Forward Focus: Sharks Rookie Faceoff Takeaways on Eklund, Bordeleau & More

The San Jose Sharks loved a feeding frenzy to kick off the Rookie Faceoff, however issues went south the day past afternoon with the Los Angeles Kings.

On Friday, the Sharks crowned the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 off a highlight-reel William Eklund OT function. San Jose adopted that the following evening by means of pummeling the Colorado Avalanche 5-1.

Monday afternoon proved to be a siesta for the Sharks even though, because the Kings close them out 3-0 within the event finale.

No worry even though – by means of and massive, it used to be a a hit Rookie Faceoff for the San Jose Sharks possibilities. Various scouts commented on the emerging tide of Sharks’ younger skill, in comparison to tourneys previous.

Here are my takeaways from the event, in conjunction with San Jose Barracuda head trainer John McCarthy, assistant trainer Kyle Hagel, and NHL scouts’ ideas about William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau, Tristen Robins, Ozzy Wiesblatt, Ethan Cardwell, Mitchell Russell, and extra.

Let’s communicate forwards first, then I’ll upload some notes in regards to the defensemen and the goaltenders later.

First issues first. While the San Jose Sharks could have introduced extra skill than ever to the rookie tourney, I spoke with more than one NHL assets who watched the development that didn’t see any one clearly NHL-ready a few of the bunch. Yes, that suggests William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau, Ryan Merkley, Santeri Hatakka, you identify it. Anyway, it’s a foul signal for those who’re counting on possibilities from a rookie event to be on your NHL roster come the autumn – however that’s form of what the skill-deficient Sharks seem to be counting on.

That doesn’t imply that an Eklund didn’t reinforce over the summer season – he did, he regarded more potent after gaining a reported seven kilos of muscle, with out shedding any of his skating or offensive chops – however I’d warning towards penciling him within the opening evening line-up simply but. I do know, I’ve completed it myself.

Predicting Sharks’ Opening Night Roster

For what it’s price even though, it used to be Eklund himself who began gradual eventually yr’s Rookie Faceoff in Arizona earlier than gaining momentum within the preseason to earn himself a roster spot with the San Jose Sharks to begin final season. So I’m no longer penciling in any prospect or writing any one off from an NHL roster spot relatively but.

Forward Focus: Sharks Rookie Faceoff Takeaways on Eklund, Bordeleau & More

This is all Eklund right here, a excellent instance of his larger energy and still-present elusiveness and hockey IQ.

Eklund (72) shakes off 6-foot-3 Drew Helleson (43), lures in Olen Zellweger (51), and takes good thing about the 2-on-1 protection to seek out open guy Scott Reedy (54). With extra time and area, Reedy is in a position to simply in finding Santeri Hatakka (61) strolling down the slot for a golden alternative.

It used to be attention-grabbing to look the Sharks use Eklund within the excessive slot on the facility play. That’s a extra bodily place on the PP, you’re taking much more punishment, and it’s a space the place you’re compelled to shoot too, which speaks to spaces that they would like the smaller winger to reinforce.

“It was all good,” Eklund laughed in regards to the larger site visitors that he confronted at Tech CU Arena on the weekend.

“I thought his shot looked better when he came back this year,” McCarthy stated. “And I know we worked on it a lot over the summer. So he definitely got the message there and worked on it. I thought his release was quicker and it’s got a little more velocity on the puck too.”

Last yr, Eklund used to be used solely alongside the wall on the facility play, a tribute to his playmaking talent but additionally a mark that the Sharks had been attempting to offer protection to the 19-year-old rookie.

Speaking of the facility play, I believed it used to be attention-grabbing that the Sharks hardly ever used the drop cross on their PP breakouts all through the Rookie Faceoff. I’m no longer certain if it’s being phased out of Brian Wiseman and Scott Gordon’s assault, or only a twist of fate.

Hagel cautioned towards studying an excessive amount of into the Sharks’ Rookie Faceoff ways: “We gave these guys a little, tiny sliver of structure just so that can help them, they got something to rely upon when they’re out there. But our overarching message this weekend was mentality over systems. And the mentality just needs to be competitiveness.”

An NHL scout referred to as Bordeleau a top-five participant on this event, nevertheless it used to be faint reward, to some extent.

Another matter of dialogue this previous weekend used to be that this Rookie Faceoff didn’t have as a lot high-end, NHL-ready skill as earlier engagements. Last yr, for instance, NHL’ers Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale, Alex Newhook, Bowen Byram, Arthur Kaliyev, and Sean Durzi participated. Scouts aren’t as certain that this yr’s Rookie Faceoff will graduate as many instant NHL regulars.

McCarthy famous on Bordeleau: “Especially [with] the way the Sharks want to play is playing on the inside, get into the net, get into those high traffic areas. I think he’s very, very good at setting people up and working on the perimeter, and I think if we can get him inside the dots and making plays in there, I think that’s going to lead to more success for him. And we’ve talked to him about that as well.”

Staying with the 2020 second-rounder, the similar factor with puck control that I noticed in his NHL cup of espresso used to be obvious all through this rookie tourney too.

A scout jogged my memory even though: “They will be in the AHL, get stripped, coach chirps him, then he doesn’t do it again. Have to learn that from experience, don’t want to coach the creativity out of a player, give them some time to learn what works and what doesn’t.”

I feel this scout is true on each counts: On one hand, you wish to have Bordeleau to be Bordeleau, however finding out on the fly in the most productive league on the planet might not be beneficial.

Speaking of some other smallish centerman, Tristen Robins flashed on this tourney, appearing some motor, velocity, and talent. I query how the 5-foot-10 middle will cope defensively on the upper ranges, however I used to be reminded by means of a scout that Robins is each speedy and robust sufficient to get beneath larger avid gamers. That’s exhausting to gauge towards rather low-level Rookie Faceoff pageant, however we’ll see how that works out for the 2020 second-round select within the AHL this yr.

Also of word is how the Sharks used Robins closely on the faceoff circle and on the PK on this tourney. Those are patently essential talents for Robins so as to add to his portfolio. I in finding it attention-grabbing to notice that Robins received simply 49 % of his attracts final yr with the Saskatoon Blades, indicating that this house is an actual paintings in development.

Speaking of some other 2020 select, I wonder whether first-rounder Ozzy Wiesblatt has form of plateaued? It suits with what I’ve heard from the Prince Albert group, the place there used to be some sadness that Wiesblatt didn’t step up his recreation final yr with the Raiders. Wiesblatt confirmed the similar velocity and edge right here that made him an attractive select for the Sharks two years in the past, however we’ll see how a lot he’s gotten higher with the Cuda.

Finally, 2020 fourth-rounder Brandon Coe began off gradual for me, problems with tempo and no longer enjoying speedy sufficient within the opening recreation, however I preferred his effort towards the Avalanche. A scout agreed, noting that Coe seems to be extra a complementary participant as an alternative of a play driving force. He’s a large guy with some velocity and talent, however it would take a little time for him to position it in combination on the professional point.

“I think he’s got a little work to do in establishing that base to his game. We’ve talked to him about putting on the brakes in good ice as opposed to swinging through. He’s so fast, he wants to maintain his speed. But I think if he can put the brakes on sometimes in some of those areas, I think he’ll be in better spots to make plays. But he’s taking strides,” McCarthy stated of Coe. “He’s on track to have a long career.”

Besides Eklund, a 2021 San Jose Sharks’ draft select who flashed right here used to be fourth-rounder Ethan Cardwell. Cardwell confirmed breakaway velocity on more than one events, even though he failed to complete. Of better worry, and why I feel it could be beneficial for the 20-year-old to go back for his overage season with the Barrie Colts, used to be he regarded a bit of mild in the market, a bit of too simple to frame off. Not from a loss of effort, thoughts you, however he may use some other yr of having his frame waiting for professional hockey?

Forward Focus: Sharks Rookie Faceoff Takeaways on Eklund, Bordeleau & More

Here’s Cardwell (56) struggling with for place towards 6-foot-6 22-year-old Andre Lee.

I preferred this PK effort from Mitchell Russell (64) within the loss to the Kings, the wherewithal to trap in Francesco Pinelli (38) then sidestep him, then to rag the puck again to kill extra time.

Forward Focus: Sharks Rookie Faceoff Takeaways on Eklund, Bordeleau & More

Russell appears to be an intriguing prospect, no longer a excessive ceiling however must play within the NHL.

McCarthy had a excellent phrase about tryout Josh Lawrence’s appearing towards the Avs, and the pinnacle trainer made excellent of it by means of raising Lawrence to the second one line within the finale.

“I was using him on faceoffs. He’s not a big player but plays on the inside, plays the right way, working above pucks. I was impressed with what he did,” McCarthy stated.

But in truth, in a recreation the place it used to be tricky for the Sharks to generate offense, I didn’t see a lot from the QMJHL megastar towards the Kings.

However, Hagel stated of Lawrence after the loss: “He skates pretty well. I like his demeanor around the room, just kind of goes about his business. As a centerman, I think he’s pretty responsible, not cheating to go on offense. He’s definitely an interesting prospect.”

It wouldn’t be sudden to look the Sharks or Barracuda lengthen Lawrence a freelance.

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