Photo: Following another productive season at Boston University, Matt Nieto has mad a strong first impression in his AHL debut with Worcester (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
The San Jose Sharks prospect pool continues to get better and better. The 2012-13 season has been a strong one for development, and while there looks to be a gap in high-end skill after top prospect Tomas Hertl, a number of prospects have really played themselves into the limelight and have shown at times an ability to possibly fill that gap.
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: Left wing Matt Nieto leads a shallow group of winger prospects for the San Jose Sharks. (courtesy of Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI)
The San Jose Sharks have long believed in the philosophy of taking things slow, and letting young players develop to earn the opportunity to play with the big club. Unfortunately for the Sharks in the last five years, there have not been many opportunities earned.
San Jose second-round pick Chris Tierney will be a key centerman for the London Knights during the 2012-13 season. (courtesy of CHL Images)
The San Jose Sharks finished the 2011-12 season with arguably the worst prospect pool in the entire NHL. This has been a familiar trend within the Sharks organization over the past few seasons as they have looked to contend in the Western Conference and have sacrificed some of their future to do so. Despite the lack of top-tier talent, the Sharks’ prospect pipeline has become something of a well-oiled machine; year after year lesser known, unheralded players go in, and well-developed, NHL-ready talent comes out. The Sharks head into the 2012-13 season with a strong batch of relative unknowns, hoping to silence the critics.
Photo: San Jose Sharks winger Tommy Wingels saw his first significant action with the big club in the 2011-12 season (courtesy of Tony Medina/Icon SMI)
The San Jose Sharks have improved the team's organizational depth with the addition of their 2012 NHL Draft selections, but it could take four to five years to see the results. Three of the team's six new draftees have high skill levels at this stage of their development and made this edition of the Sharks' Top 20 list. Newly-drafted Tomas Hertl has replaced Freddie Hamilton as the number one prospect in the San Jose Sharks organization.