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Quick Facts: Rudolfs Balcers
With the 142nd overall pick, the Sharks selected left wing Rudolfs Balcers.
The second Latvian the Sharks selected in a row, Balcers decided to forgo playing for Latvia’s HK Riga and compete in Norway for the Stavanger Oilers. As a boy playing amongst men, Balcers more than holds his own. He utilizes his blazing speed and quick shot to create space and time for himself, both as a goal-scorer and a passer.
1. He is the fourth Sharks player to be drafted from Latvia, joining 130th pick Karlis Cukste to double the number of Sharks-drafted Latvians in this draft alone. Previously drafted Latvians were Sandis Ozolinsh (1991) and Victor Ignatjev (1992).
2. With the Stavanger Oilers as their youngest player (most of his teammates were almost a decade older), Balcers scored eight goals and 13 assists in 36 games, along with a +14.
3. The Stavanger Oilers are the class of the GET-ligaen. Not only did they have the best regular season record in 2014-15, they won their fourth straight Norwegian Championship.
4. Not limited to the big club, the then-17 year old Balcers also played for the U18 and U20 Stavanger Oilers teams. He played a single playoff game with the U18 Oilers, but saw far more action with the U20 Oilers. He score six goals and three assists in seven games during the regular season with that club, and tore it up in the playoffs. He scored 14 goals and nine assists in only 12 playoff games with the U20 Stavanger Oilers.
5. Prior to the draft, Rudolf Balcers told Norwegian paper Aftenbladet that the San Jose Sharks had the most interest in him – and he was correct.