Nick DeSimone made an immediate impression when he joined the San Jose Barracuda this spring. The Union College product, who went undrafted, signed a two-year deal with the San Jose Sharks in March, but signed an amateur try-out in the AHL for the remainder of the AHL season.
The defenseman, facing a crowded blueline in the minors, shot up the depth chart at the end of season. He played in only four regular season games, but played in 13 during the Calder Cup Playoffs after earning Head Coach Roy Sommer’s trust. DeSimone’s skating ability ensured a smooth transition to the professional ranks, and his offensive potential was also on full display.
DeSimone scored seven points in 13 postseason games, good enough for fourth among rookie defensemen in the playoffs. That mark was also tied for third among Barracuda rookie skaters, a point shy of leaders Kevin Labanc and Danny O’Regan in two fewer games.
Yet as good as DeSimone looked, it was still only 17 games, which is far from enough to be certain of his development. He was a half-a-point per game player in his last two seasons in the ECAC. The ECAC was arguably the country’s weakest conference, as Rob Vollman calculated them the lowest conversion rate of any conference in Division I college hockey, for instance.
DeSimone is still young and big enough, as well as a good enough skater, where he can be counted on to improve his game. He is close to an ideal combination of size (6-foot-2), skating, and puck-moving ability in the modern game. Maintaining his postseason performance, though, could ensure DeSimone continues to rapidly climb the organization’s depth chart.
Name: Nick DeSimone
Age (as of 9/9/17): 22
Last Year’s Ranking: N/A
2015-16 Team: Union College/San Jose Barracuda
Where he’ll (probably) be next year: San Jose Barracuda
What we like
Blend of size, skating, and puck-moving ability typical of a modern NHL defender
What to improve on
Maintain his postseason level of production
Forgive the camera angle, but this Burns-ian power move to the net absolutely warrants inclusion. If this is how DeSimone can do that without consulting the reigning Norris Trophy winner, I’d love to see what he does after spending some time with him in training camp.