The San Jose Sharks made their best signing before the offseason even got started when they gave Barclay Goodrow his first NHL contract, a move that seemingly flew under the radar throughout the summer. Make no mistake about it, this is a very good player that will have an impact wherever he plays next year. While playing for the North Bay Battalion he lined up as a winger, but it is possible the Sharks may plan to move him to center. After reading the latest roster prediction for the Sharks this year, it seems likely that Goodrow will spend the 2014-2015 season in Worcester. However I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in San Jose playing on the third line for a few games this year. This is a player who has made all the right moves since going undrafted in 2011. For those that want to learn a little bit more about Goodrow I would recommend taking a look at this bio to get a feel for what he’s accomplished so far.
What his bio does NOT tell you is that he was voted the hardest working player and best defensive forward in the 2014 OHL coaches’ poll. Further accolades (courtesy of the San Jose Sharks May 5th, 2014 Prospect report) include being voted the 3rd best shot, 3rd best penalty killer, and 2nd best shootout man in the OHL’s eastern conference. Now all of these are impressive accomplishments in the very deep and talented OHL, but the thing that stands out to me most about Goodrow is his work ethic. How much he has developed as a player and leader attests to his dedication to improve his game to the NHL level. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the reasons Barclay Goodrow will develop into a premier player for the San Jose Sharks in the coming years.
1. Championship Habits
This is obviously the biggest key for any prospect and few players embody what it means to have championship habits more so than Barclay Goodrow. For players that go undrafted, or get picked up in the late rounds of their draft, this is the best attribute to have. There may not be a team in the league that gets more out of their late round or undrafted picks than the San Jose Sharks, and with Larry Robinson being named the head of player development, you can bet that a player like Goodrow will take full advantage of his situation. Goodrow reminds me a lot of a certain Sharks 7th round (205th overall) draft pick named Joe Pavelski, in the way that he has committed to his improvement. And based on what he has done so far, don’t be surprised if he has a similar career path to that of The Big Pavelski.
2. Complete Two-Way game
Goodrow has shown, during his time on the Brampton/North Bay Battalion, that he is a very strong defensive forward and a very impressive penalty killer. By his own admission he considers himself a defense-first type of player, but don’t think that limits his offensive production. Goodrow was the leading scorer for the Battalion last year with 67 pts. (33G, 34A) and a +/- of +18. He also showed up big when it mattered most in the OHL playoffs, posting an impressive 22 pts (12G, 10A) and a +10 in 19 playoff games. If I had to compare his game to that of a current NHL player, it would have to be Jonathan Toews because of his strong two way game. Not to mention his strong play in the postseason when he steps up his game in the clutch to help the team.
3. Size and Strength
At 6’2 and 214lbs. Goodrow is the kind of big body that the Sharks like to have in their centers and wingers. He uses his frame very well on the penalty kill and is able to knock guys off the puck and position himself in scoring areas. Given the way the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been in recent years, a player like Goodrow, with his strength and willingness to get to the dirty areas and score, will prove to be very valuable when the Sharks call his number.
4. Excellent Special Teams Play
This goes along with his strong two-way game. But I’ve decided to put extra focus on Goodrow’s penalty kill and power play game because I believe this is what could earn him a shot in the NHL this year over other prospects like Chris Tierney or Freddie Hamilton. This is really what sets Goodrow apart from a lot of Sharks prospects. He is an excellent penalty killer, an area the Sharks wish to continue to improve and an area that coach Larry Robinson specializes in. He notched 7 shorthanded goals during the OHL regular season last year, and 2 in the playoffs. His ability to turn defense into offense on the PK is something that NHL coaches love to see. His numbers on the power play are solid as well, but he could use more coaching to get himself a spot on the Sharks talented power play unit.
All in all there is a lot to like about Barclay Goodrow as a prospect for the Sharks. I see him as a player the Sharks should look at this season, possibly as a center for the third line. Right now it seems the Sharks plan to have James Sheppard line up as their 3rd line center, but I believe he is too much of a defensive liability to stay in that role. The Sharks need a defensive minded, grinding power forward to center their third line and chip in on the PK, and no player fits the bill better than Goodrow. Chris Tierney would be wasted in that role and would benefit more from playing top line minutes in Worcester. For Goodrow, playing in the NHL would be immensely helpful for him to develop speed, while also playing a defense first role that he feels comfortable in.
Sharks fans should take notice of Goodrow. Wherever he plays this year, I believe he has a bright future in the NHL as long as he continues to strive to improve his game the way he has done the past few years. Goodrow has effectively flown under the radar up to this point in his career, but something tells me that is all about to change for this young player.