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An in-depth look at where Sharks prospects will be playing this season

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two seasons the San Jose Sharks’ prospect pool has seen a large-scale addition of talent and depth. The Sharks now have a considerable number of prospects climbing their way through the minor league ranks.

Forwards moving on up to the professional game

The Sharks’ Major-Junior-heavy 2014 draft class will look to establish themselves in the American Hockey League or ECHL this year. All but one major junior player was signed from that class, and everyone that was signed is now eligible to play in the minor leagues (if they weren’t already). OHL leading scorer Kevin Labanc is having a strong showing in training camp, while goal-scoring-center Rourke Chartier will see extended time in the Barracuda’s middle-six. Gritty forwards Alex Schoenborn and (free agent signing) Jon Martin might bounce around between the AHL and the ECHL.

Timo Meier and Marcus Sorenson have a very real shot at making the Sharks’ NHL roster sometime this year, while Adam Helewka, Colin Blackwell, and Dan O’Regan will round out the incoming group of players moving up to the AHL.

While a large portion of the Sharks’ forward prospects will make the move to professional hockey, two are transitioning from European hockey to Canadian Major Junior hockey. Rudolfs Balcers, who played for Norwegian powerhouse Stavanger last year, was selected in the CHL Import Draft by the Kamloops Blazers. He will suit up for them this fall. 2016 draft pick Joachim Blichfeld, who was a top forward for the Malmo Redhawks’ U20 team, was also selected in the Import Draft. He will play among a deep Portland Winterhawks forward lineup.

Not much movement on the defensive end

While many of the Sharks’ forward prospects are moving on up, most of the defensive prospects are staying at the level they played in last year. Barring any of the Barracuda blue-liners making a surprise jump to the NHL, every prospect defenseman that played for them last year will continue to hone their skills there. Smooth skating defenseman Michael Brodzinski will be playing with the Barracuda or (Allen) Americans this year after completing a successful junior year at the University of Minnesota.

Latvian Karlis Cukste will be playing for Frozen Four finalist Quinnipiac this year. He made the switch to North American ice last year when playing for the USHL’s Chicago Steel. Another member of that Chicago Steel team, Adam Parsells, will be playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers this year. His commitment to the Wisconsin Badgers program has been delayed by one season.

Armalis looks to make an impact

When the Sharks signed Lithuanian model/hockey Mantas Armalis, the hope was for him to take over the reins from (now Sharks backup) Aaron Dell as the Barracuda’s starting goaltender. While an average camp showing means that he will likely split starts with Troy Grosenick, Armalis should start more games as his comfortability with the North American game goes up.

Mike Robinson, who played for the Boston Junior Bruins last year, will be between the pipes for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints this year. While this move to a higher level will be good for him, all signs point towards him being the back up for Dubuque. 2013 draftee Fredrik Bergvik will get plenty of games playing for 3rd tier Swedish side Hanhals IF. The Sharks only hold Bergvik’s NHL rights for one more year.

Here is a full list of where every Sharks prospect will be playing this year
*Bolded indicates a change in teams from last year

Player Name

Position

This Year’s Team (League)

Last Year’s Team (League)

Maxim Letunov

F

Connecticut (NCAA)

Connecticut (NCAA)

Dylan Gambrell

F

Denver (NCAA)

Denver (NCAA)

Noah Rod

F

Geneve-Servette (NLA)

Geneve-Servette (NLA)

Jake Jackson

F

Michigan Tech (NCAA)

Michigan Tech (NCAA)

Marcus Vela

F

New Hampshire (NCAA)

New Hampshire (NCAA)

Colin Blackwell

F

San Jose (AHL)

Harvard (NCAA)

Dan O’Regan

F

San Jose (AHL)

Boston (NCAA)

Nikita Jevpalovs

F

San Jose (AHL)

San Jose (AHL)

Adam Helewka

F

San Jose (AHL)

Red Deer (WHL)

Jon Martin

F

San Jose (AHL)

Swift Current (WHL)

Alex Schoenborn

F

San Jose (AHL)

Portland (WHL)

Rourke Chartier

F

San Jose (AHL)

Kelowna (WHL)

Marcus Sorenson

F

San Jose (NHL/AHL)

Djurgården (SHL)

Nikolai Goldobin

F

San Jose (NHL/AHL)

San Jose (NHL/AHL)

Kevin Labanc

F

San Jose (NHL/AHL)

Barrie (OHL)

Timo Meier

F

San Jose (NHL/AHL)

Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)

Jeremy Roy

D

Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL)

Sherbrooke (QMJHL)

Adam Parsells

D

Des Moines (USHL)

Chicago (USHL)

Cliff Watson

D

Michigan Tech (NCAA)

Michigan Tech (NCAA)

Gage Ausmus

D

North Dakota (NCAA)

North Dakota (NCAA)

Karlis Cukste

D

Quinnipiac (NCAA)

Chicago (USHL)

Patrick McNally

D

San Jose (AHL)

San Jose (AHL)

Joakim Ryan

D

San Jose (AHL)

San Jose (AHL)

Michael Brodzinski

D

San Jose (AHL)

Minnesota (NCAA)

Julius Bergman

D

San Jose (AHL)

San Jose (AHL)

Mirco Mueller

D

San Jose (NHL/AHL)

San Jose (NHL/AHL)

Cavan Fitzgerald

D

Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Mike Robinson

G

Dubuque (USHL)

Boston (USPHL)

Fredrik Bergvik

G

Hanhals (Div 1)

Mora (Allsvenskan)

Mantas Armalis

G

San Jose (AHL)

Djurgården (SHL)

Jake Kupsky

G

Union (NCAA)

Union (NCAA)