I wrote one of these before the season started though with most of the regular season play done or nearly done in the lower ranks of hockey that I would tackle it again before the NHL playoffs are in full swing. I will preface by saying I’m not a scout so my rankings won’t match other lists, however, those lists, hours of watching games and highlights were all considered. My criteria for a prospect are any player with less than 75 NHL games played as of March 28, 2016. Also, I tried to balance ceiling with the odds of the player being a regular NHL-er even if their ceiling is not met. That all being said here are my top 20 Sharks prospects.
Previous Rankings on RSEN
Top Sharks Prospects #15-8
#15) Adam Helewka – Left Wing (4th round 106th overall, 2015)
Previous Rank: 19
Adam Helewka concerned me a little bit when he was returned to the WHL from the San Jose Barracuda as an overage player after three games. This may have been the best thing for the fourth round selection in 2015 as he has been nothing short of great scoring 42 goals and 32 assists between the Spokane Chiefs and the Red Deer Rebels this year. He has been an impact player for the Rebels and as the host city is guaranteed to play in the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament. He is a guy that can be trusted to get his hands dirty and yet plays a pretty decent game and should make an impact upon his return to the Barracuda next season.
#14) Rudolfs Balcers – Left Wing (5th round 142nd overall, 2015)
Previous Rank: 17
Balcers is a rare pick for the San Jose Sharks as he is an elite skater where the Sharks usually draft guys with other talents and try to teach skating during their development with mixed results. Balcers also has a great shot that is likely NHL caliber. My concern with Balcers is that he is playing for the Stavanger Oilers in Norway’s top tier league so it’s hard to predict how his game would adapt to the North American game. Hopefully, the Sharks organization can get him over here sooner rather than later playing against tougher competition.
#13) Noah Rod – Right/Left Wing (2nd round 53rd overall, 2014)
Previous Rank: 16
Noah Rod is a player I have only watched on a limited capacity but I always have liked what I have seen from him. Rod is a player that could be a bottom nine-player under the right circumstances but would not look out of place on the Sharks bottom six at all. At the past years World Junior Championships (U-20) he was by far the best player on the ice for the Swiss team that included the Sharks first round pick Timo Meier. Rods game is better suited to North America than it is Europe as he is a nasty forward who likes to get under players skin but also has some offensive upside. The downside is that Rod appears to be signed in the Swiss League until the end of the 2017-2018 NLA season he does have an NHL out clause though.
Tomas Owen recently wrote about Rod and you can find that article HERE.
#12) Dylan Sadowy – Left Wing (3rd round 81st overall, 2014)
Previous Rank: 13
Dylan Sadowy has given me mixed feelings as a prospect for the San Jose Sharks. He has great leadership skills and carried a large amount of weight of the Saginaw Spirit through his time there before being traded to Barrie. Unfortunately, he also looked invisible in the Team Canada summer camp. Sadowy likely projects to be a good bottom six player who again has some scoring upside and a similar defensive tool set as Chris Tierney. I think that Shark fans will love this kid for his complete package of versatile play and has a mean streak that will remind some of Ryane Clowe. He had 45 goals and 25 assists this past season in the OHL and was +16.
#11) Barclay Goodrow – Right Wing (UFA 2014)
Previous Rank: 11
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Barclay Goodrow who made the list by one game and while his ceiling isn’t super high I think that he is definitely an NHL player even if it’s only in a bottom six role. After starting the season on the disaster that was the Sharks bottom six he was sent down to the AHL Barracuda where he has remained most of the season. Personally, I hope that the Sharks felt he just needed more seasoning rather than being in San Jose Head Coach Peter DeBoer dog house. In 74 NHL games, Goodrow has 4 goals and 11 assists while on the barracuda he currently leads the team in scoring with 17 goals and has added 15 assists.
#10) Michael Brodzinski – Defense (5th Round 141st overall, 2013)
Previous Rank: 14
Brodzinski is a guy who has all the tools to be an impact offensive defenseman in the NHL the question is will he learn to use those tools effectively. He is a good skater with an excellent shot and decent passing skills. He is a bit of a risk taker but seems to be able to recover from his mistakes quickly, while no the biggest player in the system he makes good use of what size he does have. Brodzinski is often compared to Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. He has opted to leave school a year early to make the jump to pro after a season where he scored 8 goals and added 13 assists and was a +8 for the University of Minnesota. Since joining the Barracuda he is already being deployed in a variety of roles.
#9) Kevin Labanc – Right Wing (6th round 171st overall, 2014)
Previous Rank: 15
Kevin Labanc has had a huge breakout year for the Barrie Colts where he would score 39 goals and 88 assists for 127 points winning the OHL scoring title. He can play in all three zones and has above average passing ability. The big knock on Labanc is his skating and that he currently does not play a style of game with the Colts that will translate to the pro level but with his skill set if he puts the work in he could be another late round gem like Joe Pavelski for the Sharks although I don’t think Labanc’s ceiling is quite that high.
#8) Jeremy Roy – Defense (2nd round 31st overall, 2015)
Previous Rank: 4
Jeremy Roy had a rough season after being drafted in the spring of 2015, injuries held him out of the lineup on a couple of occasions the longest of that being since the end of February to the present causing him to miss playoff games thus far. The injury was significant enough that he was even flown out to San Jose to be treated by team doctors. Roy had a decent start to the year though which allowed him to score 6 goals and 34 assists with a -12 rating on a woefully disappointing Phoenix squad. My concern is and the reason for the drop is that while healthy he was starting to lose other players in tight game situations and he lost some power play time. I’m not saying Roy is a bust, but I’m a little more concerned and less excited when he drafted him last spring.