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Catching up with San Jose’s prospects

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We check in with the San Jose players not currently in ... you know ... San Jose

2015 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Welcome to another periodical look at the San Jose draftees currently in the Sharks’ system but not with the San Jose Barracuda or the Sharks. If I’ve left anyone out, go ahead and give me a shout and I’ll make sure to add them to the list so they don’t get left out the next time around. I’m going to go through from earliest to latest in terms of draft class — ready? Here we go!

2014

Alexis Vanier, D, Wichita Thunder, ECHL

Though he just turned 21, it’s fair to say the fourth round pick from 2014 is a bit of a long shot to make the Sharks at this point. He has seven points in 32 games in the ECHL and you’d be forgiven if this is the first you’d heard of him since he was drafted by the Sharks back in 2014.

Noah Rod, C, Genève-Servette HC, NLA

Rod is only 20 years old despite being drafted all the way back in 2014. He’s got 14 points in 26 games in his first full pro season and while he’ll likely never be an offensive dynamo he possesses great two-way talent and may start next season with the Barracuda.

2015

Mike Robinson, G, Jr. Blues, NAHL

The 19-year-old goalie is headed to the University of New Hampshire next year but this season has posted a .918 with the Jr. Blues of the NAHL.

Jake Kupsky, G, Union College, NCAA

The seventh-round draft pick is one of a couple netminders taken in the 2015 draft and is in his second year at Union College. The results haven’t been awe inspiring thus far. He has an .875 in four games with a 3.72 goals against average this season.

Marcus Vela, C, Univ. New Hampshire, NCAA

Another seventh-rounder from 2015 and another Shark playing at the University of New Hampshire, Vela has taken a step backwards in his sophomore season. He scored at a 0.43 point per game rate as a freshman at UNH and this year has six points in 19 contests. That being said, his two-way game is strong and at just 19 there’s no reason to worry about such a late round pick.

Adam Parsells, D, Des Moines, USHL

The defender is committed to the University of Wisconsin; that’s the good news. The bad news? He’s not much for scoring and has always had a knack for taking penalties. Parsells averages 0.2 points per game at the USHL level and he’s a longshot to make an impact in the NHL.

Rudolfs Balcers, LW, Kamloops, WHL

Want a guy who can score? Balcers is your winger. He has 46 points in 45 games in his first North American season and despite being drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 draft looks like a player who can make an NHL impact sooner rather than later. Balcers is a player to watch.

Karlis Cukste, D, Quinnipiac, NCAA

The Latvian defender looked phenomenal in World Juniors and despite being a fifth round pick might make a name for himself in the San Jose system. Cukste had 11 points in 23 games for a very good college hockey team this season and might turn into another nifty late round draft pick.

Jeremy Roy, D, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL

After putting up three points in 10 games, Roy went down with a season-ending knee injury in his age-19 season.

2016

Joachim Blichfeld, RW/LW, Portland, WHL

Drafted in the seventh round? Check. Scoring nearly a point per game? Check. Seems like Doug Wilson is onto something here. Blichfeld has 33 points in 35 games with the Winterhawks and if he joins the Barracuda next year could make the team even stronger offensively.

Mark Shoemaker, D, North Bay, OHL

The sixth round draft pick has seen his point totals slide a bit this season, but that hasn’t ever been a major part of his game. That’s not (necessarily) a reason for concern, but Shoemaker is nearing the end of his junior career and is averaging 0.16 points per game in the OHL.

Manuel Wiederer, C, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL

A talented forward gets traded to the Huskies for a playoff push — sound familiar? It should. Timo Meier was traded to Rouyn-Noranda from Halifax last year and now Wiederer has been moved there from Moncton. He’s averaging more than a point in the QMJHL in his career and has 10 points in seven games with the Huskies this season. This is a good change of scenery for the forward.

Noah Gregor, C, Moose Jaw, WHL

In his second year with the Warriors, you’ve got to like what Gregor has done in the scoring department. Heck, Gregor did everything Sharks fans could have asked for in the first year with the Warriors (of course that’s before any of us knew who he was, but that’s besides the point.). Gregor has 52 points in 42 games this season — not bad for the fourth round draft pick.

Dylan Gambrell, C, University of Denver, NCAA

The Sharks’ second rounder (and first pick in the 2016 draft) has 23 points in 21 games. His six goals and 17 assists are a step up in the helper department (he had 30 in 41 games last year) but Gambrell notched 17 goals in 41 games with Denver a season ago.


I’ll get another update going in a month or so to keep you abreast of the Sharks’ prospects moving forward. You’re welcome.