The Sharks have struck gold with Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson the past two seasons and hope to do the same with Marcus Sorensen this season.
In each of the past two seasons, San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson has plucked an unknown forward from Europe who has played a fairly large role with team teal the following year.
It began with Melker Karlsson who stepped right in and played as a winger on the top line alongside Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski by the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
Then, last year saw Joonas Donskoi burst on to the scene as he was arguably the best free-agent signing for Wilson last season, and that’s really saying something considering the additions of Paul Martin and Joel Ward as well.
This year, there’s another forward from Europe whom Wilson hopes can follow a similar path to both Donskoi and Karlsson. The name to keep an eye on is 24-year-old winger Marcus Sorensen from Sweden.
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Sorensen was signed to an entry-level contract by the Sharks back in March after spending the past four seasons with Djurgardens in the Swedish Elite League.
In Sweden, Sorensen didn’t put up huge numbers but he did slowly improve in each season. His point totals rose from 23 to 30 to 32 to 34 points a season ago when he posted 15 goals and 19 assists with a plus-12 rating in 47 games.
Similar to Donskoi, Sorensen was a fourth-round draft pick, seven picks behind Donskoi actually, in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators. He didn’t sign with the Senators and spent time in Europe developing his game.
Here’s a breakdown of Sorensen’s game by Hockey’s Future:
Sorensen is a fast but light forward with strong stick handling and passing skills. He can be overmatched physically in one-on-one situations at times but is willing to go into the hard areas either to retrieve pucks or create scoring chances. He was a dynamic scorer in junior hockey but played more of a two-way game in the SHL. Undisciplined at times early in his career, he has shown much more composure as he has gained experience.
Sorensen was in attendance last week during San Jose’s development camp, and he could be somewhat of an outside contender to make the Sharks.
With Matt Nieto finally agreeing to a new deal though, there will be plenty of competition up front in San Jose during training camp.
Regardless of whether Sorensen makes an impact this year or not, the Sharks are looking to find another impactful player to add to their organization. He obviously possesses the speed to compete in the NHL, but he does need to get stronger.
After seeing the success with Donskoi and Karlsson, it makes sense for Wilson to try and strike gold for the third-straight season.