Twice a year (preseason August and midseason January) we post prospect rankings. These rankings are based on potential and NHL readiness. The depth chart is based mostly on NHL readiness. Click here to see the preseason rankings. Click here for criteria.
The Shark's newest top prospect after Tomas Hertl's graduation, Mirco Mueller started the season in San Jose, but was continuously scratched through much of the first half. He was released to the World Juniors to play for Switzerland where he had one assist in seven games. Mueller is back in Worcester nursing an upper body injury but is expected to return to San Jose soon enough. The teenage defenseman has good size, skating, and puck moving ability, but he needs to learn to make quicker decisions.
Goldobin was one of the last forwards cut from training camp, and instead of going back to the OHL with Sarnia, he went overseas to the Liiga in Finland. With his agent (Igor Larionov) and the Shark's advice, Goldobin was to go to HIFK to gain experience playing against men and work on his defensive game. He's not putting up great numbers this season but is gaining strength and defensive acumen. Goldobin displayed his elite offensive skill, insane vision, and magic hands at the World Juniors for team Russia. He was used in a third line role but was the centerpiece of the almost-comeback against Canada in the Gold Medal Game, recording an assist and goal. Goldobin is a huge risk/reward pick that may turn into a skilled top-6 player or may not turn into anything at all.
Like Mueller, Tierney started the season in San Jose but was sent down in November after a few injured players returned to the Shark's lineup. He's been in Worcester ever since and is putting up almost a point per game. Tierney is known for his extremely high hockey IQ, which gives him the ability to make smart passes and good defensive plays using remarkable anticipation. Tierney is likely the Sharks 3C of the future, and with the current logjam at center, time in the AHL won't hurt the 20 year old.
Abeltshauser is in the middle of his second season with the Shark's AHL team. He has been the best defenseman down there and is looking to turn into another late-round quality NHL player for the Sharks. The huge defenseman has a shot at making the team next season in place of one of Hannan or Irwin, or the Sharks may choose to bring him up slowly, calling him up a few times to get him acquainted to the speed of the NHL.
The undrafted offseason signee, Goodrow surprised everyone when he made the Sharks out of training camp. An injury would prevent him from starting his season right away, as he made his NHL debut in Game #12 for the Sharks. Goodrow has been a high energy, physical, tenacious forechecker with the Sharks and has shown he can kill penalties. He seems like the type of guy who will be very important on the Sharks third line of the future, and can occasionally jump into the top-6 and not look out of place. He has looked very impressive for a 21-year old coming straight out of the OHL.
Tennyson is finally getting a chance to prove himself at the NHL level. He started the season with Worcester, but was called up in December after injuries ravaged the Sharks. He has been up ever since, partly because the Sharks have no third right handed defenseman after the Demers-Dillon trade, but nevertheless, he has been solid while not spectacular. Tennyson has good offensive instincts which earned him a spot on the 2nd PP unit. With Mueller expected to return, it's unclear if Tennyson will remain with the Sharks. He's an upgrade over Hannan/Irwin, so one if them will have to be moved.
Bergman is in his first season in North America with the London Knights (OHL) after coming over from Frolunda's J20 team in Sweden. He's been defensively solid and chips in offensively as the top-pairing defenseman for London. Bergman was one of the five Sharks that went to the World Juniors, and he was among Sweden's most consistent defensemen in the tournament. Bergman is very physical and has the knack to take undisciplined penalties. He's received game misconducts this year and will need to learn to stay composed when things get tough. Bergman is at an advantage being a right handed d-man, something the Sharks lack in their pipeline. He's already signed an entry-level contract, so don't be surprised so see him in San Jose in a year or two.
After being acquired by the Sharks in the 2014 offseason, Tye McGinn was expected to claim a spot on the 4th line. He has, but is struggling to stay in the lineup, something that shouldn't happen when your competition is John Scott, Mike Brown, etc. McGinn has been largely ineffective while in the lineup. The 3rd round pick given up to acquire him is starting to look like a mistake, especially with Barclay Goodrow breaking out into a bottom-6 spot. Still, he's 24 years old and in the NHL, which is why his stock hasn't dropped too much.
O'Regan is having a great season largely thanks to surefire top-2 pick Jack Eichel. O'Regan is playing on Eichel's wing and is benefiting greatly from the 2015 draft eligible's historic season. O'Regan, like Tarasov, is considered a boom/bust pick and has top-6 upside, the biggest questions now is if he can reach it. He has at least one more year left at BU, and due to the fact that Eichel is likely to play in the NHL next year, it will be a "prove yourself" season for O'Regan.
Aside from Chris Tierney, Daniil Tarasov is the best offensive weapon currently in Worcester, as he leads the team in points. The Russian was closer than expected to making the team last training camp, and is near the front of the line in terms of call-ups. Tarasov has top-6 upside but is considered a long-shot to hit it. In his third season with Worcester, he has yet to show he can take that next step.