San Jose Sharks Learn Much From Development Camp


The San Jose Sharks concluded their Development Camp with the annual Prospects Scrimmage Tuesday, July 12. There were not a lot of surprises from when the camp was previewed over a week ago, but more is known about the status of several prospects.

The Gackle Report was quick to make the point of what we it could might mean for the camp’s top prospect. Timo Meier stood out, scoring his hat trick albeit thanks in part to the fan-friendly officiating and setup. (The game consists of two 25-minute halves and a mandatory overtime that allows for multiple goals.)

That performance capped a strong camp reaffirming his chances of making the roster for the 2016-17 NHL season. Going beyond that into his potential is an article unto itself, but there are plenty of other things worth examining in detail below.

Related Story: Timo Meier Shows Why He's a Top Prospect

In fact, Meier was not the only San Jose prospect to accomplish the hat trick. Both he and Barracuda blue-liner Patrick McNally scored one on a penalty shot, one in regulation play and one in overtime. Maybe that is why they both downplayed the accomplishment.

Still, McNally’s performance was a bit of a surprise. The one-time Vancouver Canucks prospect was hampered by a cheating scandal then knee injury at Harvard and was acquired by San Jose for a seventh-round draft pick. He played in just 35 games for the Barracuda last season.

One game does not elevate a prospect to the top. However, a performance this good does indicate potential.

McNally was a point-per-game player at Harvard. This game should be as he said “a step in the right direction” toward helping him bring a two-way game to the AHL that could get him called up to the Sharks.

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Barracuda coach Roy Sommer declared McNally the best defenseman at camp, but there are at least nine players ahead of him on the blue-line depth chart. In addition to the seven coming off being active for over half of the 2015-16 NHL season (albeit with the New Jersey Devils in the case of David Schlemko), Mirco Mueller and Julius Bergman were not at camp.

That leaves nine players ahead of him. If San Jose needs more than that, a trade probably enters into the equation.

Still, a couple players are likely to be lost over the next year between trades, the expansion draft and free agency. A good performance in the AHL could make breaking in during the 2017-18 NHL season a real possibility for McNally.

Nikolay Goldobin may meet his first-round expectations soon. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Nikolay Goldobin may meet first-round expectations for the San Jose Sharks soon. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Much more importantly, the Sharks got confirmation Nikolay Goldobin is progressing. He has already played at the NHL level but has been downright bad defensively.

Sommers mentioned him as one of the prospects having a strong camp. This is a good sign because he has the speed and secondary scoring San Jose needs. If he can be trusted in his own end, he could earn a spot on the fourth line and time on the second power play unit…maybe leading to a regular role on the second line at some point during the 2016-17 NHL season.

Interestingly, Jeremy Roy was not among those mentioned. Learning that puts him disappointingly outside of the top-10 franchise defensemen.

Highly valued out of last year’s draft, the Sharks gave up quite a bit to move up a few spots because of his skill level. To make that worthwhile, he needs to develop into a role at the top of the blue-line depth chart.

Making an impression this training camp and during his last junior season that follows means more than the development camp, but it is safe to say more was expected out of him the second time around. He needs to make the roster at some point during the 2017-18 NHL season to be considered on schedule.

Finally, we learned that San Jose has good forward depth in the system. Sommer mentioned four other forwards besides Meier and Goldobin that set themselves apart at camp.

Daniel O’Regan and Colin Blackwell are early in their development, but Doug Wilson has a chance of getting more immediate results from two prospects picked up off the scrap heap. He signed former Ottawa Senators prospect Marcus Sorenson as a free agent in May and made a trade for Maxim Letunov in June.

The Sharks also focused their 2016 NHL Entry Draft on the forward position. Depth like that can be developed into NHL talent that allows older players to be replaced or traded to shore up other areas.