A SEASON IN REVIEW: 2019-20 SAN JOSE BARRACUDAMay 13, 2020
The American Hockey League officially announced on May 11th the cancelation of the remainder of the AHL regular season and the Calder Cup Playoffs due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In the end, the Barracuda finished the regular season with 49 points in 55 games (21-27-5-2, .445%, 7th PAC, 15th WC, 31st AHL). 16 different skaters appeared in at least one game with both the Barracuda and Sharks, including eight players who made their NHL debuts in 2019-20.
Coaching Carousel: Following the firing of Sharks’ head coach Pete DeBoer on December 11th, along with assistant coaches Steve Spott, Dave Barr, and goaltending coach Johan Hedberg, the organization immediately announced the corresponding promotion of long-time AHL head coach Roy Sommer to associate head coach with the Sharks. In addition, the organization promoted Bob Boughner to interim head coach and added Mike Ricci as an assistant and Evgeni Nabokov as the club’s goaltending coach. Upon Sommer’s promotion, the Barracuda announced that assistant coaches Jimmy Bonneau and Michael Chiasson would take over as co-coaches. Sommer, the all-time leader in games coached and wins in the history of the American Hockey League (772-664-48-153 – [W-L-T-OTL/SOL]), last was an assistant with the Sharks during 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
A Career Capped: On Dec. 10, 2019, Barracuda captain John McCarthy suffered an Ischemic stroke due to a previously undetected hole in his heart. Following swift medical attention from the team’s medical staff, McCarthy was stabilized and made a complete recovery. With his season over, he elected to hang up the skates instead of attempting to return to action the following year, joining the team’s coaching staff as an assistant on December 27, 2019. A veteran of 11 pro seasons and over 550 AHL games, McCarthy is widely considered one of the most valuable players in Sharks franchise history, guiding countless Sharks’ prospects through the early stages of their pro careers. In addition to skating in 88 NHL games with the Sharks, McCarthy was a member of the United States Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team in 2018 and a 2009 National Champion at Boston University. The Boston native holds all major Barracuda franchise records including games played (275), goals (62), assists (76), points (138), power-play goals (17) and shorthanded goals (5).
Yes, Roy Sommer is wearing a bolo tie on the bench.— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) December 13, 2019
It's kind of his thing. 😂🤠 pic.twitter.com/H2oXFS2gdY
Youth Movement: In 2019-20, the Barracuda boasted the AHL’s youngest roster and most inexperienced roster, averaging just under 23-years-old (22.95) and totaling 3,922 combined games played. To put it into perspective, 19 different NCAA DI programs averaged over 22-years-old last year.
Maxed Out: Second-year pro Maxim Letunov broke out in 2019-20, collecting a team-best 40 points and 28 assists. He also finished tied for second on the team in power-play goals (4) and first in power-play assists (10). On February 4, 2020, Letunov made his NHL debut at Calgary and two nights later he scored his first NHL goal at Edmonton.
Jay-day: In 2019-20, sophomore forward Jayden Halbgewachs put together a breakout season, matching his point totals from the campaign prior in nine fewer games while notching six additional goals. Halbgewachs finished first on the team in goals (19), second in points (35), third in shots (115), tied for first in game-winning goals (4) and first in overtime goals (3).
Blistering Blichy: The Barracuda’s lone AHL All-Star in 2019-20, Joachim Blichfeld stepped onto the pro scene and immediately proved himself to be an impact player. Blichfeld finished the season first on the Barracuda in power-play goals (5), second in points (35), second in goals (16) and fourth in shots (114). Blichfeld also appeared in three games with the Sharks, making his NHL debut on December 12, 2019, against the New York Rangers.
Great Gregs: Rookie forward Noah Gregor split his first pro campaign between the NHL and AHL, scoring his first NHL goal on November 29, 2019, against the LA Kings. In the American League, Gregor collected points in five of his first six games and finished with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 25 contests. With the Sharks, Gregor totaled five points (three goals, two assists) and eight penalty minutes in 28 games.
Go Jonny Go: Barracuda forward Jonny Brodzinski wrapped up the regular season white-hot, collecting points in the team’s final five games (six goals, one assist). In 44 contests with the Barracuda, Brodzinski finished third on the team in goals (14), fourth in points (30), and first in shots (136).
MANny of the Year: The Barracuda’s winner of IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his contributions to the San Jose community during the 2019-20 season, Manny Wiederer, entered 2019-20 with something to prove having torn his ACL the year prior. Wiederer managed to skate in 35 games in 2019-20, totaling 12 points (three points, nine assists). Also, he finished fourth on the team in plus/minus (+6).
El Jefe: In 2019-20, sophomore Jeff Viel surpassed his rookie point, goal and assist totals in 14 fewer games. Viel racked up 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 54 games, finishing fourth on the club in goals, third in assists, tied for fourth in points, and first in insurance goals (3). In addition, his 103 penalty minutes and seven major penalties ranked eighth and tied for fifth in the AHL respectively. The 22-year-old also wore an A as an assistant captain for the team.
Electric Evan: In 2019-20, California native Evan Weinger paced the Barracuda in shorthanded goals (3), points-per-game (9/49 =18.4%) and finished second on the team in plus/minus (+12). In 22 fewer games than his rookie campaign the year prior, Weinger finished just two goals and two points shy of his freshman totals.
The Truth: After leading the Barracuda in 2018-19 in almost all offensive categories, third-year pro Alexander True finally got his first crack at the NHL on February 4, 2020, at Calgary and recorded his first NHL point (assist) on February 6, 2020, at Edmonton. In total, True skated in 12 games with the Sharks, notching four assists, a +1 rating and 12 shots on net. In 40 games in the AHL, True totaled 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists), 14 penalty minutes, one power-play goal, one shorthanded goal and 96 shots on net. In Barracuda franchise history, the Denmark native is second in points (108), second in goals (50), fifth in assists (58), fourth in games played (176).
Terrific Trev: After helping the Charlotte Checkers capture the Calder Cup in June, the Carolina Hurricanes shipped blueliner Trevor Carrick to San Jose in August in exchange for defenseman Kyle Wood. In his first year in teal, the 25-year-old skated in three games with the Sharks and 48 games with the Barracuda. On December 3, 2019, Carrick became the first Barracuda d-man to record a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Bakersfield. The hatty was the first for a Barracuda skater since John McCarthy scored three times in a win against Cleveland on March 9, 2018. Carrick finished 2019-20 tied for fourth among all AHL defensemen with 10 goals. In addition, among Barracuda d-men, Carrick finished first in goals, first in plus/minus (+17), first in penalty minutes (55), first in power-play goals (3), first in shorthanded goals (1), first in shots (108), first in shooting percentage (9.3%), first in first goals (3) and first in game-winners (4).
Need for Speed: In a trade that sent Barclay Goodrow to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sharks received a first-round pick and forward Anthony Greco just before the NHL’s trade deadline. Greco, the AHL’s fastest skater in 2019 at the AHL All-Star Classic, appeared in seven games with the Barracuda after the trade, totaling four points (one goal, three assists) and a pair of PIMs.
Slick Nik: Signed out of development camp as an undrafted free agent, Nikolai Knyzhov recorded just a single assist in his first 27 games in the AHL, but in his final six contests, he collected four points (one goal, three assists), scoring his first AHL goal on February 23 at Ontario. Knyzhov’s late-season play earned the rookie defender his first recall in March, making his NHL debut on March 7th against Ottawa. The 21-year-old skated in three games up top with the Sharks, averaging just over 10 minutes of ice-time per.
Due to health reasons, John McCarthy has announced his retirement. We can’t thank Mac enough for his contributions and we wish the #SJBarracuda all time scoring leader the best of luck as he begins a new chapter as a member of the coaching staff.— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) December 27, 2019
🗞: https://t.co/OBJ3w8fz7e pic.twitter.com/BURA41IfL1
Tommy Gun: After appearing in just 26 games during his rookie season, Thomas Gregoire became a regular in the lineup in 2019-20, dressing in 46 games, totaling 24 points (five goals, 19 assists), 23 penalty minutes, two power-play goals, one game-winning goal and 81 shots, all career highs. Among ‘Cuda defenseman, Gregoire paced the club in points, assists, and points-per-game (.52).
Sizzlin’ Sasha: After missing most of November due to a lower-body injury that was sustained in game-one of the season, Sasha Chmelevski returned to action on November 23, collecting his first goal of the season in his first game back. After that point, he never looked back. Chmelevski had just one three-game stretch after the injury in which he didn’t record a point. In 36 games following his injury, the Huntington Beach native recorded 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) and only Joachim Blichfeld (5) had more power-play goals than Chmelevksi (4), who also finished tied for fifth among all Barracuda skaters in points-per-game (.64).
Bergmann Ballin’: After making the Sharks out of training camp and appearing in six games in the NHL, Lean Bergmann began his AHL career on a tear, recording points in his first four games (three goals, three assists) and five (three goals, five assists) of his first six. After sustaining an injury on New Year’s Eve that left him sidelined for over a month, Bergmann finished his AHL season strong, recording points in four of his final five games (three goals, one assist). In total, the German native appeared in 31 AHL games in 2019-20, collecting 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) and 12 NHL games with the Sharks, totaling on assist.
Killer Kellman: Another Swedish free-agent gem, Joel Kellman began his first pro season in North America with the Barracuda, skating in 25 games before getting his first call up to the NHL in December, quickly proving himself to be a valuable piece for the big club. Kellman recorded nine points (one goal, eight assists) over his first nine AHL games, including a six consecutive games with a point (one goals, seven assists). Kellman would go on to skate in 31 games with the Sharks, totaling seven points (three goals, four assists). Kellman scored his first NHL goal on December 28th against Philadelphia.