Tim Heed is just a little too old to be included in our 25 under 25 series, so here’s a bonus dive into the defensive prospect’s NHL potential. Heed is an offensively gifted defender who can skate well and has a big, accurate shot. If he adjusts well to the smaller rink that North American hockey brings, he could be a nice surprise for the Sharks this season.
Heed was originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the fifth round of the 2010 draft and signed with the Sharks during the Western Conference Final. He played with Skellefteå AIK for the past three seasons and piled up 73 points in 135 games. He was converted to a defender from a forward, which might explain his great offensive ability.
The biggest hole in Heed’s game appears to be his defense. From Elite Prospects in 2011:
A former forward, Heed is an an offensive-minded defenseman with a great shot. Excels tremendously on the powerplay thanks to natural playmaking instincts and poise. Skates well with good agility, too. However, he could stand to round out his defensive game.
Given the Sharks bevvy of stay-at-home defenders, it would be nice to add an offensively gifted player to the blue line. Heed’s best bet at making the Sharks will be as an injury replacement, but he’ll have an opportunity to prove himself with the San Jose Barracuda to start his first North American campaign.
Heed has a right-handed shot and as you can see from the video embedded above he is able to get it off relatively quickly and seems to have a knack for picking corners from distance. It’s worth noting that the highlight video, which admittedly is two years old, doesn’t feature any of Heed’s defensive prowess.
Here’s the pretty optimistic report on Heed from The Hockey Writers when the Sharks signed him:
By adding more power to the back end, the Sharks create a more lethal defense that supports their increasingly dominating offense. Heed alone may not carry the team, but his talent combined with that of team member Brent Burns will make San Jose’s blue line an unbreakable force.
Brenden Dillon would likely be a good partner for Heed if the defender makes the team. Dillon is at his best when playing with a mobile partner who doesn’t need to lean on Dillon to single-handedly author zone exits. I know, I could have just said “Not Roman Polak” and been done with it.
Heed may never develop into a shutdown defender, but his offensive upside makes him uniquely valuable to the Sharks. He becomes a restricted free agent following the 2016-17 season and will be an interesting, and exciting, prospect to keep an eye on with the Barracuda.