The San Jose Sharks were one of only two teams to finish with a 2-1 record at the inaugural Young Stars Tournament in 2010; the Sharks took a bite out of the Ducks 4-1 in their opening game, fell 5-3 to the Canucks on Day 2, then snuck past the Oilers 4-3 to close out a successful showing.
Last year San Jose was fourth in goals scored (11) and second in goals against (9) with 126 penalty minutes, 12 more than the second place Canucks and 61 ahead of the Flames and their reserved 65 minutes in the sin bin.
Individually, four Sharks shone in the spotlight led by forward Michael Sgarbossa who was second in tournament scoring with three goals and an assist in just two games. Benn Ferriero finished a point back collecting a Young Stars-high three helpers; the penalty minute title went to Kevin Henderson at 22 and between the pipes J.P. Anderson was undefeated in two starts.
If San Jose was icing the same team in 2011 as 2010, they’d be favourites to return to the top of the standings, but only eight of 24 skaters are returning from last season (6 forwards and two defencemen) so it’s tough to predict how this group will perform.
Luckily Sgarbossa is back, as are rocksteady defencemen Taylor Doherty and goaltender Anderson. That triple-threat ensures the Sharks will be predators instead of pray more often than not.
You want to be in Penticton to check out the Sharks, but: A – you don't want to lose the parking spot in front of your house, B – your psychic warned you about going out, C – the XFL is holding open tryouts or D – you're locked into a Three's Company marathon on Deja View; well don’t sweat it. Again. Like last year, Canucks.com has your back.
All eight games of the Young Stars Tournament will be available live on Canucks.com beginning September 11th. Full details on the Young Stars Tournament can be found at canucks.com/youngstars.
F - Signed as free agent in 2010 – The 5-foot-11, 170-pound left winger from Campbellville, Ontario, was as dominant as ever in the OHL last season with 82 points (36-46-82), 30 more than a season prior. In his three year OHL career between the Barrie Colts, Saginaw Spirit and Sudbury Wolves, Sgarbossa has 177 points in 197 games; he’s not quite a point a game player, but he will be in Penticton. He’ll be near the top of the points leaderboard, if not on top, when the dust settles.
F - Drafted 7th round, 189th overall, in 2009 – Hard work pays off and Viedensky’s game has blossomed because he’s kept his nose to the grindstone. The Slovakian made his debut in the WHL three seasons ago with 40 points (16-24-40) and increased that to 59 (20-39-59) in Year 2, then, boom shack-a-lak, he finished the 2010-11 campaign 10th in Western Hockey League scoring with 88 points (36-52-88), the most points of any Sharks prospect coming to Penticton. Defences beware.
G - Signed as free agent in 2010 – You don’t go 2-0 with only four goals against at the 2010 Young Stars Tournament then 38-10-1 with six shutouts and a 2.36 GAA for the Mississauga Ice Dogs of the OHL if you lack mad skillz. Anderson, the only goaltender to win every start in Penticton last season, will again make scoring next to impossible this year. Put everything on net and have bodies in front and it might help, although Anderson’s 46 saves was the second highest of the 2010 tournament, meaning he’ll steal a game or two for the Sharks.
F - Drafted 6th round, 193rd overall, in 2005 – It’s tough to call Lucia a true sleeper because he’s the oldest player competing at Young Stars, so odds are good you’ve seen him before. As part of San Jose’s system since 2005, Lucia played for his hometown University of Minnesota for four seasons and he’s now battling for a spot with the Worchester Sharks. He’s a man of intangibles doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Combine that with his veteran status and he’s sure to turn some heads.