Being repeatedly shuffled between the San Jose Sharks and San Jose Barracuda over the last two seasons, former WHL rivals Alexander True and Joachim Blichfeld have been working to prove their worth in the NHL. Each is striving to show the organization that the future of the Sharks includes them. In time, fans will see them join the team full-time and be core members of the Sharks’ foundation for years to come.
There is plenty of fresh talent in San Jose’s system, but the team hasn’t seen much overall success with them yet. Included in that group, True and Blichfeld have both gotten off to something of a slow start with the big club. That said, with more of a steady time in the NHL, both will prove they belong. With a younger core of Sharks rising through the ranks, both will play significant roles in paving the way to success. There is plenty of fresh talent in San Jose’s system, but the team hasn’t seen much success just yet.
Western Hockey League Experience
Both True and Blichfeld arrived to the Sharks organization following time in the WHL.
In 2016-17, fans saw True play his final games with the Seattle Thunderbirds; the season proved to be the best of his career. He helped lift the team to the WHL Championship, in which he scored the game-winning goal in overtime. The win marked the first time the Thunderbirds claimed Ed Chynoweth Cup. Following the league championship, Seattle went on to represent the WHL at the Memorial Cup.
Just two seasons ago, the WHL saw Blichfeld named the Four Broncos Trophy winner as player of the year. In the 2018-19 season, the now 22-year-old forward had the best season of his career with the Portland Winterhawks. He scored 114 points in just 68 games during the season—one of the biggest highlights being when he had back-to-back hat trick games in less than 36 hours. With eight points between the two games, Blichfeld drew some eyes and had some expectations as he joined the Barracuda the following season.
With the Barracuda This Season
As the season stands, both True and Blichfeld are performing as consistent names on the scoresheet for the Barracuda in the AHL.
Through his first 13 games for the Barracuda this season, the 23-year-old True has tallied five goals and seven assists. Meanwhile, Blichfeld currently sits tied for second in the AHL for goals scored with nine through 12 games played. With his three assists, he is a point-per-game player so far this season.
While both are great forwards on their own, something seems to click when they share the ice. Though the team is going through some struggles of their own, Barracuda fans are well aware that great things tend to happen when these two are on a line together.
Short Times in the NHL
True spent the final 12 games of the 2019-20 season with the Sharks. While his four assists may not have impressed the masses, everyone could see the possibilities of what he could bring to the team. This season, the older of the two Danes has appeared in two games with the big club.
Blichfeld has likewise only appeared in two games for the Sharks this season. Unfortunately, his first game saw him receive a two-game suspension on a much-discussed hit on Nathan MacKinnon. Following the two games, he appeared in one more game for the Sharks before being returned to the Barracuda.
True’s 12 games have been the longest stretch either of these two players has had in the NHL. To date, they have only spent one game together in the NHL. The game was on March 3 of this season and happened to be the game mentioned above in which Blichfeld had the controversial hit on MacKinnon. Currently, Blichfeld has yet to register his first NHL point, but it will come.
Sharks Still Searching for Success
If they want to find success in the coming seasons, the Sharks need to take a more extended look at even more of their young guys. While several guys have been called on over the last two seasons, San Jose’s young depth has much more to offer. Once the opportunity is available, they will prove it.
Fans are continually getting tastes of the possibilities of what these younger players can offer. Collectively, they are ready to see the team in teal find consistent success once again. That success may not be that far off. When looking at guys like Mario Ferraro, Noah Gregor, Rūdolfs Balcers, and John Leonard, the Sharks’ future does not seem to be as dull as some seem to believe. Add in the Danish duo, and the future instead looks very bright.
Alex True and Joachim Blichfeld may not be at the top of everyone’s lists, but they will be core pieces in the years to come.
Lizz Child has grown up in the Bay Area and can be found at nearly every Sharks and Barracuda game. You can also see her writing at dubnetwork.ca where she covers the Portland Winterhawks and the US Division of the Western Hockey League. She has also worked for the Sharks 50/50, having the time of her life interacting with fans and over the season. Following multiple teams and multiple leagues, she is always up to talk hockey whenever possible.