San Jose Sharks Prospects Start 2016-17 Season

September 27, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks forward Kevin Labanc (62) is congratulated for scoring the game-winning goal in overtime during a preseason hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
September 27, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks forward Kevin Labanc (62) is congratulated for scoring the game-winning goal in overtime during a preseason hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Training camp is underway and many San Jose Sharks prospects are off to a great start to their 2016-17 season. Where should fans follow these players?

While San Jose Sharks fans are focused on training camp, many players in the organization have started their season. The 2016-17 season is off to a great start despite graduating many players to the San Jose Barracuda.

More from Analysis


The impact of players graduating falls hardest on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The absence of Timo Meier, Gabryel Boudreau and Alexis Vanier is also felt. However, San Jose still has a strong prospect pool.

That includes Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald who has started the season on fire. The first thing he did after being sent from Sharks camp was score the game-winning goal in the Cataractes first win of the season. He has since notched another goal and three assists to help the team to a 3-1 start.

Four points in three games is great, but Fitzgerald is an over-age prospect on an entry-level contract. He must continue to produce in this manner to prepare for the Barracuda next season.

The 2016-17 season is a monumental development year for another defenseman, Jeremy Roy. He is slated as one of the top defenseman in junior hockey this year and should make his presence felt in both the QMJHL and the World Junior Tournament in December.

After being traded for a first-round pick this summer, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada are expecting the same. Roy has played in one game so far but is off to a solid start, earning the second star.

While the Armada are starting at 0-3-1, they have outshot their opponents by a significant margin. If they keep playing the way they are, a successful season and lengthy playoff run is in their future.

The QMJHL will be interesting to follow going forward for San Jose. Manuel Wiederer is a player to watch and was recently returned to the Moncton Wildcats.


Along with the QMJHL, the OHL experienced a loss with top scorer Kevin Labanc graduating to San Jose. The only prospect remaining in this league is defenseman Mark Shoemaker of the North Bay Battalion.

Many Sharks fans questioned the selection as Shoemaker’s low point totals aren’t indicative of someone with a long professional career. However, there is still hope Shoemaker discovers his offensive game this season.

That hasn’t happened so far since he has yet to score his first point of the season. Despite that he had a solid showing on Friday as he was on the ice for the Battalion’s only two even-strength goals while not being on the ice for any of the opponent’s goals in a 6-3 loss.

Plus-minus isn’t a great stat to use and it would be great to see Shoemaker’s underlying numbers. However, San Jose can afford time to get his offensive game to come around if he continues his defensive play.


Most of the attention of Sharks fans will be focused to the west this year. Three prospects representing team teal play in the WHL.

Latvian Rudolfs Balcers followed up a solid year for the Stavanger Oilers with a great start for the Kamloops Blazers. With three points in three games, Balcers is producing at a rate required to earn an entry-level contract at the end of the season from San Jose.

However, his only two goals have been on the power play. The Sharks will look for his production at even-strength to spike this year.

Fans are expecting Balcers to produce sooner rather than later. By contrast, Noah Gregor has time to develop his game as the youngest player in the San Jose organization.

His year with the Moose Jaw Warriors started with a letter on his jersey. Gregor has only posted two points in four games but the Warriors are off to a 2-0-1 start. His offensive totals aren’t mind-blowing, but it makes sense to reserve judgment until we find out how much ice time he gets.

Finally we arrive at the red flag of the field, Joachim Blichfeld. He has notched one assist in two contests. However, he is without a roster spot after the return of Vancouver Canucks prospect

Rodrigo Abols.

Blichfeld might need a new team outside of the CHL by the end of the season since the two European slots on the Portland Winterhawks favor Abols and draft-eligible prospect Henri Jokiharju. He could return to Europe or find a home in the USHL. Either way, this situation will be one that San Jose fans should keep an intense eye on.


One of the most interesting prospects to keep an eye on was a player that spurned San Jose to continue his development in Switzerland. After getting off to a great start with six points in eight games for Geneve-Servette HC, Noah Rod was unable to play this weekend due to what looked like a serious fracture.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case and Rod should be fine. Follow him closely once he comes back from injury. He is developing into the two-way monster that the Sharks envisioned when they drafted him.

Thus the 2016-17 season is off to a blazing start. It should only get better as the season goes along.