San Jose Sharks 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship Preview


It’s that time of year again. Time to ignore whatever losing streak the San Jose Sharks are on to focus on another event. Fortunately for us, the World Junior Championships are great enough to make us forget about our mediocre hockey team.

Since the tournament takes place in Helsinki, Finland this year, I won’t expect many people in North America to catch most of this tournament. But if you are able to catch a couple of games, here are the Sharks prospects that will be participating.

Rourke Chartier – Canada

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After being the final cut of last year’s Canadian World Junior team, Rourke Chartier is a candidate to make this year’s team as well. Chartier isn’t a guarantee to crack Canada’s roster but he remains one of the more intriguing prospects in the Sharks organization.

For Chartier, expectations were high after a 2014-15 that almost saw him become a 50-goal scorer for the Kelowna Rockets. Following an appearance in the 2015 Memorial Cup Final, Chartier has been somewhat of a disappointment. His underwhelming season is due to several reasons.

First of all, while PDO regression might not have as big of an effect in the WHL, some regression was expected considering the high shooting percentages he attained in 2014-15. Also, playing with Leon Draisaitl for part of the year will help too. What wasn’t expected for the most part, was the injuries as missing 19 games wasn’t part of Chartier’s plans for 2015-16.

Nonetheless, he is on the cusp of making Team Canada which is an accomplishment by itself. Look for Chartier to star on the bottom two lines.

Noah Rod – Switzerland

A veteran of the Swiss National Team, Noah Rod is a prominent player to watch this year. Since he plays professional hockey in Geneva, Switzerland, Sharks fans don’t receive many updates on him. So while there hasn’t been much hype around Rod, he is becoming one of the best prospects in the Sharks system.

For those unaware of Rod’s game, he is one of the most defensively reliable prospects the Sharks have. He is one of the few prospects who will admit that his focus is improving his offensive skillset.

As a result, Rod has seen an increase in scoring this year notching 11 points in 28 games. This is an encouraging sign since he was already capable of scoring at a point-per-game rate when playing against players his own age. While he is developing well, he is most known for agitating all of Team Canada during an exhibition game last year. If he plays for the Sharks, he will probably fit into a similar role.

Poor Czech Republic.

Timo Meier – Switzerland

We now arrive at the final and most famous Sharks prospect. As a top prospect, Timo Meier is expected to contribute for the Sharks in the near and distant future. If you have never heard of Meier and don’t know his playing style, this will help.

And this.

Also this.

Needless to say, Meier likes to shoot the puck, something that was missing from the Sharks’ prospect pool. He is also averaging over an assist-per-game which helps when you are snake-bitten as much as Meier has been this season. His play this year has quelled some concerns that his production was a result of playing with Nikolaj Ehlers (Ehlers had a similar concern).

Meier’s top statistical comparables are Dave Andreychuk and Shane Doan which will be a huge win for the Sharks if he turns out like either player (imagine if he becomes the next John Tavares). So as the highest Sharks draft pick since Logan Couture, look for Meier to draw the most attention among Sharks prospects at this year’s World Junior tournament. Here is Meier doing some good hockey things.

Next: Sharks Drop Pair Of Games To So Cal Rivals

The Shark’s footprint at this year’s tournament isn’t as big as last year when this happened. But this tournament serves as a microscope for the future of the NHL (unless you’re a Pittsburgh Penguins fan) so expect this year’s edition to live up to the expectations. Look for more coverage from Blades of Teal once the tournament begins on Boxing Day.