Danny O’Regan is used to being overlooked. The 23 year old center is among the ranks of players who stand at just 5’9”, including Johnny Gaudreau, Brad Marchand, and Max Domi, to name a few.
It wasn’t all that long ago that players who fell on the smaller end of the spectrum were dismissed entirely based on size. It was thought that smaller players wouldn’t be able to withstand being hit by players who were significantly larger. But as the game has changed, these players have proved that their speed and skill are more of a benefit than their size is a detriment.
Still, it’s a constant process of proving themselves. Danny O’Regan is no exception. He slipped to the Sharks in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2012 entry draft and has since become the AHL’s rookie of the year.
What stands out is O’Regan’s hockey sense. His time with the USDP and Boston University honed his playmaking and hockey IQ into an incredibly effective skill. At BU, he was the leading freshman scorer, was third in scoring in both his sophomore and junior seasons, and was the first BU player since 1998 to score more then 150 career points (154).
Last season, the San Jose Barracuda won both the Pacific Division and Western Conference regular season titles. In 63 games, O’Regan scored 58 points, leading all AHL rookies. In their postseason push that ended in a Western Conference Final loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins, O’Regan added 7 points in 15 games. He was a major piece to the Barracuda’s success.
With the big club, though, he underwhelming. He was called up for three games, with only a single goal, a tip off Vlasic’s shot in a win against Calgary. To his credit, in O’Regan’s first game with the Sharks, he was centering a fourth line with Micheal Haley, who wasn’t exactly known for playmaking or goal scoring. It’s still a little unclear if he can adapt to NHL play
O’Regan will start the season looking to land a roster spot left by the departures of Marleau and Haley, but there are plenty of guys ready to take those spots. O’Regan isn’t done proving himself yet.
Then again, he’s pretty used to that.
Name: Daniel O’Regan
Age (as of 9/9/17): 23
Position: Center/Left Wing
Last Year’s Ranking: 16
2016-17 Team: San Jose Barracuda/San Jose Sharks
Where he’ll (probably) be next year: San Jose Barracuda/San Jose Sharks
What we like
O’Regan is fast, with a hockey IQ that gives him a scoring edge.
What to improve on
His struggles to adapt to the NHL might be fixed with more permanent line mates, but it’s still of concern.
Overtime goals are the best goals, but double overtime goals? Even better.