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A look at the San Jose Barracuda Offense

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Evaluating the offensive prospects down the hall.

San Jose Sharks v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In my previous article, I took a look at the goaltenders as well as some of the defensemen that were the more significant pieces of not only the Barracuda but quite possibly even the Sharks going forward. This time I will do the same with the forward group. I'm not going to include either Timo Meier or Kevin Labanc because at this point because I consider them both graduated. If that changes I’d be happy to discuss either in a future article.

Offense

Nikolay Goldobin: Goldobin can be a frustrating player to watch his play away from the puck can be suspect, to put it mildly, and I could probably list off a tirade of other cliches thrown at Russian players. This year, while not completely consistent, has been far more good than bad. Goldobin was a big part of the Barracuda’s best line to start the year with Kevin Labanc and Rourke Chartier showing off some underrated playmaking skills.

As the season has progressed though Goldobin’s game has become stronger and with the Sharks looking for a player that could stick on a line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski I’m shocked that Goldobin was not given an opportunity when injuries have made room for a call-up. Goldobin is third on the Barracuda in scoring with 10 goals and 20 assists and 20 of his 30 points have been primary points. Another positive for Goldobin is that his points per game average of 0.81 is very respectable.

The only concern I would have with Goldobin is that he is a top-six or bust player with one year left on his deal. If he can’t crack the big club next year he could become a KHL flight risk. This would be a shame to lose a player who seems to be finally figuring it out.

Daniel O’Regan: O’Regan was a guy that had me very curious coming into training camp this year. It is not very common for a player to play their full four years of college and he had the benefit of some high end line mates including Jack Eichel. O’Regan has not disappointed at all and proved he was not a passenger at Boston University.

He has scored 13 goals and added 24 assists to lead the team with 37 points as a rookie. While his rookie status is a little misleading (he’s 23) because he has had more time to develop his game the fact that 30 of his 37 points are primary speaks volumes to the talent level he possesses. If I am Chris Tierney at this point I definitely see O’Regan not only in my rear view mirror but threatening to pass me in the depth chart. O’Regan, along with defender Tim Heed, is one of the most important weapons in Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer’s arsenal.

Adam Helewka: Helewka is a player I that have followed for some time. Helewka has always had a great shot and if Shark fans are looking for a Ryane Clowe replacement I think Helewka might be the closest thing we have currently in the system. In 27 games Helewka has scored nine goals and 15 assists. His shooting percentage of 22.95 is not sustainable, but the way he battles in front of the net and strong deflection play will lend itself to a higher than normal shooting percentage.

Rourke Chartier: Chartier is your prototypical two-way center who could be used as a winger as well. When he made his only appearance for Team Canada on their entry to the IIHF U-20 (World Jr. Championships) in 2015 after being the final cut the year prior he was deployed in a number of different situations by head coach Benoit Groulx. It’s that kind of versatility that makes Chartier such an interesting prospect.

Chartier has scored 9 goals and 11 assists for the Barracuda this year; good for seventh on the team. While he may not be as close as others to being a threat to take an NHL roster spot he seems to play the system employed by Sommer to near perfection, rarely out of position or making obvious mistakes.

Barclay Goodrow: Goodrow is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. This is a player who in my opinion could play in the bottom six of quite a few NHL teams and for whatever reason can’t seem to get the opportunity at the NHL level under head coach Peter DeBoer despite putting up decent numbers in the AHL.

So far this year Goodrow has scored 14 goals and 7 assists for 21 points 18 of which are primary. Unfortunately for Goodrow, he continues to get passed on the depth chart making his road to the NHL in San Jose more narrow every day. While I like Barclay Goodrow I can’t help but see him as a potential trade chip and not much more at this point.

Marcus Sorensen: I was very excited about Sorensen when the Sharks signed him. He looked good in the summer camp and then came into the fall training camp with some decent hype around him. Unfortunately, as the regulars worked their way into the roster he tapered off quite a bit.

He raised some eyebrows after scoring a hat trick in his Barracuda debut before again tapering off. The culprit was simply needing to make an adjustment to the North American ice surface and games against NHL pros. While he has been somewhat inconsistent his work has paid off to the tune of 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points, 19 of which have been primary points. Sorensen is only on a one year deal but I think the Sharks should absolutely re-sign him in the spring/summer and see what further development can bring.

Ryan Carpenter: Carpenter is one of the most tenured players in the AHL squad and I love him for it because before this year the AHL squad has been a barren wasteland of journeymen and prospects that had little chance of panning out. However, Carpenter has always come to the rink and worked hard and even though he is only 26 himself has always been a guy that younger players could look up to.

Before enjoying a well-deserved call up to the Sharks, he scored 8 goals and 12 assists for the Barracuda. I don’t know if there is any long term NHL future for Carpenter at 26 we have probably seen his ceiling and that is a fringe fourth line center. I could see him easily passed on the depth chart by Dan O’Regan or Rourke Chartier down the road.

Nikita Jevpalovs: When the Sharks signed Jevpalovs as an undrafted free agent I was pretty excited to see what he could do with Goldobin after putting up 100 points in his last year of junior hockey. In hindsight, I should have lowered my expectations of a player coming out of ‘The Q’. Jevpalovs had a rough year which saw him even do time on the ECHL’s Allen Americans.

If Julius Bergman was my most improved defenseman this year than Jevpalovs is easily my most improved forward. While his three goals and six assists won’t excite anyone he has done a very good job of adjusting to the pro game this year and has been a useful part of the puzzle. I don’t know if there is any NHL upside here but I thought he was worth an honorable mention for the work he has put in.