Our Top 25 Under 25 countdown begins tomorrow, but the Sharks have 45 players in their system under the age of 25. Only a handful of votes separate the final few spots, so here’s a quick view of the five players who were closest to making it — and who may find themselves in the Top 25 next summer.
Reader Ranking: 30
Staff Ranking: 29
McGrew had a lot riding on this past year. The Sharks drafted him in the sixth round of the 2017 Entry Draft , even though he’d spent his entire draft year and rookie WHL season sidelined with a leg injury. He returned to the Spokane Chiefs, drafted and healthy, and all eyes were on him while teammate Kailer Yamamoto got his first look with the Edmonton Oilers. McGrew made a sizable splash, putting up 38 points in 65 games and tacking on another 6 points in seven playoff games. He’ll be looked to again this year to lead the team and if he can build on his first real season, he could find himself in next year’s rankings.
Reader Ranking: 29
Staff Ranking: 32
The 20-year-old goaltender signed an entry-level contract with the Sharks last summer, following an impressive USHL showing. In 32 games with the Lincoln Stars, Korenar posted a .925 save percentage and a 2.22 goals against average. But that sample size is fairly small and Korenar returned to the Czech Republic for the 2017-18 season, where his numbers were less impressive. Over the last two years, the Sharks have lost several goaltenders, but in particular, losing Troy Grosenick will give Korenar an opportunity with the Barracuda this season. It’s hard to measure goaltenders against skaters, but the key for Korenar to move up in our rankings is more playing time in North America.
Reader Ranking: 28
Staff Ranking: 31
Praplan is a newcomer to the organization, earning an entry-level contract this past March out of the Swiss NLA. The 24-year-old forward put up 39 points (15 goals, 24 assists) in 47 games with the EHC Kloten in 2017-18. He won’t be eligible for next summer’s ranking, but he’ll still be an interesting player to watch with the Barracuda this year, as the organization has been hit or miss with Swiss players in the past. If he impresses, we may see more of him.
Reader Ranking: 27
Staff Ranking: 25
Kyle Wood is a big body (standing at 6-foot-7) and former AHL All-Star who was itching to get his feet wet at the NHL-level with the Coyotes before he was traded to the Sharks for Adam Helewka. In his first AHL season, that path seemed clear after he tallied 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) in 68 games. But less time on the power play, an injury, and losing his former D-partner, resulted in only 19 points in 49 games in 2017-18. Wood has an uphill battle to make the jump to the big club and move up in our rankings.
Reader Ranking: 26
Staff Ranking: 23
Kotkov was a prospects camp invitee that earned an entry-level contract this summer. The Russian forward was passed over in the 2018 Entry Draft after scoring 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in 61 games with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens of the QMJHL. His skating needs some work, but his shooting percentage and hockey IQ seem encouraging. The allure of mystery landed him at 26 in our rankings, but this next year will give us better insight into his NHL potential.
Up next: Who made number 25 on our list?