Shark-Infested Blogger

June 15, 2010 2:58 AM

Randy Hahn on Young Players to Watch in 2010-11

Last season, Jason Demers came really almost out of nowhere to be a featured player on the team. He hadn't even gotten a call-up ever before. Are there young players in your mind we should be keeping an eye on that may make some noise in training camp (and) surprise us in terms of contributing to the NHL Sharks this next season?

I wish that I had a chance to watch Worcester more than I do, but I don't because once our season's on I'm pretty much consumed with that. Obviously they had a good year: They went fairly deep into the American Hockey League playoffs.

We saw the fruits of development at our level and I think that if you're looking for that next group of young players who are gonna make an impact on the Sharks, you already had a taste. And right at the top of that list is--in no particular order--Jason Demers, Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn. And those are three offensive players, and in the case of Demers, (an) offensive-minded defenceman that were able to contribute (in) various degrees throughout the year.

4560507871_7c0ae42126.jpgCouture came on really strong the bigger the games got. Some of the plays he made during the Detroit series--I mean, you talk about pressure for a young kid! And he is still just a kid. You know, you're playing the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena and you're behind in the third period, and you score a huge goal to help your team come back and win in overtime. Those are huge moments of development.

 We talk about how a player develops all through the year in the American League, but can you imagine how his confidence and his career changed forever on that one goal? I mean, he knows now that he can do it, and his coaches know that they can put him in a situation where they need a big play out of a big player, and he came through for them.

And it's just one of those defining goals where you look back, you never really know how a player's career is going to go going forward. If he turns out to be a key player for the next ten years for the San Jose Sharks, you'll look back on that series and that goal and that game as being a catalyst moment for Logan Couture.

Those are the three that stick out to me as the guys who showed that they belong. And that will also have something to do with the changes that the organisation makes going forward on free agents they decide to keep or trades they decide to make. Those three players make the decisions tougher, because (they) have shown that they deserve a place in the NHL.

But that's a good thing: That tells you (that) you drafted well and that your people in Worcester are developing your players well, so that when they get here, they make a difference. Beyond those three it's tough for me.

I'd throw Thomas Greiss in that group although because, going back to what you said about Nabby--him playing so much--we just didn't get a chance to see enough of Thomas Greiss. Going forward if--if Nabby is--is not re-signed by the Sharks or if Nabby decides--you know, Nabby's a free agent, he doesn't have to sign with the Sharks if they offer him a contract. He can go anywhere he wants. It's his freedom, too.

But I think there's a chance we're gonna see a lot more of Thomas Greiss next year, and discover why the Sharks feel so highly about him. He hasn't really had a chance to show his stuff yet in the way that I think he hopes he can. And maybe next year will be the year we get to see a lot more of him and find out why he was the number two goalie in the organisation.

A Member Of