Heed Living Up To Expectations EarlyNov 30, 2016
When the San Jose Sharks signed defenseman Tim Heed to a two-way contract in May, they knew the former Anaheim Ducks draft pick was bringing a winning pedigree to San Jose and a reputation as one of the best players at his position in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
In 2014, Heed won an SHL Championship with current Shark’ Melker Karlsson on Skelleftea and then backed that up the following season with the SHL Defenseman of the Year award after leading all blueliners in goals (10).
Despite all of his success, Heed admitted a couple of years ago he wasn't ready as a person or a player to come over to North America. He needed more time to mature.
Over the last two seasons, the Goteburg, Sweden native accumulated 60 points (18-42-60) in 102 games and a plus-22 rating. Not much was left to be accomplished in the SHL, and therefore the Sharks and Heed agreed mutually there was no better time to make the leap to North America.
“He played a mature game for a good team in Sweden. He accomplished a lot, and he was ready to make the transition,” said Barracuda General Manager Joe Will. "Very much like Karlsson with the Sharks, he's played in a very good system, and he's worked through the kinks in his career, so at this point, the maturity comes through, and it guides him."
Will, who also serves as the San Jose Sharks Assistant General Manager, used Joonas Donksoi as a another example of a player who waited and developed in Europe before he felt he was ready to go.
The transition from Europe to North America always comes with adjustment. Aside from the size of the rink (100 ft. wide in Europe/85 ft. wide in North America), and living on the other side of the world, the North American game tends to have more grit and physicality in front of the net and below the goal lines.
Heed (5-11/175) was impressive in the preseason, but a logjam on the backend for the San Jose Sharks meant the d-man had to continue to develop in the American Hockey League, which he has embraced as a great opportunity.
“It has always been a dream to play in the NHL,” said Heed. “That is what I’m working for everyday, to become a better player and get the chance to prove myself there and it starts with hard work here.”
Through 14 games in the AHL, Heed has been impressive, ranking seventh in the AHL in points among defenseman with 13 (4-9-13) and second on the Barracuda in points. His two game-winning goals are tied for first on the team, and his plus-four rating is the best among Barracuda defenseman.
“We knew there would be a transition coming over from Sweden,” Will said. “He has, kind of, fast-tracked that and we’re very impressed. He gets better every game.”
Heed scored a pair of goals for the Barracuda in a 5-2 win in Ontario on Saturday. It was Heed’s second multi-goal game of the early season.
It is to be determined when Heed will be called up to the Sharks, but it is evident in the early going that the offensively gifted defender has all the upside to be in San Jose’s long-term plans.