2013-2014 WorSharks final report card

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


As the American Hockey League playoffs swing through the second round and more teams join the Worcester Sharks in having the rest of the spring off it’s time to grade the WorSharks players. We’ve set the limit at 38 games played–half the season–and are only grading players that finished the season playing in the organization. The players are listed by position, with forwards going first, followed by the defense and goaltenders. Forwards and defenseman are listed in order of their point totals for no other reason than that’s how we’ve always done it. The last section is off ice personnel.

Players have been graded on how well they’ve done against the expectations that have been set for them and how well they’ve done compared to the other players on the roster. When looking at the grades remember that a “C” is average, meaning the player has done what was expected of them or that their play, based on the other players on the roster, has been average in nature. The contract status listed is what they will be as July 1st at the time of this posting, and NHL salary listed is their potential amount against the NHL salary cap.

FORWARDS
Freddie Hamilton (64 games, 22-21-43, -14, 6PIM)
Contract status: Final season of NHL ELC ($626,667/$67,500)
Hamilton is on the cusp of being an everyday NHL player, although it won’t be in the top six role he plays in Worcester. Hamilton should do well in San Jose as a third line checking forward and penalty killer. Likely will never see the twenty goal plateau in the NHL, if he gets enough games in the AHL next season he should easily hit that number again. He was one of the few players that excelled with everyone he was teamed with, and in turn made every one of those players better.
Grade: A

Travis Oleksuk (74 games, 19-21-40, -1, 20PIM)
Contract status: NHL RFA
Oleksuk started off the 2013-14 season the same way he ended the 12-13 campaign, and that’s not a good thing. Oleksuk looked over his head at the AHL level and once again slowly drifted down the depth chart. The beginning of 2014 was like the light finally going on and Oleksuk suddenly was on fire and almost couldn’t be stopped. His 16 goal and 27 point improvement from last season are anecdotally the best ever in Worcester pro hockey history. An almost certainty San Jose qualifies him in the off season.
Grade: B

Dan DaSilva (61 games, 17-20-37, -13, 67PIM)
Contract status: UFA
After two seasons of WorSharks fans screaming they wanted DaSilva back in a teal jersey Worcester Sharks GM Joe Will knew exactly who to turn to when the WorSharks offense was sputtering and on the verge of collapse. It took DaSilva a week to get back into the swing of things, but from that point on the Worcester Sharks were a completely different team. Fans are now yelling for DaSilva to be brought back for next season to wear the captain’s “C”. Hopefully Will is listening.
Grade: A

Daniil Tarasov (47-17-14-31, +2, 40PIM)
Contract status: Final season of NHL ELC ($680,000/$65,000)
Tarasov has tons of raw offensive skill and his defensive game is getting better, but his big issue is avoiding injury. Multiple stints on the injured list have hampered his development, and Tarasov’s game really needs lots of refinements for him to have any chance at the NHL. The only question is if San Jose wants to keep trying to tap into his potential or will they look in another direction. With so little offensive talent in the pipeline the Sharks may have no choice but to keep trying with Tarasov.
Grade: C

Brodie Reid (55 games, 11-14-25, -1, 8PIM)
Contract status: NHL RFA
Another oft-injured player, Reid’s big issue most of the season was staying out of WorSharks head coach Roy Sommer’s dog house. A player with legitimate AHL top six talent Reid spent a significant amount of the season on the third and fourth lines where his skills couldn’t be put to good use. On a team that lacked scoring having a player with his skill level in the bottom six, for whatever the reason, is inexcusable. It will be interesting to see if San Jose qualifies Reid. In this writer’s opinion, they should.
Grade: C

Bracken Kearns (45 games, 6-19-25, -12, 72PIM)
Contract status: UFA
Kearns had some success in the NHL but with Worcester his play was very streaky and he never seemed to find his groove. Many times it seemed like Kearns was a half-step behind where he should have been, and he was never able to really establish himself in front of the net as he had in years past. His play on the power play was still fairly good because of the extra space he was given, but at even strength he was “just another guy” out there as opposed to the offensive leader he was expected to be.
Grade: C

Marek Viedensky (54 games, 6-17-23, +1, 29PIM)
Contract status: NHL RFA
It was another odd year for Viedensky, who looked good when he played but spent far too much time on the injury list or being a healthy scratch. For a guy that was so highly regarded coming out of juniors there is obviously something going on that is causing issues with him getting in the line-up. Viedensky certainly has the skills to play in the AHL but it’s still a question if he can play in the NHL. It’s also a question if San Jose qualifies him, and I’m far from certain they will. He’s currently playing for Slovakia in the World Championships.
Grade: C

Eriah Hayes (59 games, 12-9-21, -15, 43PIM)
Contract status: Final season of NHL ELC ($655,000/$70,000)
Hayes made his NHL debut just after the new year following a rather pedestrian end to 2013, but if San Jose had a deeper prospect pool he likely would not have seen any NHL action. His play right after his return from the NHL was unimpressive, but a positive March and April showed signs of what Hayes has the potential to do over an entire season. The Sharks should bring in a veteran AHL power forward to really show Hayes the ropes so he can hopefully reach his full development.
Grade: C

Rylan Schwartz (73 games, 5-13-18, -16, 25PIM)
Contract status: Final season of NHL ELC ($650,000/$50,000)
Another player with an impressive scouting report that didn’t meet those expectations. Schwartz was supposed to be an above average play maker and goal scorer but didn’t do either of those things particularly well in the AHL. Schwartz did have a four game points streak in early March, but was otherwise mostly invisible on the ice. With so many centers in front of him on the depth chart Schwartz will need a big 2014-15 campaign to stick in the organization.
Grade: D

Jimmy Bonneau (45 games, 2-3-5, +3, 106PIM)
Contract status: UFA
Bonneau is the type of enforcer teams covet: knows when to drop the mitts, doesn’t take dumb penalties, and doesn’t kill you when he’s on the ice taking a shift. You don’t often see an enforcer wearing the alternate captain’s “A”, but Bonneau does and deservedly so. A plus player both on and off the ice the WorSharks should really be looking at bringing him back next season, and based on how–and when–Bonneau’s 2013-14 campaign ended it seems like they may be looking to do that.
Grade: B

Matt Pelech (32 games, 3-1-4, -2, 73PIM)
Contract status: UFA
Pelech is a player that WorSharks fans love and fans of everyone else hates. He’s tough to play against because he’s so physical and because he often skirts the line between clean and “not so clean” play. If you’re carrying the puck and Pelech is near you, you’re going to get hit. Being able to play both forward and defense in the AHL is a huge plus for a player like Pelech, and that is probably enough for the organization to think about bringing him back for another season. But after breaking his hand in a fight and then being reluctant to drop the gloves after he may have seen the last of the NHL.
Grade: C

DEFENSEMEN
Dylan DeMelo (68 games, 2-22-24, -17, 51PIM)
Contract status: 2nd of 3 year NHL ELC ($633,333/$65,000)
In an odd contradiction, as a defenseman Demelo lead all WorSharks in assists but also lead the team in being in the penalty box when a power play goal was scored against. His constantly turning the puck over in his own end that led to more than a handful of chances against his goaltender where the goalie had literally no chance at all of making a save was a tremendous issue. DeMelo really needs to work on his vision of the ice when he’s in his own end, otherwise he’ll be just another in a long line of offensive-minded defenseman littering low level minor league hockey.
Grade: D

Matt Tennyson (54 games, 7-14-21, -25, 33PIM)
Contract status: NHL RFA
To say Tennyson had a terrible season would be a massive understatement. His (-25) is by far the WorSharks worst ever, and were it not for a late season recall to San Jose Tennyson may have made a run at the lowest ever plus/minus in Worcester pro hockey history (Jarrett Deuling’s (-28) in 1994-95). Tennyson did do well on the power play (3-8-11), but the rest of his game was down right awful. San Jose will undoubtedly make him a qualifying offer because his upside is so high, but another season like 13-14 would be his last in the organization.
Grade: F

Konrad Abeltshauser (57 games, 6-15-21, E, 18PIM)
Contract status: Final season of NHL ELC ($633,333/$67,500)
With an over-ager year in juniors under his belt expectations were high for Abeltshauser, and after a slow start as he got used to the speed of the pro game his play began to look like what was expected out of him. A great end to the season solidified Abeltshauser as Worcester’s best overall defenseman, and were it not for a knee injury he would have been representing Germany in the ongoing World Championships. Word is he will be fully recovered by training camp next season, which is good because he’ll be looked at as a guy that might be splitting time between Worcester and San Jose.
Grade: B

Adam Comrie (56 games, 3-16-19, -11, 38PIM)
Contract status: NHL RFA
Comrie had a great end to the 2012-13 season and earned himself an NHL contract, but his 13-14 season will likely earn him a trip out of the organization. Comrie never got it going in the right direction this season, and was a healthy scratch for a large part of it. Silly penalties and poor play was his biggest issue, and the huge holes in his game were constantly exploited by opponents. In an organization with lots of defensive depth Comrie’s offensive skills might be useful, but as an everyday pro defenseman there are far too many with more complete games available.
Grade: D

Sena Acolatse (41 games, 5-12-17, -5, 66PIM)
Contract status: NHL RFA
Another season, another long-term injury for Acolatse. After back to back seasons with facial injuries this season Acolatse broke bones in his leg. It’s not like these are injures that could have been avoided by anything other than some luck, but once a player gets tagged with the “injury prone” label it’s hard to shake that off. He does have the skills to play pro hockey, and if he can actually stay on the ice for a full season might turn into a serviceable NHL player. It’s an almost certainty San Jose qualifies him, and hopefully luck will be on Acolatse’s side in 14-15.
Grade: C

Taylor Doherty (69 games, 4-11-15, -6, 111PIM)
Contract status: NHL RFA
A much better offensive season for Doherty than the past two, his biggest issue is once again his lack of ability to use size to his advantage. Because Doherty doesn’t play a particularly physical game opponents have no worries about skating toward him and trying to skate by him, and Doherty simply doesn’t have the speed or agility to stop them. He does use his reach fairly well, but that won’t be near good enough to make the NHL. Doherty really needs to learn to use his size or his future will be as an AHL depth defenseman.
Grade: D

Rob Davison (65 games, 3-6-9, -5, 113PIM)
Contract status: UFA
Davison was a serviceable NHL defenseman during his career, and he likely ends his pro career as a borderline serviceable AHL defenseman. Davison no longer possesses the speed to stop offensive players skating near him, and his physical game was far too often out of control and caused issues with everyone he was paired with by them being forced to cover more ground. Davison had a decent run as a pro hockey player, but unless something odd happens the end has come for him.
Grade: D

GOALTENDERS
Troy Grosenick (35 games, 18-14-0, 2.62, .903)
Contract status: 2nd year of two year NHL contract ($625,000/$80,000)
No one really knew what Grosenick was going to bring to the pro game, but his upside was thought to be high enough that San Jose burned his entry level year last season and signed him to a two year NHL contract over the summer. What Grosenick brought to Worcester was visions of fan favorite Alex Stalock: a mobile, athletic goaltender that plays an unconventional style but just finds ways to keep the puck out of the net. Regardless of what happens with other players Grosenick should be entering next season as the organization’s #3 goaltender and getting the majority of starts in Worcester.
Grade: A

Harri Sateri (45 games, 18-24-2, 2.95, .894)
Contract status: NHL RFA
Sateri had a hot and cold season, and unfortunately for him and the WorSharks it was cold far too often and never really hot enough during the rare occasions it was going well. While a poor defense in front of him lead to lots of problems, Sateri constantly failed to help himself by just not being able to consistently make the easy saves a pro goaltender at this level should make. Sateri was tied for second in the AHL for most losses this season and was not in the top 30 in either goals against or save percentage. San Jose will probably still qualify him, but don’t be shocked if Sateri bolts for Europe.
Grade: D

HOCKEY OPS
Head coach Roy Sommer
Once again on paper this was a team that should have made the AHL playoffs. Instead, for the fourth season in a row, they finish outside the post season. Sommer did set the AHL record for career games as a head coach and the Sharks organization held a large ceremony honoring that achievement. Sommer is also the losingest head coach in the 78 year history of the AHL, but for some reason the organization didn’t hold a ceremony honoring that. At some point hockey operations in San Jose has to realize the Roy Sommer era needs to end, and that some new blood in developing prospects might help them in winning the Stanley Cup.
Grade: F

WorSharks GM Joe Will
Taking over for Wayne Thomas, Will inherited a team lacking any sort of offensive firepower. After giving the WorSharks players some time to see if a goal scorer emerged Will then went out and signed several legitimate minor league goal scorers to bolster the Worcester line-up. Some worked out, other didn’t. But Will kept trying, including having San Jose trade (or loan) away some NHL contracts in an “addition by subtraction” effort. For the most part, that worked out for the WorSharks. Will’s real test is next season. let’s see who he brings in to get this team into the post season.
Grade: B

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