San Jose's 2014 first-round pick Nikolay Goldobin made about as good a first impression as anyone could have hoped for in his preseason debut Tuesday in Stockton. The talented Russian forward scored a beautiful wrap-around goal in addition to setting up a Barclay Goodrow power play marker en route to being named the first star of a 5-2 Sharks win over Vancouver.
Today, the team announced they've signed their top forward prospect to a standard entry-level contract. It was an expected move but where the suspense lies is in whether the 18-year-old can continue his impressive showing in training camp long enough to earn a spot on the opening night roster. With Raffi Torres and James Sheppard both injured, there's certainly a place for a winger who can provide some secondary scoring but Goldobin will have to beat out players far older than him to grab it. Even if it's only for the requisite nine-game stint, after which the Sharks would be able to send Goldobin back to the OHL's Sarnia Sting without burning a full year of this deal, there's a possibility he'll be wearing a Sharks sweater a week and a half from now in Los Angeles.
Regardless of whether Goldobin makes the team this year, he's easily one of the franchise's most exciting prospects ever. His 62 even-strength points last season led all first-time draft-eligible CHLers—more than guys like 2nd overall pick Sam Reinhart, 3rd overall pick Leon Draisaitl and 4th overall pick Sam Bennett—despite playing for the worst team in the OHL. Goldobin's offensive skill is undeniable and the Sharks may have been able to capitalize on a major market inefficiency, a widespread avoidance of Russian players at the draft, in order to land a steal.
The Sharks also confirmed their signing of second round pick Julius Bergman to the entry-level deal CapGeek.com reported back in July as a 3-year, $2.775 million bonus-laden contract. Bergman was cut from camp earlier this week and will begin his first season in North America playing for the London Knights.