drafted 6th round, 163rd overall, 2010
A very large defenseman, Konrad Abeltshauser has played for Germany in international events four times. He came to North America and landed at Halifax in the Q for the 2009-10 season where he logged big minutes. Abeltshauser had an eight goal, 27 point season, but a minus-35. Despite those numbers, the blueliner affirmed he is a mobile defenseman that can play against the top opposition forwards. He has NHL size and assuming he continues to progress, should find himself in the league in no time. The Sharks recently returned Abeltshauser to the Q for one more season.
13. (7) Marek Viedensky, C, 6.5C
Drafted 7th overall, 189th overall, 2009
Marek is a two-way forward that has recently finished up his second strong season in Saskatoon of the WHL. He finished the season with a combined twenty goals and fifty-nine points. A very talented penalty killer, Viedensky should make his mark as a third line, shutdown center in the NHL who has enough offensive talent to receive spot duty in the top six. He has already signed an entry-level contract with the Sharks so expect Marek to join Worcester this season. With a good camp he might get a look from the NHL club.
14. (NR) Justin Sefton, D, 6.5C
Drafted 3rd round, 89th overall, 2011
Making his debut on the Sharks top-20, Sudbury Wolves defenseman Justin Sefton is a stay at home type that will not be on many score sheets. Forwards around the OHL quickly learned last season Sefton is a nasty player and is tough to play against. He will need to improve his lateral skating and learn to get his booming shot off faster, but he is the type of player every NHL team needs to win.
15. (12) Max Gaede, D, 7.0D
Drafted 3rd round, 89th overall, 2010
Minnesota born Max Gaede spent this past season with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. After spurning several attempts from the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, the defenseman decided to attend Minnesota State University Mankato. Gaede is a power forward that can play either wing. He is very good cycling the puck in the corners and is an excellent passer. Coming off a ten goal season, the Sharks want him to work on his play in the defensive zone and to put on weight. Gaede also get a long look this season by team USA for the World Junior team this winter.
16. (13) Freddie Hamilton, C, 6.5C
Drafted 5th round, 129th overall, 2010
Hamilton has already inked his entry-level deal. He is a very popular Niagara Ice Dog player who is coming off of a season where he set career highs in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. Hamilton possesses a high hockey IQ and should be a two-way forward who can center the top line in a pinch. Coming into this season with a good camp, Hamilton might get a nine game look with the parent club. The Sharks will be patient with their future third line center however.
17. (11) Thomas Heemskerk, G, 6.0C
Signed as a free agent, September 29th, 2009
Heemskerk is what you call a late bloomer. Almost quitting the game in 2008, Heemskerk decided to keep playing and was invited to Sharks rookie camp for a try out. His play was impressive, and the Sharks inked him to an entry-level contract. This past season, Heemskerk played out his junior career with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL posting 36 wins and a goals against average of 2.94. Heemskerk is a classic butterfly style goaltender with a fast glove hand. He is also among the best puck-handlers in the CHL. The Sharks will now need to place Thomas in either the ECHL with Stockton, or send him the Worcester Sharks as a backup.
18. (16) J.P. Anderson, G, 7.0D
Signed as a free agent, September 20th, 2010
After being passed over in the draft, Anderson put together a solid season with Mississauga in the OHL. His season was so solid that the Sharks inked him to a three-year entry-level deal as a free agent. Anderson had a great season leading Mississauga to within one game of the OHL championship. He finished the season with a solid 2.36 goals against average and 38 wins. In the playoffs, that average improved to 2.11. The Sharks will be tempted to have Anderson turn professional, but another year in junior and a run at Canada’s World Junior team might be the better way to go.
19. (NR) Sena Acolatse, D, 6.5D
Signed as a free agent, March 4th, 2010
Born in Haywood, California, Sena is the first Bay Area player ever signed by the Sharks. Acolaste put up a 14 goal season with 56 points, splitting time with Prince George and Saskatoon in the WHL. A solid top pairing defenseman and a power play specialist, Sena will also drop the gloves with anyone. This is a very important time for Sena as the Sharks will decide if he is ready for professional hockey or an over age year in the WHL
20. (NR) Sean Kuraly, C, 6.5D
Drafted 5th round, 133rd overall, 2011
Sean Kuraly is the type of player every team needs to win in the NHL. He is one of the most gifted defensive centers in his draft class. Kuraly put up a 29 point season in the USHL and was a wizard in the faceoff circle. He may be the best penalty killing forward the Sharks have in the system. Kuraly will return to the Indiana Ice for one more season, and then head off to NCAA hockey powerhouse Miami of Ohio. The Sharks will keep a close eye on what they feel is a late round gem of a prospect.
Article was written by Mike Murangi.