Sharks prospect Daniel O’Regan makes his NHL debut tonight against the New Jersey Devils. San Jose selected the Boston University product in the fifth round of the 2012 draft and O’Regan played four years with the Terriers following his selection where he scored at exactly a point-a-game pace.
Now, just 11 games into his professional career, O’Regan gets the call to the NHL. He scored 11 points in 11 games with the Barracuda, five goals and six assists, and will center the fourth line for the Sharks tonight. His wingers are Micheal Haley and Tommy Wingels, so don’t expect O’Regan to get a ton of ice time.
He scored a career-high 50 points in his junior year in Boston while playing with Jack Eichel and didn’t take much of a step back in his senior campaign, piling up 44 points in two fewer games. It’s so early in his professional career that trying to accurately project his potential seems foolhardy, but here’s what Hockey’s Future wrote about him back in 2015:
O’Regan is an undersized but skilled offensive player who is among the better playmakers in the Sharks' system. He has an accurate if not overpowering shot, significant puck skills, and the ability to make control the puck at his top speeds. He plays well under pressure and can thread passes effectively. O'Regan's size will likely be an issue at the pro level but his electric though not reckless style reminds some of players like Tyler Johnson and former BC rival Johnny Gaudreau. He should continue getting stronger and become more defensively aware but his development to this point is encouraging.
O’Regan seems to fit a mold the Sharks like very much: He’s responsible in his own end, possesses offensive upside and while undersized uses his speed to make plays. The Sharks have done pretty well with late draft picks in the past — five players on the roster were drafted by San Jose in the fifth round or later (Joe Pavelski, Wingels, Justin Braun, Kevin Labanc, O’Regan).
The former Terrier will play a line below another Boston University product in Matt Nieto. Nieto, playing on the third line with Mikkel Boedker and Chris Tierney, has been in and out of the lineup this year but may get to spend some ice time with a former teammate tonight.
San Jose likely called up O’Regan, and not a higher rated prospect like Timo Meier, because of his position. Don’t get me wrong, O’Regan’s point total is impressive, but I think his ability as a center is what got him the call up. The Sharks want to keep Patrick Marleau up with the Joes and to do that they need Tierney to center the third line. Apparently San Jose thinks O’Regan gives them a better look at center than Wingels.
Depending on his play, and the severity of Hertl’s injury, O’Regan could stick around for a while. San Jose has a wealth of prospects that could conceivably make the jump to the NHL this year, and O’Regan is the second to get that opportunity. Now we’ll wait and see what he does with it.