Hey Barracuda fans! Nick Nollenberger here. It’s another week, which means it’s time for another blog. The Prospect Showcase was a success, and it gave anyone who tuned in or attended the games a chance to see several players who will contribute with the Barracuda this season.
The showcase also gave us our first glance at the European additions, Radim Simek and Filip Sandberg, who both scored during the four-day three-game event.
Even with the offseason departures of Patrick Marleau and David Schlemko, there still isn’t much room with the big club this season. Camp battles will sort out the confusion, but deserving names will be forced to return to the AHL and continue their development.
Roster clarity on both the Sharks and Barracuda will come into focus over the next couple of weeks so let’s shift our attention to the players that shined during the Prospect Scrimmage.
We can’t begin the conversation without mentioning Rudolfs Balcers. The Sharks fifth round pick in 2015 looks like another late round San Jose gem. After leading all WHL rookies in goals (40) last year, Balcers impressed at the Sharks Development Camp earlier this summer and earned himself an entry level contract, all but guaranteeing a position with the Barracuda this season.
Balcers began the showcase with a hat-trick in San Jose’s 7-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche and added a pair of assists over the two games he played in for a total of three goals, and two assists in two games… not bad.
Another impressive contributor for San Jose on the front end was 2017 draft selection Sasha Chmelevski. The 18-year-old centered the team’s second line and showed off natural offensive instincts for his first time in teal. He’ll return to the Ottawa 67’s (OHL) this year and continue his junior career, but look out for #55 in the near future.
At just five-foot-eight, Filip Sandberg opened eyes as well. The Swedish forward has a knack for finding pockets in the offensive end and took advantage of his chances, scoring San Jose’s only goal in their 7-1 loss on Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. He also displayed grittiness in front of the net, and a desire to outwork his opponents.
Now onto the backend, I thought the defense, despite giving up seven goals to the Ducks, showed off a ton of potential. If Tim Heed makes the Sharks there will be no way of replacing his offensive production from a year ago, so the Barracuda will have to rely on a committee to get it done. Cavan Fitzgerald, Radim Simek, Michael Brodzinski and Nick DeSimone all scored in the showcase, and all showed they could skate, pass, and score.
Sharks training camp opens on Friday, which means we’re ready to roll. Fan fest is set for Sunday, September 24 from 1-7 PM, so I hope to see you all there. Enjoy your week, and we’ll talk to you next Thursday.