Meeting an early June deadline to sign recent draft picks or lose their rights and allow them to re-enter the 2006 NHL Draft on June 24, San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson signed three prospects on Friday. Inked to new entry level contracts were defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
, goaltender Thomas Greiss
and center Michal Macho. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The next step for these players is to move into the professional ranks,” said Wilson of the trio who have each displayed success with their most recent teams. The Sharks have moved their top development team in the American Hockey League from Cleveland to Worcester, Mass. where the Worcester Sharks will open the 2006-07 season at the DCU Center. Led by Head Coach Roy Sommer, an environment for success and development has been fostered over the past decade, which is paying huge dividends in the present.
San Jose’s track record of developing and promoting talent from within is envious. Twenty-one of the 28 players on the Sharks 2006 playoff roster were either drafted by San Jose or signed with the Sharks as a free agent to their first pro contract. In addition, the Sharks opening night roster last season featured an NHL-leading 67% of players drafted by the team.
Vlasic, a six-foot-one, 190-pound defenseman, recently helped lead the host Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior League to a Memorial Cup Championship, finishing with a tournament leading +7 plus/minus rating and tied for third in scoring among defenseman with three assists in four games. He assisted on two goals, including the game-winning goal, in the Championship game.
The Memorial Cup is the championship trophy of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Each year the Memorial Cup Tournament features the champions from three CHL member leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) and the host CHL team, competing for the top prize in Junior Men's (Under 21) ice hockey. In 2006, The Moncton Wildcats were chosen to host, and also defeated the Québec Remparts in the 2006 QMJHL championship series and chose to compete in the Memorial Cup as league champions. As runner-up, the Québec Remparts competed as the host.
The Montreal, Quebec native completed the regular season ranked second on the Remparts in scoring among defensemen with 73 points (16 goals, 57 assists) and eighth on the squad overall. Serving as assistant captain, he ranked third on the team in plus-minus with a plus-41 player rating and finished fourth in the league (QMJHL) in scoring among defensemen.
Drafted by San Jose in 2005 (2nd round, 35th overall), his strong play garnered an invitation for Team Canada for the 2006 IIHF World Jr. Tournament, where he was among the final 34 players in camp.
In the QMHJL playoffs, Vlasic led the League in points among defensemen and finished fifth overall with 29 points (five goals, 24 assists) in 23 games. Vlasic’s 24 assists in the playoffs ranked second in the QMJHL and first among defensemen while his three game-winning goals tied for second-most in the League.
A native of Koln, Germany, Greiss (pronounced GRYCE) finished third in the DEL (German) league in save percentage (.926) and ranked sixth in the league in goals-against average (2.46). The top goaltender for the Koln Sharks, the six-foot-one, 190-pound netminder appeared in 27 of the team’s 49 games, logging 1,560 minutes.
Drafted by San Jose in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft (3rd round, 94th overall), Greiss was selected to represent Germany in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, joining fellow countrymen and current San Jose Sharks Marcel Goc and Christian Ehrhoff. Greiss played one game for Team Germany on Feb. 16 in a 5-1 defeat by Team Canada.
Macho, who has spent the last four seasons with the HC Slovan in the Slovakia League, notched 15 points (10 goals, five assists) in 49 games last season while posting a plus-10 rating. He ranked fifth on the team in goals and eighth on the team in points. In addition, Macho tied the team lead for game-winning goals with four.
In 2004-05, the six-foot-one, 175-pound center posted a career-high 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 44 games. The 24-year old Martin, Slovakia native, was originally selected by San Jose in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (7th round, 183rd overall.
OTHER ROSTER MOVES
Wilson also announced that goaltenders Jason Churchill of Saint John (QMJHL) (2003, 4th round, 129th overall) and Brian Mahoney-Wilson of Lincoln (USHL) (2004, 9th round, 288th overall) were not signed and will re-enter the NHL Entry Draft.
Defenseman Tero Maatta (Espoo, Finland) (2000, 2nd round 41st overall) has become a free agent.