Coming off of his rookie season in the NHL, Tomas Hertl saw his fair share of highs and lows throughout the year.
He first started to settle into the limelight after his third career NHL game where he not only scored a hat trick, but managed to get a fourth into the net with a controversial goal he shot between his legs, which caused many around the league to believe he was showing off.
Only two months after this, Hertl was unfortunately injured after a knee-on-knee hit from Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings. He missed the majority of the season, only to return for the last two games of the regular season. He also appeared in the seven post season games against the Kings, bringing him face to face yet again with Brown.
The Sharks mentioned wanting to win the series for Hertl, but unfortunately lost it all in a pretty terrible choke.
Despite the unfortunate injury, Hertl showed his professionalism throughout his rehab process, proving he has what it takes to make it at the NHL level.
“We found out a lot about Tomas when things were going good, but we also found out a lot of things about him when things weren’t so good,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “His commitment to his rehab and to getting back into the lineup was exceptional, his want to play with his teammates in the playoffs. He showed us a lot of real positives through the bad times as much as through the good times last year.”
Now in his second NHL season, Hertl is excited to show the world what he can do while healthy. He attended development camp last week, but after the first couple days he sat out due to soreness in his knee. He also missed the scrimmage for the same reason. Both Hertl and McLellan stated the injury wasn’t serious and was just soreness in the same knee he injured last season. It’s best to be safe and keep everything in order for the start of the season in a mere three months.
Despite being an amazing player, Hertl still has a lot to learn. The 20 year old is being modest about remaining a top player on the Sharks roster and mentioned during development camp that he needs to play well to prevent being sent back to Worcester. I think this is pretty far fetched. Of course players have off years, but I believe that with the new route towards younger players the franchise is going, it would be hard pressed to see Hertl sent back to the AHL. The only way I see this happening is if his injury prevents him from playing the way he did at the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign.
“No one questions his skill level, and if he does those things he’ll set himself up well for a great season,” McLellan said. “If he doesn’t, he’s going to play catch-up. He knows that. He’s been told that and I certainly believe he’s the type that will take advantage of his summer.”
And Hertl has been doing just this. He is playing hard and committing himself to coming back to the season 100 percent healthy. He will return to the Czech Republic and continue working out there prior to returning to San Jose towards the end of August.
It’s safe to say he will have yet another amazing year.