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Next Wave: Top Performers

by Kyle Stuetzel /

We had a number of prospects step up and make a significant impact for their respective teams in both the U.S. and overseas despite how unique this season was.

As we continue to recap our prospects' seasons, let's take a look at our top performers in this edition of our Next Wave report presented by Kaiser Permanente:

It is easy to know exactly who our top performer was this year, as 2020 second-round San Jose Sharks draft selection Thomas Bordeleau won several awards and accolades for his impressive freshman season at Michigan and was named Sharks Prospect of the Year.

Bordeleau, at no fault of his own, missed out on some of the top hockey in the world during his freshman season at the University of Michigan, as covid protocols derailed his chance to appear at the World Juniors for Team USA and play in the opening game of the NCAA tournament.

However, he still had an incredible season and was one of the most dynamic young skaters in the league, leading freshman skaters in assists, points, assists-per-game (.92) and points-per-game. He ranked sixth in the NCAA in assists and earned points in 10 straight individual games (officially an eight-game streak as he missed two games for USA's World Junior's selection camp) scoring 14 points in that span.

Throughout his impressive campaign, he was acknowledged with two "Sharks Prospect of the Week" awards, a Big Ten Third Star (November 25), Rookie of the Month Runner Up for November, and Named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Second Team and Big Ten All-Freshman team.

He was not the only one who impressed in his 2020-21 campaign as Jonathan Dahlen of Timra in the Allsvenskan league (Sweden's second-highest tier of hockey) helped lead his team to the championship and earn promotion to the Swedish Hockey League.

He earned his second straight 70-point season and led the Allsvenskan in points, assists, and was tied for second in goals. In his first eight games, he notched six separate three-point contests and had three hat tricks in the regular season.

Then in the postseason, Dahlen continued to lead his team to victory, recording at least one point in 14 of his 15 playoff games. He finished on a 14-game point streak, and led all players in postseason goals, assists, and points.

He accumulated several awards, including Allsvenskan MVP and Forward of the Year for the second straight season and was named Playoff MVP.

Danil Gushchin, a member of the Muskegon in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and also a 2020 draft selection for the Sharks, completed his season with 64 points, which ranked fifth in the league.

What is impressive about Gushchin's year is that the league saw a juggernaut in the Chicago Steel who held the top four skaters in points in the league. He was the first player behind those skaters and the only player to reach the 30-goal and 60-point threshold and not play for Chicago.

Gushchin set career highs in several offensive categories this year, including goals, assists, points, and game-winning goals (7). He opened his season with seven points in his first three games which included a hat-trick, then he registered a five-game multi-point streak from January 22-31 and earned three Sharks Prospect of the Week awards.

By the end of the season, he tallied at least one point in 34 of his 46 contests, and his longest 'drought' was a two-game streak. He recorded one seven-game point streak, which included assists in six straight, and two separate six-game point streaks on the year and set a franchise record for Muskegon for most career points after scoring his second goal of the game on January 31.

Thus far in his career, Gushchin has collected 147 points in 139 career games.

For the full Sharks player report, click here.

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