The Sharks locked up Ontario Hockey League (OHL) leading scorer Kevin Labanc of the Barrie Colts to an entry level deal this morning. The US-born Labanc was the Sharks 6th round selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft being taken with the 171st overall pick.
With the 2015-16 OHL season still in progress, Labanc has scored 38 times and assisted on another 81 assists. Lebanc’s overall OHL resume has 192 games played with 80 goals and 181 assists for 261 points, all with the Barrie Colts. In his draft year, many were underwhelmed by his 35 points but exploded in his last two seasons eclipsing the 100 point mark in both.
Hockey’s Future has the following to say about Kevin Labanc in their talent analysis:
“Labanc is a shifty forward who is skilled in 5-on-5 play and especially dangerous on the power play. He has strong puck possession skills and an ability to generate offense. His ability to control the puck on the man-advantage is impressive. He has a physical edge to his game to match his offensive skills.”
Personally, this is a guy that I’m very excited about because he is going to be a win-win for this franchise next season he will either make a Chris Tierney like jump to the NHL or he will add to what could be a very impressive San Jose Barracuda lineup. He has great hands and a high hockey IQ that allows him to make some great passes. A big concern last year with his increased production was being on a line with Joseph Blandisi (52 goals, and 62 assists in 2014-15) and Brendan Lemieux, (31st overall pick by the Sabres, 41 goals, 19 assists in 2014-15) but has proven he was not a passenger carrying the load for the Barrie Colts this year. By signing a contract today Labanc is eligible to play for the San Jose Barracuda or ECHL Allen Americans at the conclusion of his OHL season if the Barrie Colts are eliminated from the playoffs.
If you don’t want to take my word for it check out this highlight video.