The San Jose Sharks will be leaning on Tomas Hertl for his scoring output in 2019 – 2020. Can he continue to produce while taking on a newfound leadership role?
Fans of the Sharks have always been aware of Hertl’s potential but it all came to fruition for the Czech forward during last year’s historic season. Sharing primary minutes at 1C the Sharks 2012 first round pick scored a career high 35 goals tallying 74 total point.
The Sharks inked Tomas Hertl last off-season to a 4-year-deal that carries an AAV of 5,625,000 per. Prior to the 25-year-old’s breakout year for Team Teal in 2018 – 2029 his career high was just 46 points. However his spike in production isn’t all that shocking when it take into consideration the size, speed, and skill Hertl brings to the ice.
Now with a stellar season under his belt on the ice, Hertl’s hoping to bring that level of professionalism off the ice.
After the losing Joe Pavelski via free agency to the Dallas Stars. San Jose got forced to restructure their leadership core replacing their former captain with Logan Couture as the new face of the franchise. Along with this San Jose handed out assistants duties to Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, and Tomas Hertl.
Hertl definitely knows that his responsibilities on this team have changed drastically over the past calendar year. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, caught up with the Czech forward at the NHL’s media day and asked him about his new status as a leader on this team, especially now after losing Pavelski.
More from Analysis
- Norris Trophy odds show Erik Karlsson a step above the rest
- Korenar deserves a chance at the NHL level
- Three ways the Sharks could move Martin Jones
- San Jose Sharks: Three Keys to Defeating the Chicago Blackhawks
- San Jose Sharks Will Need to “Protect the House” on the Road
"“Even in the locker room off the ice, if we’re losing, if we’re not doing great, [Pavelski] was always talking,” Hertl said. “Now it has to be me, [forward Logan Couture] and these guys. I’m going to be the guy and even help the young kids coming. I want to be the guy that shows them around and talk to them. If they’re not doing good, I was there myself, and [Pavelski would] come to me. We have to step up and be better for our team and for the young guys."
This will likely be the case considering the mini overhaul the Sharks underwent up front. A major portion of Team Teal’s roster is in influx and many of these new players will need a veteran presence to turn to during the growing pains they will face while transitioning into a full-fledged NHLer. This makes a skater like Hertl the perfect candidate to take on newly established leadership responsibilities.
Hertl’s gone through a lot during his 6 years with the San Jose Sharks. After bursting onto the scene Hertl had to battle back from an injury that hindered his development for a couple of years. Despite the setbacks Tomas persevered and eventually became one of San Jose most important assets.
Along with this experience, he understands how to transition to not just hockey in North America, but life in general. Hertl’s infectious smile, high energy, and insightful hockey mind make him a perfect voice to amplify as an assistant captain.
Hertl had a huge spike in production last season that corresponded with a bump in ice time and the adding of skaters like Erik Karlsson. It’s tough to tell whether Hertl will be able to repeat that same level of output considering his shooting percentage jumped up a bunch from his career average. However with more scoring opportunities opening up with the loss of Pavelski we could easily witness another 70+ point season from Hertl.
The Sharks will be leaning heavily on Hertl on and off he ice this season. With his newly established role as assistant captain it’s finally time for the hockey world to notice the effect Hertl’s positive attitude has on his surroundings.