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31 in 31

Top prospects for San Jose Sharks

Gambrell, True could fill open forward spots on NHL roster

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the San Jose Sharks, according to


[Sharks 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]


1. Dylan Gambrell, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 60 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: San Jose (NHL): 8 GP, 0-0-0; San Jose (AHL): 51 GP, 20-25-45

Gambrell (6-foot, 185 pounds), who turns 22 on Aug. 26, played in two Stanley Cup Playoff games last season and scored one goal in 13:20 of ice time in a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on May 21.

The 22-year-old should make the Sharks out of training camp with several forward spots open following the offseason departures of centers Joe Pavelski (Dallas Stars) and Gustav Nyquist (Columbus Blue Jackets) and forward Joonas Donskoi (Colorado Avalanche), and the uncertainty of whether center Joe Thornton will return.

"The thing with [Dylan] is that he's so good with a 200-foot game and he wants to please the coaching staff, he wants to make sure everything's safe," Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr. said. "You don't want to make mistakes as a young guy, but to see him go into a Game 6 when he hasn't played in a while and he just has a good game. I think Dylan is going to be the guy that we're pretty excited about this year."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: SJS@STL, Gm6: Gambrell rifles home first NHL goal


2. Ryan Merkley, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 21 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: San Jose (AHL): 2 GP, 0-0-0; Guelph (OHL): 28 GP, 5-34-39; Peterborough (OHL): 35 GP, 9-23-32

Merkley (5-11, 170), a right-handed shot, is hoping to challenge for a place on the Sharks' third defense pair. The 19-year-old was plus-4 in the Ontario Hockey League last season after he was a combined minus-70 in the previous two.

"One thing that he's really good at is D-zone exits, his passing and his vision, being able to watch Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson do it," Wilson Jr. said. "He was with us at camp last year all the way until the end … He just has to keep growing and getting a bit stronger."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: 31 in 31: San Jose Sharks 2019-20 season preview


3. Jonathan Dahlen, F

How acquired: Trade from Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 25

Last season: Utica (AHL): 50 GP, 14-15-29; San Jose (AHL): 7 GP, 0-4-4

A second-round pick (No. 42) by the Ottawa Senators in the 2016 draft, Dahlen (5-11, 176) has already been traded twice and has yet to make his NHL debut. He split time with Utica and San Jose of the American Hockey League last season, his first as a professional.

The 21-year-old likely will play with Timra in Allsvenskan, Sweden's second-highest league behind the Swedish Hockey League, where he played in 2017-18 and had 44 points (23 goals, 21 assists) in 44 games. Dahlen is at least one season away from the NHL.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


4. Alexander True, F

How acquired: Signed as free agent July 18, 2018

Last season: San Jose (AHL): 68 GP, 24-31-55

The 22-year-old has played the past two seasons in the AHL, playing 68 games in each, nearly doubling his point total from 28 in 2017-18. He also was more responsible defensively, going from minus-7 to plus-16. 

True (6-5, 200) could provide some much-needed scoring depth for the Sharks.

"He's a kid who is going to try and come in and take a spot and really open up some eyes," Wilson Jr. said. "[He has 136] AHL games of experience as a 21-year-old, 6-5 center. ... this is a big camp for him. I think he knows that and I think he's going to be a guy to watch during the exhibition season."

Projected NHL arrival: This season


5. Mario Ferraro, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 49 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: UMass Amherst (NCAA): 41 GP, 2-12-14

Ferraro has played two seasons at UMass Amherst (37 points in 80 games) and was captain last season. The 20-year-old isn't big (5-11, 185), but what he lacks in size he makes up in hockey IQ. He will develop in the AHL this season.

"The one thing I kind of repeat with Mario is that you can't teach his motor," Wilson Jr. said. "He has so much energy and so much passion for the game, it's incredible. He looks so much more like a pro and is ready to be a pro."

Projected NHL arrival: 2021-22

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