Doug Wilson, San Jose Shark’s executive vice president and general manager, has built one of the strongest franchises in the NHL since taking over in 2003. He prides his organization on strong drafting and opportune free agent signings. Wilson strives to build his team on drafting and development. A prime example of that is Logan Couture, who came up through the Sharks system, playing with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL, before being called up by San Jose and establishing himself as a star player. Lets take a look at some of the Sharks prospects looking to take the same path Logan did:
Tomas Hertl, Center
The Sharks first round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Hertl is a 6’02” center who plays for Slavia Praha Hockey Club who play in the Czech Extraliga. Hertl had 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points for Slavia Praha during the 2011-12 season.
Freddie Hamilton, Center
Freddie, the older brother of Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton, is a promising young forward in the Sharks organization. The elder Hamilton, a fifth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, showed his ability to put the puck in the net and setup teammates during the 2011-12 season. Last season with the Niagara Icedogs of the OHL, Hamilton compiled 35 goals and 51 assists for 86 points in 61 games played. Hamilton made his professional debut with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL this past weekend and will look to make an impact in Worcester this season.
Matt Nieto, Right Wing
A second round pick of San Jose in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Nieto has been impressive with Boston University of the Hockey East. As a sophomore last season, Nieto posted 16 goals and 26 assists for 42 points in just 37 games.
Matt Tennyson, Defense
Tennyson, a California native, was signed by the Sharks after three impressive seasons at Western Michigan of the CCHA, in which he proved that he can play well offensively and defensively. Tennyson enters his rookie season with the Worcester Sharks looking to make an impact this year.
Travis Oleksuk, Center
Oleksuk was one of the most dynamic offensive players in all of college hockey last season. Skating for Minnesota-Duluth during the 2011-12 campaign, Oleksuk compiled 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points. Oleksuk’s 53 points was good for fourth in all of Division I. He made his professional debut for Worcester this past weekend and will look to make an impact on one of the top two lines for the AHL affiliate of San Jose this season.
Taylor Doherty, Defense
Doherty, a 6’08” 230lb defenseman, definitely has size to his advantage. The 21 year old completed his rookie season last year with the Worcester Sharks, playing in 63 games, assisting on six goals and compiling 76 penalty minutes. Doherty will undergo his sophomore campaign this season with the Worcester Sharks as a mainstay on the blue line.
Tommy Wingels, Center
After splitting time between Worcester and San Jose last season, Wingels has proven that he can be a solid NHL player. Wingels played in 33 games for San Jose last season, notching three goals and six assists for nine points. When the lockout is lifted it should be interesting to see what kind of impact he can have in San Jose for a full season.
Sebastian Stalberg, Center
Stalberg signed with the Sharks after his junior season at the University of Vermont, a year in which he compiled 31 points in 34 games. He got his feet wet in Worcester at the end of the AHL season last year, notching five points in 13 games. Stalberg will look to make a significant impact on one of the top two lines for Worcester this season.
Sena Acolatse, Defense
Acolatse, a California native, is a quick puck moving defenseman who is entering his second season with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL. In his rookie season last year, Acolatse proved that he can produce, compiling eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points. He also added 89 penalty minutes.
Konrad Abeltshauser, Defense
Abeltshauser is a 6’05” defenseman who was a sixth round pick of the Sharks in 2010. Last season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Abeltshauser notched eight goals and 36 assists for 44 points. Abeltshauser is returning to Halifax for the 2012-13 season.
Currently covering all things that is the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Hockey Writers. Follow him on Twitter: @Matt_Metcalf