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Prospects Show Off Skills in 2018 Prospect Showcase

by Nicole Grazioli @sanjosesharks / sjsharks.com

SAN JOSE, CA -  The San Jose Sharks prospects wrapped up a week at development camp with a scrimmage in front of nearly 5,000 hockey-starved fans at SAP Center. Here were some of the highights: 

Tweet from @SanJoseSharks: It's hockey. In July. And it's underway! pic.twitter.com/yq4TDh7Wjq

Tweet from @SanJoseSharks: Who had Jacob Middleton for the first goal of the scrimmage? ��#SJSharks pic.twitter.com/WLyWQTjnb5

Tweet from @SanJoseSharks: Karlsson (Linus, not Melker) ties it up for Team Marchment right away!#SJSharks pic.twitter.com/aiaOeJGoON

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Camp Quotes: Maxim Letunov

by Ann Frazier / sjsharks.com

Camp Quotes: Maxim Letunov

Camp Quotes: Maxim Letunov

Check out San Jose Sharks prospect Maxim Letunov in this episode of Camp Quotes

  • 01:05 •

After spending three years at UConn, center Maxim Letunov is looking to make a statement in his first development camp as a pro. 

But that doesn't mean that it's his first camp. "I've been to five camps already, this is my fifth one," said Letunov. "Every year I take something new from each camp. I meet new guys and see new stretches and workouts and on-ice stuff."

Letunov, a center from Moskva, Russia, was originally drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft by the St. Louis Blues, before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes and then the San Jose Sharks. In 36 games with the NCAA's UConn Huskies this season, Letunov scored 12 goals and 16 assists in 36 games. 

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Camp Quotes: Ryan Merkley

by Casey Krygier / sjsharks.com

Camp Quotes: Ryan Merkley

Camp Quotes: Ryan Merkley

Check out San Jose Sharks prospect Ryan Merkley in this episode of Camp Quotes

  • 01:00 •

2018 first round draft pick Ryan Merkley makes his first trip to Sharks Development Camp. Deemed as a "high-risk, high-reward player, there is great anticipation for Merkley's camp performance.

"Learn and grow and get better," Merkley notes what he hopes to get out of the week in San Jose.

"I'm the youngest kid here so I just got to learn and get better and compete against the older guys." This is true for the 17-year-old defenseman from Oakville, Ontario.

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Camp Quotes: Jacob Middleton

by Casey Krygier / sjsharks.com

Camp Quotes: Jacob Middleton

Camp Quotes: Jacob Middleton

Check out San Jose Sharks prospect Jacob Middleton in this episode of Camp Quotes

  • 01:00 •

Hailing from Stratford, Ontario, Jacob Middleton is attending his third Sharks Development Camp. Middleton may be a familiar face to many as he played the past two season with the San Jose Barracuda.

Even if he's a veteran at camp there is still a lot to absorb. "You're given so much information you just try to take it all in, learn as much as you can," the six-foot-three defensemen stated.

Another key as a returning camp attendee is to make the newbies feel welcomed. Middleton said he wants to "Help the younger guys coming in whose first camp it is and make them feel comfortable."

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Camp Quotes: Jayden Halbgewachs

by Ann Frazier / sjsharks.com

Camp Quotes: Jayden Halbgewachs

Camp Quotes: Jayden Halbgewachs

Check out San Jose Sharks prospect Jayden Halbgewachs in this episode of Camp Quotes

  • 00:59 •

An undrafted free agent signed by the San Jose Sharks this season, Jayden Halbgewachs is looking to make an impression at his first Sharks Development Camp.

Halbgewachs, a forward out of Emerald Park, Saskatchewan, turned a lot of heads this season with his play with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL. In 72 games this season, Halbgewachs scored 70 goals and 59 assists to lead scoring in all of the CHL (including the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL). 

Coming into camp, Halbgewachs said, "Each and every camp you go to you learn different things and learn more and more. I think it's just taking in all the knowledge you can and helping your game improve because of that."

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Prospect Spotlight: Mario Ferraro

by Joe Spurrier / sjsharks.com

Sharks prospect Mario Ferraro has flashed his talent at multiple levels throughout the early stages of his hockey career. After a productive year in the USHL with 41 points (eight goals and 33 assists) in 60 games, he rose up draft boards and the Sharks noticed.

Ferraro was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 2nd round (40th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He was the only blueliner that the team selected in that year's draft and one of four defensemen that the Sharks have drafted in the first two rounds since 2010.

After being drafted, Ferraro left the USHL to join the Massachusetts Minutemen in Hockey East of the NCAA.

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Prospect Spotlight: Jake Kupsky

by Joe Spurrier / sjsharks.com

It is often difficult to project how hockey players will develop. It is perhaps even more challenging with goaltenders. For this reason, many great NHL netminders fall to the later rounds or even go undrafted. Sharks goaltending prospect, Jake Kupsky waited until the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Draft before hearing that he would become the 193rd draft choice and the latest prospect of the San Jose Sharks.

Kupsky, listed at 6'4" and 200lbs, has nearly the exact same measurements as current Sharks goaltender Martin Jones. Kupsky is currently playing his best hockey in his third season at Union College. 

Kupsky was primarily slotted in a backup role during his first two seasons with Union. During the beginning of this season, he continued battling for the starting goalie role and has since secured it with a remarkable second-half performance.

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Prospect Spotlight: Alexander Chmelevski

by Joe Spurrier / sjsharks.com

The Sharks had several high-potential prospects fall to them in the second half of the 2017 NHL Draft. One of these players was Alexander "Sasha" Chmelevski, who wasn't selected until the sixth round (185th overall). Originally from Huntington Beach, Chmelevski became only the second California native to be drafted by the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks were thrilled to add his tremendous scoring ability and creativity with the puck to their rising prospect pool. Initially projected to be a third-round pick, several scouts saw him as one of the steals of the draft.

Chmelevski showed flashes of becoming a scoring threat in his first couple of seasons in the OHL, playing for both the Sarnia Sting and the Ottawa 67's. His tournament play for the U.S. National U17 team in 2015-16 impressed scouts, but he had trouble in carrying over the same production to the OHL the following season.

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Prospect Spotlight: Dylan Gambrell

by Joe Spurrier / sjsharks.com

Dylan Gambrell started this calendar year on a great note. In his first two games of 2018, Gambrell registered five points (3 goals and 2 assists), 15 shots and a +5 rating. His strong performance earned him Bauer National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Player of the Week honors.

A week later, it was announced that Gambrell was nominated for the 2018 Hobey Baker Award. The Hobey Baker Award is an annual award given to the top National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's ice hockey player. Jack Eichel (BUF) and Johnny Gaudreau (CGY) are some of the more recent winners.

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Balcers Leading the Way In Latest Group of Prospects

by Nick Nollenberger @NickNollen / sjsharks.com

The Jury is no longer out; moving the San Jose Sharks American Hockey League affiliate from Worcester, Mass. to San Jose in 2015 has been a smashing success for the Sharks player development program.

Over the last three seasons, 20 players have skated for both the Barracuda and Sharks - including 12 players on the Sharks current roster.

In 2016-17, with one of the AHL's youngest rosters, the Barracuda racked up countless accomplishments including capturing a Western Conference regular-season championship, and advancing to the Western Conference Final - both of which had never been accomplished by a Sharks affiliate. In addition, Head Coach Roy Sommer was named the AHL's Coach of the Year (Louis A.R. Pieri Award), Goaltender Troy Grosenick was voted the AHL's Goaltender of the Year (Aldege "Baz" Bastien Award), and Forward Danny O'Regan was awarded AHL Rookie of the Year honors (Dudley "Red" Garrett Award).

Seven players from last season's Barracuda Conference Finals team have spent significant time on the Sharks roster this season including Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Barclay Goodrow, Marcus Sorensen, and Danny O'Regan. An eighth - Ryan Carpenter - played 16 games with San Jose before being taken on waivers by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Naturally, any team would be negatively affected by losing seven of its top players from one season to the next, but the Barracuda have made admirable strides integrating new players into their line-up this season and are staying in the playoff hunt.

Perhaps no one has had a bigger impact than standout rookie Rudolfs Balcers, who represented the Barracuda at the AHL All-Star Classic earlier this week. The 20-year-old native of Liepaja, Latvia was selected by the Sharks in the fifth round (142 overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft and signed his entry-level deal with San Jose after development camp this summer.

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