While voting is open for Fear the Fin’s annual Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25 series, we’re going to familiarize you with the young players in the Sharks system. Working from the 2014 NHL Draft through the most recent draft, we’ll fill you in on each player’s history with the organization. They’ll be brief — the deep dive will happen with the top 25 players — but hopefully will assist with your voting process.
Right now, we’re looking at the 2015 Draft. After a miserable year, Sharks fans were rewarded with top-six winger Timo Meier and nine total new selections, as Doug Wilson aimed to right the ship quickly. Though the team’s final three selections didn’t pan out, this draft included prospects Rudolph Balcers and Adam Helewka, both of whom were used as trade pieces, and Jeremy Roy, who very well could have been an impact player if not for injuries, which are obviously impossible to predict.
Then there’s Karlis Cukste, drafted in the fourth round. The Sharks relinquished his NHL rights in August, but he’s staying with the organization, signing an AHL contract with the San Jose Barracuda in September. We didn’t include the 23-year-old defender in our rankings, as he’s signed to an AHL contract, but right now he’s more than a point per game player with HK Mogo back home in Lativa. His story might not be over just yet.
Here’s the rest of the 2015 Sharks draft class:
Timo Meier, LW/RW
2019-20 Team: San Jose Sharks (NHL)
NHL Debut: 2016-17
Age: 24 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 216 | Shoots: L
Does Timo Meier need an introduction? If you don’t know about Timo Time, I’m not sure you should be voting on anything Sharks-related right now. Go watch some games from 2018-19, maybe check out the Sharks on YouTube, familiarize yourself a little more. It’s okay, we were all new to this once.
If you aren’t voting Timo as the top young player in the Sharks organization, I will be in the comments, desperate to hear your reasoning.
Nicolas Meloche, D
2019-20 Team: San Jose Barracuda (AHL)
NHL Debut: N/A
Age: 23 | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 205 | Shoots: R
Nicolas Meloche is a bit of a newcomer to the Sharks organization. Drafted in the second round (40 overall) of the 2015 Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, the defender was traded to the Sharks in late September 2019 in exchange for goaltender Antoine Bibeau. The 23-year-old is an ECHL Kelly Cup Champion (2018), as well as a Hlinka Memorial Tournament U18 Gold Medalist (2014).
In 41 games with the San Jose Barracuda last season, Meloche was uninspiring, tallying just seven assists. Though he was once a .66 points per game defender in the QMJHL, he’s also been an undisciplined player who takes significant penalty minutes, and now he doesn’t have the offense to fall back on.
Mike Robinson, G
2019-20 Team: University of New Hampshire (NCAA)
NHL Debut: N/A
Age: 23 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 194 | Catches: L
Goaltender Mike Robinson was a third-round (86 overall) selection by the Sharks in the 2015 draft and he is expected to take his final year of NCAA eligibility with the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcats. He’s had the top goaltending job with the team for the last two seasons, beating out Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Ty Taylor (drafted 2018, 214 overall).
Among the Sharks’ four goaltending prospects under 25, Robinson probably has the most difficult path to the NHL. He deferred his first year with New Hampshire and couldn’t hold down a role in the USHL, spending the season instead in the NAHL as a 20-year-old. He’s grown since joining the University, and the team hasn’t exactly been Hockey East’s best overall team since Robinson took over the crease. His size and technique work to his advantage, but his athleticism is a point of concern.