With a slew of recent minor-league signings, including today's announcement that the Sharks have inked Micheal Haley, John McCarthy, Bryan Lerg, Patrick McNally and Mark Cundari to two-way deals, the inaugural San Jose Barracuda roster for the 2015-16 AHL season is starting to take shape.
McNally, acquired from Vancouver on the draft floor for a 7th round pick, was signed to a two-year contract and might be the most notable of the bunch as far as future big-league potential is concerned. Once a very promising offensive defenseman prospect in the Canucks system, a cheating scandal he was implicated in at Harvard impacted his team eligibility for a few years before he came back to score 21 points in 21 games as a senior this past season. With a 6'2", 190-pound frame and tons of offensive ability, McNally could potentially push to make the Sharks roster in a year if he can figure out how to play defense at the pro level.
In sum, today's signings and the team's decision to qualify restricted free agents Daniil Tarasov and Aaron Dell (as well as to non-tender Taylor Doherty, Eriah Hayes and Rylan Schwartz) means the first-ever Barracuda squad is starting to take shape as the AHL team moves from Worcester to SAP Center this fall. Here's a rough sketch of what the team looks like at this point, two months prior to Sharks camp:
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Nikolay Goldobin||Bryan Lerg||Joonas Donskoi|
|Daniil Tarasov||Jeremy Langlois||Nikita Jevpalovs|
|Micheal Haley||John McCarthy||Ryan Carpenter|
|Left Defense||Right Defense||Goaltender|
|Karl Stollery||Dylan DeMelo||Troy Grosenick|
|Mark Cundari||Patrick McNally||Aaron Dell|
|Joakim Ryan||Julius Bergman|
Donskoi is coming off a terrific year in Finland and definitely has a good chance to make the Sharks, which could mean Barclay Goodrow gets a full season of AHL experience under his belt in a familiar role alongside Goldobin. Mirco Mueller could (and, I'd argue, should) start the year with the Barracuda if the Sharks opt to add a more experienced defenseman to their NHL team via free agency. There are still some roster spots, particularly up front, that need to be filled over the next few months, one of which could go to RFA forward Chris Crane who starred in the Sharks' ECHL team's championship run this season. With Goldobin and Jevpalovs, who topped 100 points in the QMJHL last year, in the fold and an ultra-mobile blueline the inaugural Barracuda team looks like it could be a fun one to watch.