If there's one thing San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic proved early in his career it's that there's always a spot reserved in the lineup if you're good enough to play.
That's the message Sharks coach Todd McLellan conveyed during the team's development camp last month. Vlasic was 19 in 2006 when he arrived at Sharks training camp one year after being drafted. He made the team and played 81 games en route to being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.
There are a few young prospects along the Sharks' defense group hoping to follow a similar path this season, including 2013 first-round pick Mirco Mueller.
"It's a younger League now," McLellan said. "There's a lot of young players that are playing and being effective. We have to encourage that, and we are as an organization. But we also want players to be in a situation where they can grow and have some success, so [Mueller] and everybody else that may play here have to be able to maintain a standard of play that allows them to grow throughout the year."
The Sharks moved up two spots to No. 18 in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings at the 2013 NHL Draft to select Mueller. It cost the organization 2013 first- and second-round choices, all the proof needed in determining how much the organization values Mueller.
But he isn't the only defensive prospect sure to open some eyes in training camp in September.
Here's a look at the Sharks' top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com: