Max Giese: In The System, A Look at the Sharks Top 20 Prospects
2005 5TH ROUND SELECTION, TAYLOR DAKERS
Max Giese profiled the San Jose Sharks development system at the start of February, but technical difficulties prevented it from being posted on this blog. The following is his uncut post, which will be revised, the stats updated, and the rankings re-edited. A mock draft, and a 2007 draft eligible prospect ranking should be coming up soon from Max.
It is no secret that the key to the San Jose Sharks success is the ability to find talent at the NHL Entry Draft. With that in mind, here is a look at the talent in the current Sharks development system.
1. Young Talent Already at the NHL level - Milan Michalek, Steve Bernier, Joe Pavelski, Matt Carle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Ryan Clowe could all be considered prospects, yet each player has flourished in their roles in the NHL. While each individual player could be a future star, or a solid grinder, the Sharks current roster is notable for the talent groomed within the organization, and the speed with which they became NHL ready.
2. Goaltending - Taylor Dakers, Alex Stalock, and Thomas Greiss are three goaltenders with varying degrees of starting potential in the NHL. Given their talent, and the Sharks reputation for developing stars under goaltending coach Warren Strelow, each will at least be a valuable bargaining chip that can be used in a potential trade. More likely they will be available to anchor the Sharks minor league affiliates.
3. Plenty of Depth Players - The Sharks have several prospects who are well on their way to becoming more than adequate third or fourth liners in the NHL, especially at the center position.
1. Lack of Top End Talent - While the Sharks NHL roster is loaded with young offensive talent (Michalek, Bernier, Carle, Pavelski), the current batch of San Jose prospects is lacking. Setoguchi and Wishart, and goaltender Thomas Greiss, are the prospects at the higher end of the Sharks development system. They are the closest players to the top end, but they are not considered blue chip prospects.
2. Lack of International Experience - The IIHF World Junior Championships are not the end-all-be-all for young prospects, Steve Bernier and Scott Hannan never played in the tournament yet. But it is well known that the Sharks value international experience in their players, and the current prospects lack that experience.
3. First Rounders Struggling - 2004 first round selection Lukas Kaspar has only scored twice this season in Worcester, which is far behind the pace he set last season in Cleveland. 2005 first round selection Devin Setoguchi has been disappointing this year, after a terrific season last year in the WHL. The Sharks need these top two draft picks to start performing up to their capabilities.
Excluded from the list: Milan Michalek- This kid is a horse. Michalek has already proven to be a top line winger in the NHL. Steve Bernier - Bernier is arguably the most gifted young power forward in the game when he plays with passion and energy. Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Ice water and hockey sense run through his veins. If you do not believe me, ask his former boss in juniors Patrick Roy. Joe Pavelski - Thriving in the NHL, given his hockey sense, desire and skill, do not expect his contributions at both ends of the ice to slow down. Matt Carle - Carle has struggled, but he is still a legitimate top four defenseman in the near future, with off the charts offensive potential. Ryan Clowe Solid plugger, who is finding his scoring touch in the NHL. Doug Murray - Extremely physical defenseman, would be a regular on most NHL rosters.
San Jose Sharks Top 20 Prospects:
1. RW Devin Setoguchi 8th overall, 2005 - Prince George, WHL (49-29-22-51) First Line Goal Scorer. The season has been a trying one for Devin, and in some ways he has actually taken a step backward after an exceptional 2005-06 campaign. Setoguchi's play in the WHL has been inconsistent at best. While he was arguably the best player on the ice against Russia in the ADT challenge for the WHL, Devin was pretty much invisible at the Canadian Selection Camp for the World Junior Championship team. His play in the WHL has improved as of late, but his nagging knee injury has kept him out of the line up at times, and he has been flown to San Jose for medical treatment. Every western scout I have spoken to about Devin has the same things to say, that he has a terrific shot and skill set, but inconsistency still plagues his game. This was a knock on Patrick Marleau when he was young, and it is something that can be overcome with experience. Right now Devin is inconsistent shift to shift, and game to game.
Setoguchi has all the ability to be a gritty, fast, sniper on the first line, but he will need to mature before becoming so. The velocity he produces on his shot is tremendous, and he has a pro-level release with average accuracy. He will be a goal scorer in the NHL. Setoguchi's vision and play making is vastly underrated. When he wants to, Setoguchi displays exceptional vision and creativity. In Saskatoon this was more evident when he had chemistry with his line mates. It is starting to creep back into his game as he becomes more comfortable in Prince George every game. Expect an up and down year rest of the way, but this might be a player who catches fire when the emphasis on his development with the Worcester Sharks addresses some of the rough spots. Setoguchi possesses more upside than any other Sharks prospect.
DEFENSEMAN TY WISHART
2. D Ty Wishart 16th overall, 2006 - Prince George, WHL (56-10-30-40) #2-#3 defenseman. Wishart has done everything this season that can be asked of him, as he has been playing around 35 minutes a night for the Prince George Cougars. This has helped his development in one way, and hindered it in another. The colossal ice time has allowed him to play in every situation, and Ty has developed as a leader. Wishart has also had to pace himself on the ice to allow him to play all of those minutes, and he will have to increase his urgency when he makes the transition to more limited ice time in the NHL.
That is often the case of any highly regarded junior prospect, although and it is especially common with defenseman. With his ability, it should not be an issue moving forward. Wishart is a exceptional skater for a big man, and his defensive positioning is near flawless. He has the potential to be a shut down defenseman in the NHL. Scouts say Karl Alzner, the 2007 eligible defenseman, has impressive mobility. Well side-by-side at the ADT CHL vs. Russia Challenge, Wishart's mobility was much more graceful and quick. He moves the puck much like Scott Hannan, as he makes the mature decision and handles the puck well rarely turning it over. Wishart lacks the top end creativity to quarterback the first power play unit, but he could find a home on the second power play unit. He has has a right handed shot (a rarity for defenseman in San Jose), and it is heavy and low so it will get through to the net with regularity. The only thing missing from his game is a mean streak, but that is something that may come with time.
3. G Thomas Greiss 94th overall, 2004 - Worcester, AHL (24GP, 14 wins, .913SVP, 2.58GAA). Starting Goalie. This season Greiss has done nothing but build on his breakout 2005-06 campaign, where he sparkled against the World's best at the Olympics vs Canada, and was arguably the best goaltender in the German DEL. Greiss has the mental make up and athleticism to be the next Miikka Kipprusoff.
Starting slowly with the AHL Worcester Sharks this season, Thomas Greiss has developed into the go-to goalie over veterans Nolan Schaefer and Dmitri Patzold. His transition to the North American game has been quicker most than expected, and that speaks well of his ability to develop to the faster NHL game down the road. Blessed with elite-level dexterity, Greiss can rob the opposition with a highlight reel save. Greiss boasts elite leg quickness, and a superb glove side. Greiss is not afraid to challenge shooters, and he has steadily learned how to play his angles better in his first season in North America. With the help of the best goaltending coaching staff in the world, Greiss should only get better in the next couple of years. All he really needs to do is continue to mature, and improve his puck handling outside of the crease. Greiss may be the best kept secret in the league when considering goaltending prospects, and he is the next in a long line of exceptional goaltenders drafted and groomed by the Sharks in the NHL.
4. LW Jamie McGinn 36th overall, 2006 - Ottawa, OHL (59-37-37-74) 2nd line physical goal scorer and team captain. McGinn reminds me a lot of L.A. Kings right winger Dustin Brown. He gives an honest effort every shift, and plays with a mean streak every night. Every time I watch a game with McGinn on the ice, he instantly grabs my attention. He is a real spark plug for his team. He initiates physical play, and leads by example on and off the ice. A rink rat, McGinn never has to be asked twice to do something. He is the type of player who will run into a wall for the good of the team. His keeps his feet moving, which makes up slightly for a lack of speed and explosiveness in his skating. McGinn's hockey sense is underrated, and it serves him very well at both ends of the ice. His play without the puck is mature for his age, as is his ability along the boards and in high traffic areas.
McGinn is very sturdy on his feet and hard to knock off the puck. While his offensive imagination is average, he lacks the elite vision to be a set up man, McGinn can finish when given the opportunity. He has a knack around the net, with a quick release and an accurate shot. Jamie is a bit like Thomas Holmstrom in front of the net. He goes to the net hard, and he is very difficult to move when he plants himself in front of the crease. The puck seems to find his stick before anyone else, and he scores a lot of garbage goals. Simply, McGinn can finish with the best of them in tight. He will be a fan favorite and should transition to the pro game very quickly. McGinn has developed a distinct chemistry with one of the top eligible 2007 prospects, center Logan Couture, which might make the draft interesting if the Sharks can trade up and grab the savvy center.
5. C Torrey Mitchell 126th overall, 2004 - Vermont, NCAA (34-12-20-32) third line center. Torrey is a gritty 2-way centerman, who much like Steve Zalewski, will challenge for a third line center position in the NHL within a few seasons. Likely to sign after this year, Mitchell plays a mature game that is pro ready. Offensively he is a quick skater with soft hands and superb vision. He does a lot of things well, but nothing great. His vision and play making touch are good, and his shot is vastly improved this season. His accuracy has also come a long way since his freshman season. He is now picking corners form the outside and his release has quickened.
Mitchell does the dirty work in the corners, and on the forecheck, to make life for his linemates easier. Skating is an asset as he accelerates swiftly and is very sturdy on his feet. Mitchell does everything at top speed. He handles traffic very well, and possesses a well built frame. Torrey's puck pursuit is exactly where you want it to be, and he forechecks at full speed. Mitchell is no stranger to sticking his nose in traffic, and has a knack for piling up garbage goals. He plays on the penalty kill, and is a fine two way player. Already a captain as a junior, Mitchell has a good head on his shoulders.
6. C Steve Zalewski 153rd overall, 2004 - Clarkson, NCAA (34-15-17-32) third or fourth line center. Savvy, gritty, and reliable are three adjectives that sum up Zalewski's game. In a lot of ways he is reminiscent of Marcel Goc. He is very strong away from the puck and in his own zone, but he is also capable of producing offense if given the chance. Zalewski is more of a playmaker than a finisher.
Max Giese's notes on Zalewski from December 30th, 2006 - "Has slowed down a bit after a breakout start to the season, where he took his offensive game to a new level and was finding the back of the net... his play is reminiscent of Marcel Goc and projects as a third/fourth line center... centers Clarkson's first line... at his best away from the puck, his defensive awareness and work ethic are exceptional. He is a great asset to the penalty kill... never stops moving his feet and has a knack for disrupting the opposition with a strong forecheck or back check... despite possessing a booming slap shot that he is not hesitant to use, he struggles to finish as he lacks velocity and accuracy on his wrist shot, that ultimately hinders him from being a goal scorer. Although he has seen improvement in that regard this season... is an instinctive play maker as he sees the ice very well and distributes the puck crisply tape to tape... hands are okay, he does not fumble the puck but is not a deadly puckhandler either... has a fluent stride with decent power and quickness which make him a good, but not great skater... plays with grit and has sand paper to his game... he is a reliable center at both ends of the ice which makes him a possible bottom two line NHL'er, but he lacks the finish and dangle to be a top two line player in the NHL."
7. RW Mike Morris 27th overall, 2002 - Northeastern, NCAA (20-7-11-18) 2nd line two way forward. It appears that Mike Morris has fully recovered from the car accident that gave him a severe concussion, and forced him to red shirt his senior season. Despite missing several games with injuries this season, Morris was tied for the team lead in scoring at one point. While it took him a couple weekends to rediscover his game, Mike broke out against Michigan and went on a scoring streak after. Morris has been one of the best prospects in college hockey over the years, but he lacks media attention because he plays for a poor team overshadowed by the big names in the Hockey East conference.
Morris has always been asked to carry the offensive load for the Huskies every night, and he has done a tremendous job during his 4-year career. He is a smaller forward, but strong on his feet and a quick skater with a rapid and strong stride. Morris has an accurate shot that gets to the net instantly. He also has a playmakers touch, and has even quarterbacked the power play. In many ways he is the Joe Thornton for the Huskies as the power play always runs through him. Blessed with soft hands and keen anticipation, Morris should be able to add a scoring punch to the Sharks third line in the not too distant future. Logging large minutes in all situations (5-on-5, PP, PK) has helped Morris round out his game. His 2-way play is often overlooked, but he works hard away from the puck and uses anticipation to create turnovers. Suffered a set back as he needed his appendix removed, but that will not hurt his long term development as he registered four assist in his comeback game.
8. RW Lukas Kaspar 22nd overall, 2004 - Worcester, AHL (58-7-19-26) 3rd line winger. It has been awhile since the Sharks have had such an enigmatic prospect in their development system. Kaspar is extremely difficult to get a read on, as he has all the tools to be a special player (size, speed, shot, vision, hand skill, two way play). However Kaspar's passive nature and inconsistancy has hindered him from being able to achieve that. It is more likely that Kaspar will end up as a poor man's Nicklas Sundstrom or + Marcel Hossa.
A first round selection has the skill to never look out of place in the NHL, but rarely will Kaspar use it to his full potential. Even on his off nights, you can not help but be intrigued by the pure physical package Kaspar brings to the table. It is elusive to find a night where he puts it all together to contribute offensively. Kaspar seemed to be turning the corner this summer, when he had a very positive rookie tournament. He was using his size in front of the net to make room for his booming shot. However, that tampered off in the AHL. He has seen his ice time dwindel. His awaited callup to the NHL will likely have to wait until next season. His potental at this stage has dropped to no more than a third liner in the NHL.
9. D Dan Spang 52nd overall, 2002 - Worcester, AHL (46-4-21-25) third pairing puck moving defenseman Spang's development was a concern coming into his senior season at Boston University. Watching tape on him before his senior year was discouraging. His defensive zone coverage was poor, and at times and his offensive game was not special either. That all changed with a rousing senior year where he took his defensive and offensive game to new levels.
His one on one positioning and angling improved greatly. His creativity and anticipation offensively also improved. Spang carried that momentum to the AHL, where if it was not for a few minor injury setbacks, he would probally be leading the Worcester Sharks in defensive scoring. His 2-way game has sparkled this season, and he has drawn praise from a Western Conferance pro scout. "That Spang kid is something, he is the next in line of mobile, 2-way puck moving defenseman in San Jose" said the scout sitting next to me in Milwaukee's press box. While lacking in height, Spang is very sturdy on his feet, and he is powerful and strong. He is well on his way to becoming the defenseman in the NHL the Sharks scouts pictured when they took a chance on him in the second round in 2002.
10. G Alex Stalock 112th overall, 2005 - Minnesota Duluth, NCAA (23GP, 5 wins, .881SVP, 3.34GAA). Marty Turco like starting goalie. For a freshman goaltender in the WCHA, Stalock has been very impressive. He reminds me a lot of Marty Turco with his unorthodox style, but he is extremely athletic and exciting in the crease. He also plays the puck exceptionally well.
Max Giese's notes from Oct 14th 2006 - "Athletic, unorthodox goaltender that is capable of stealing a goal with a highlight reel save, but is also prone to allowing a soft goal here and there... Is the first freshman goalie in Minnesota Duluth's history to win his first two starts... very aggressive, has quick lateral movement and lively agility around the crease area... active, is not economical with his movements, loves to challenge shooters, and plays on the top of his crease... will resort to flopping and will dive head first after loose rebounds in close... adequate glove, blocker side is especially strong... flexible limbs, has a wide V with good leg extension... possesses quick legs, which allows him to make quick kick saves... plays the puck like like a third defenseman, gifted skater and passer... breaks up the forecheck behind the net, can stretch the ice with a pass, and likes to pass the puck after he makes the initial save, at times can be adventurous outside of the crease like Marty Turco... uses his stick aggressively, loves to poke check... once dove head first to the top of the circles to poke check Ben Street on a breakaway... patient, and will stay on his feet to make a save, not a butterfly goalie... rises to the occasion, makes his best saves when his team needs him most or when there is a flurry of action around his net... still prone to weak goals and struggles at times to follow the puck through traffic despite his size... needs to improve his rebound control and fundamentals, which would limit his movements... adjusted quickly to the NCAA and has legit pro potential for his athleticism and competitiveness."
11. G Taylor Dakers, 143rd overall, 2005 - Kootenay, WHL (40GP, 29 wins, .920SVP, 2.17GAA). 1B goaltender. Currently sitting in the top five in the WHL for goaltending leaders, Dakers has done nothing but improve since the Sharks took a chance on him in the 2005 draft. It is very possible Dakers will prove to be a steal, as his draft stock was hurt by the fact that he was a backup at the time. Now a fulltime starter, Dakers has battled health issues to be one of the most dominant goaltenders in the WHL. Dakers has exceptional anticipation for a goaltender and should excel at the next level. He has a knack for finding the puck through heavy traffic. Plays the angles well and likes to challenge the shooter, making himself appear big in net. Has a sizable frame and superb dexterity, with quick recovery speed. Dakers has the upside to start in the NHL, but is also a fairly safe bet to be a backup in the NHL as his mental focus is top notch.
12. D Derek Joslin 149th overall, 2005 - Ottawa, OHL (59-10-31-41) third pairing two way defenseman. Reminiscent of former San Jose defenseman Tom Preissing, Joslin is a savvy defenseman who makes up for his lack of top notch athleticism with an outstanding mind for the game. Joslin is a leader on and off the ice with a great character. He distributes the puck well and positions himself in his own zone properly. Could be a solid, dependable third pairing defenseman, similar to Josh Gorges.
13. D James DeLory 98th overall, 2006 - Oshawa, OHL (52-4-17-21) third pairing physical defenseman. DeLory could be the next Rob Davison for the San Jose Sharks. He has incredible size that no current Sharks prospect can match (6-5, 215 pounds). He is a willing fighter and plays an aggressive physical game. The mean streak along with his size is very attractive, and he could be a solid depth defenseman if he develops his hockey sense. Poor decision making has plagued him in the past, and his overall mobility needs work. His inconsistent puck movement is frustrating to watch. At times he makes the correct read and moves the puck maturely, and then at other times he will make an errant pass up the middle of the ice. One thing you can not question is his desire. Possesses a wild yet bone rattling slap shot. Intriguing prospect, but is still extremely raw and has drawn mixed reviews from scouts this season.
14. LW Tony Lucia 193rd overall, 2005 - Minnesota, NCAA (34-6-7-13) fourth line center. It took a while for Lucia to adjust to the pace of the NCAA game but his play as of late has been strong. Lucia will never be an offensive player, but he could make the NHL as a reliable two way center with grit. Lucia needs to improve his speed as well. He has a fluid stride, but it lacks explosiveness.
Max Giese's notes from January 12th, 2007 "Tony Lucia (SJ), F, Minnesota Gophers The coaches son is a savvy two way centerman who is used on the third line... communicates with his line mates and displays vocal leadership... skating needs improvement has he lacks quickness in tight areas and his top gear in the open ice is also lacking... very sturdy on his feet though and is agile as the mechanics to his stride are fine... sees the ice okay but he lacks offensive imagination as he rather just dump the puck in deep and chase it rather than try to set up a play... has good puck pursuit and is usually the first man in on the forecheck... finishes his checks and has plenty of grit to his game... goes to the net. Despite having a below average shot, he finishes with regularity, as he has a knack for finding loose rebounds... hands are average. He handles the puck well, but could catch passes more smoothly... plays on the penalty kill and is a strong two way player... knows and executes his defensive assignments routinely... puts forth a good effort on the ice... lacks offensive upside, but could be a fourth line type in the NHL if he improves his skating."
15. LW Tomas Plihal 140th overall, 2001 - Worcester, AHL (45-6-8-14), 3 NHL appearances with San Jose. Plihal is much like his friend Lukas Kaspar, as he possesses NHL level talent, but is extremely enigmatic with its application. Every time I have watched Plihal since the WHL, he has teased with high end skill, but left me wanting much more in the end. Blessed with superb hands and a smooth skating stride, Plihal is also a savvy player capable of performing numerous roles for a team. He has not looked out of place in his short audition in the NHL, his speed and hockey sense were instantly evident. Proving to be a capable depth player, Plihal might stick in the NHL, but it likely will not be with the Sharks long term. Plihal can also kill penalties exceptionally well when called upon. His passive nature could be his downfall, and might make him a career European Leauger.
16. G Dmitri Patzold 107th overall, 2001 - Worcester, AHL (20GP, 9 wins, .892SVP, 3.21GAA), 4 appearances with the ECHL Fresno Falcons this season. Capable back up or depth goaltender. After his stunning performance at the World Junior Championships years ago against Canada, and two strong seasons in the AHL with Cleveland, Patzold was at one point the Sharks top prospect in goal. After watching him in his sophomore season with the Cleveland Barons, it appeared he was making the same progress that Nabokov did in his AHL career. Patzold was taking his superb athleticism and added to that rock steady fundamentals that San Jose goaltending coach Warren Strewlow is known for. Unfortunately, the positive momentum has halted. His play has slipped, and injuries have forced him out of the lineup. Rookie and fellow German Thomas Greiss has outperformed Patzold this season.
17. Riley Armstrong free agent - Worcester, AHL (57-16-10-26) fourth line pest. Finally putting it all together this season, Armstrong has emerged as a solid prospect for the Sharks this season. The former Everett Silvertip was signed after a strong performance at the Pacific Division rookie tournament three years ago. Armstrong has had to overcome issues with inconsistent play during his professional career. At his best Riley can play an in-your-face, abrasive game that agitates opponents. His finishing ability and quickness in tight are also strengths. Potential fourth line Mark Smith type pest, if his work ethic and overall game continues to show improvement.
18. RW Mike Iggulden free agent - Worcester, AHL (52-23-15-38) Fourth line physical forward. Somewhat similar to Ryan Clowe, Iggulden has used his size, work ethic, and scoring touch to overcome skating deficencies. He is strong along the boards and in front of the net. Mike never has to be told twice to remember his defensive assignments as he is a strong two way player. Forechecks and backchecks with noticable vigor. Has a NHL release with impressive velocity and decent accuracy, but scores most of his goals from within a foot of the goalmouth. Dependable player who would not look out of place on the fourth line, but his NHL future is not likely with the San Jose Sharks.
19. F Ashton Rome 143rd overall, 2006 - Worcester, AHL (51-6-3-9) fourth line pest and physical presence or bust. Originally drafted by the Boston Bruins, Rome has been impressive in years past with the WHL. He plays an abrasive style that rubs the opposition the wrong way, but he can also skate well. Rome plays with passion and has been labled as positively "feisty" by scouts. Ashton will go hard to the net and has a knack for knocking in a loose rebound before the opposition can clear the puck. This season has been a learning year for Rome. he was injured all summer, and that hindered his conditioning level. Next season will be the true test to see if he was a smart selection by the Sharks.
20. C Tom Cavanagh 182nd overall, 2001 - Worcester, AHL (53-8-18-26) depth center. The former Harvard captain is a savvy two way center who lacks the offensive imagination to be more than a fourth line center. Cavanagh sees the ice well and is an adequate distrubtor of the puck. His finishing skills need refinement. Plays on the penalty kill and power play at this level, but does neither well enough to warrant an NHL roster spot. Potential depth player in the NHL, but not for a team like the Sharks who are stacked up the middle at the center position.
Just Missing The List:
G Derek MacIntyre 243rd overall, 2004 - Ferris St, NCAA Max Giese's Notes: "Has not performed or developed as expected over the three seasons, which has lead him to being the backup on most nights... an athletic hybrid goalie with impressive dexterity and flexibility... quick lateral movement stands out, but he has a troubling habit of lifting his stick off of the ice and breaking his stance in the process, which can be exposed with a one timer... stays square to the puck and does a good job maintaining the proper angle to the shooter... will challenge the shooter at times but can be caught playing too far back in his crease when there is heavy traffic in front... difficult to beat down low as he has fine leg extension and reflexes... exposed up high despite a fine blocker... his glove side is concerning as he is beaten too often there... rebound control needs much improvement as he will leave juicy rebounds right in the slot... needs to do a better job of finding the puck through traffic as screens give him more trouble than the average collegiate goalie... does not get close enough to the opposition screening him, and plays too far back in his crease... needs to be more patient with the shooter as a deke often makes him go down too early as he makes the first move... a long shot for the NHL or even the AHL despite his impressive athleticism."
D Brian O'Hanley 276th overall, 2003 - Boston College, NCAA Max Giese's Notes: "Has the instincts for the offensive zone and pinches in down low intuitively... looks calm handling the puck and distributes it effectively, but lacks the elite vision to be a power play quarterback... has a quickly released point shot that is accurate, and he does a good job of getting it to the net... receives limited ice time because he can be a liability in his own zone... while he is willing to battle physically, he is too weak to be effective, and often gets beat by stronger opponents... easily beaten one on one and can allow a man to beat him off the wall and go straight to the net... has another year to add strength but at this point he is a long shot NHL prospect."
Recently traded (part of the Bill Guerin trade):
LW Jay Barriball 203rd overall, 2006 - Minnesota, NCAA (35-18-20-38) top six winger or bust. Barriball has been an offensive revelation for the Gophers this season and has been a very nice surprise for the Sharks system. A dynamic player with exceptional anticiaption and offensive imagination, Barriball will need to score in the NHL to warrant a stay. While his defensive game is adequate, it does not stand out. His size along with his average skating ability will always put his ability to transition to the NHL in question.
One thing Barriball has on his side is the fact that he has always been doubted his entire career, but he always transitioned quickly to a higher level of hockey.
Max Giese's Notes from January 12th, 2007. "Pint sized but is sturdy on his feet and fearless in traffic... will go to the net and battles for rebounds... will finish checks with surprising power and is a competitive player... lacks first step quickness and overall explosiveness is lacking... agile and he is a fine all purpose skater... top gear is decent, but overall his superb anticipation makes up for his lack of speed,.. has soft hands and is slippery one on one,.. is laterally quick and his shiftiness is decent,.. his offensive imagination is top notch, and he can distribute the puck creatively... sees the ice instinctively and can hit the open man with a pass without even looking at him... hockey sense is a strength, and he positions himself well with or without the puck... his motor is where you want it, as he keeps moving his feet and working... his accuracy and power behind his shot are impressive, but he could quicken and refine his release... is a threat to score even from the outside... could compete harder in his own end, but Barriball is average defensively... is more than willing to block a shot... size and speed are the question marks moving forward, but he compensates for them at this level with anticipation and balance."
Max also scouts prospects for McKeen's Hockey magazine. During the 2005 State of the Sharks event, San Jose director of amateur scouting Tim Burke complimented Max's draft previews posted on the Hockey's Future website.
[Update] The San Jose Sharks released their latest prospect report today. The Sharks on Univeristy of Vermont junior center Torrey Mitchell: "Fifth overall in Hockey East scoring. INCH Shop Player of the week for Nov. 27. Leads team in points (28) and assists (18). Second on team in goals (10). Honored as University of Vermont’s Student Athlete of the Week. Named 2006-07 Co-Captain".