Top 25 Sharks Under 25: Honorable Mentions
Five players almost made the cut.
The results are in, and we’re going to be taking a lot at who you — the Fear The Fin readers — have decided are the San Jose Sharks’ top 25 prospects under 25 years old.
Usually we’re thinking about prospect rankings immediately post-draft, high on the potential of players. This winter ranking has seen a difference in results, as we’ve spent half of the season with these players. As such, we’re seeing some bias toward the many rookies that have been called up to the big club this season, while last summer’s draft isn’t immediately on the brain, resulting in fewer of those players.
Before we dive into the deep end on the top 25 players, here’s a look at the five players who just barely missed out on making our ranking.
30. Mike Robinson, G
The unsigned 24-year-old University of New Hampshire goaltender goes largely forgotten among Sharks’ goaltending prospects and it’s no mystery why. The unknown netminder was drafted in the third round of the 2015 NHL draft out of the US High School Prep league, a risk that appeared to be paying off by Robinson’s sophomore season with New Hampshire in 2018-19. In 31 games, he posted a .915 save percentage, 2.48 goals-against average, five shut outs and a 11-12-8 record. He’s struggled in the three seasons since — which admittedly haven’t exactly been regular seasons, so there’s some grace involved — and the NHL seems further and further away each passing year. It’s possible he earns an AHL contract at the end of this collegiate season, but don’t hold your breath.
29. Alexei Melnichuk, G
Ranking goaltenders among skaters is always a fool’s errand, but 23-year-old Melnichuk has been somewhere in the conversation since signing with the Sharks as an undrafted free agent in May 2020. However, his impressive play in the Russian men’s hockey system has yet to translate into impressive numbers in North America. Again, it’s not as though he’s been playing in usual circumstances, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continue at the AHL level for another season or two. So far, he’s only appeared in three NHL games, posting an .864 save percentage and 5.05 goals-against average in three losses. He’ll become a restricted free agent this summer and still has plenty of time to prove himself — but with the goaltending situation around the league what is it, it’s possible he does so elsewhere.
28. Jonah Gadjovich, LW
Familiarity always plays a part in these rankings and with just 26 total NHL games — 25 coming with San Jose — Gadjovich just doesn’t have the name recognition that other prospects do. The Vancouver Canucks drafted the winger as an over-ager in the second round of the 2017 Draft, after he put up his first point-per-game OHL season with the Owen Sound Attack. In 100 AHL games, Gadjovich totaled 32 goals and 13 assists, winning the Utica Comets’ Most Valuable Player award in 2020-21. When he failed to make the Canucks’ opening night roster in the final year of his entry-level contract, the Sharks picked up the 23-year-old off waivers. He’s tallied two assists so far this season.
27. Sasha Chmelevski, C/RW
Before the team was fully bad enough to pick within the top ten of the draft, players like Chmelevski were all Sharks fans had to get excited about. To their credit, the scouting department in San Jose was top-notch when it came to late-round steals and undrafted talent and Chmelevski’s profile fit the bill. A sixth-round selection in 2017, the Southern California native returned to the Ottawa 67s for two more OHL seasons of 35 goals and more than 75 points each. Unfortunately, since joining the San Jose Barracuda in 2019, the now 22-year-old forward hasn’t exactly lit up the AHL, pushing him further to the fringes than in years past. Still, with 22 points in 33 AHL games this season, he might just be taking the scenic route to the NHL — he was a sixth-round pick, after all.
26. Joachim Blichfeld, RW/LW
Another late-round gem, Blichfeld was snagged in the seventh round of the 2016 out of the Swedish men’s juniors system. The Danish winger transitioned to North America the following season and was four points shy of a point-per-game in his rookie year with the Portland Winterhawks. In three WHL seasons, he totaled a ridiculous 228 points (105 goals, 123 assists) over 187 games. Blichfeld has started to dip his toes in NHL waters, playing three scoreless games in 2019-20, as well as five contests last season, netting one goal and earning a two-game suspension for an illegal cross-check on Nathan Mackinnon. In 104 AHL games, the now 23-year-old has put up 42 goals and 38 assists. There’s still work to be done on his game, but he’ll be pushing for a roster spot next season.