Welcome back to my top ten prospect series.
Last time, we had a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins’ incredibly centre-heavy farm system that included the likes of Calen Addison, Filip Hallander, and Jordy Bellerive. Today, we’re going to go over to California for our last stop in that state, and check out the San Jose Sharks prospect system. Without further ado, let’s dive in and have a look.
1. Ryan Merkley (D, 1st Round, 21st Overall in 2018)
If Ryan Merkley can figure out his defensive game, he has the tools to become a dynamic offensive defenseman at the NHL level. He’s produced at an elite rate at every level he’s played at and he knows how to quarterback a power play. He currently has a combined 42 points in 31 games split between the Guelph Storm and the Peterborough Petes of the OHL.
2. Dylan Gambrell (C, 2nd Round, 60th Overall in 2016)
After three seasons with the University of Denver where he finished above a point-per game, Gambrell was brought to the pros where he’s currently in his first AHL season with the San Jose Barracuda. He has 18 points in 21 games thus far and has also gained five games of NHL experience but has gone pointless in that stretch.
3. Rourke Chartier (C, 5th Round, 149th Overall in 2014)
Chartier has proven for a couple of seasons now that he has no issue producing in the AHL, having currently put up 9 points in 11 games, so his next step is to prove he can play in the NHL and compete there as well. He started the season in the NHL but was held to only one point in 13 games, so he’ll have to wait for his next chance to prove he belongs in the bigs.
4. Ivan Chekhovich (LW, 7th Round, 212nd Overall in 2017)
For a seventh round pick, Chekhovich is looking like a total steal for the Sharks. Though he plays in the QMJHL, he appeared in six AHL games last year and lit it up, putting up nine points in six games. This season, he’s showed no mercy playing for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, with 57 points in 34 games so far. He turns 20 in a couple of days, so it’s hard to believe he won’t be given a full time AHL job next year.
5. Sasha Chmelevski (C, 6th Round, 185th Overall in 2017)
Chmelevski (godspeed to whichever Sharks PR guy is eventually going to have to spell/pronounce that name) is in his fourth and what could be his final OHL season with the Ottawa 67s. He’s on pace for his best season so far, having put up 39 points in 30 games. The American-Ukrainian is currently representing Team USA at the World Juniors where he has three points in three games so far.
6. Alexander True (C, Undrafted, Signed in 2017)
A big centre hailing from Denmark, True has impressed the Sharks brass ever since he put on the teal uniform and could be facing an NHL job sooner rather than later. He’s currently in his second season with the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL, having put up 21 points in 28 games thus far. Another note about True is that he’s the cousin of Winnipeg Jets star Nikolaj Ehlers.
7. Vladislav Kotkov (LW, Undrafted, Signed in 2018)
Kotkov passed through the 2018 NHL Draft without being selected, but the Sharks didn’t waste any time signing him to an entry level deal after his solid rookie QMJHL season. It’s looking like other teams made a big mistake passing him up as he currently has 31 points in 35 games this year. The big Russian forward is having a season and will definitely be given an extra look in Sharks camp heading into next year.
8. Noah Gregor (C, 4th Round, 111th Overall in 2016)
Having played for three different WHL teams, Gregor is currently in what could be his final OHL season playing for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. He has 50 points in 32 games, so it’s hard to believe the Sharks won’t give him a shot at the AHL next season.
9. Maxim Letunov (C, 2nd Round, 52nd Overall in 2014)
Despite being a native of Russia, Letunov is no stranger to North American hockey, having spent his entire playing career in the States. After three seasons with the University of Connecticut, Letunov is in his first AHL season with the San Jose Barracuda, having put up 13 points in 27 games thus far.
10. Jeremy Roy (D, 2nd Round, 31st Overall in 2015)
Despite being a highly touted defensive prospect at the 2015 NHL Draft, Jeremy Roy has not been able to stay healthy by any means. He’s been good this season for the most part, having put up 12 points in his first 24 games with the San Jose Barracuda. If he can avoid injury, Roy could definitely become a solid defenseman in the NHL.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next time where we’ll check out the St. Louis Blues farm system.
stats from eliteprospects.com
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals