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Prospect Spotlight: Mike Robinson

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

Developing goaltenders is a long-term project. Unlike some skaters who can make a sudden impact in the NHL at 18 or 19, goalies tend to take longer to mature. Look at the Barracuda's Troy Grosenick for example - all of a sudden, he's turned into the AHL's best goaltender at the age of 27. That's also the same age Sharks netminder Aaron Dell made his NHL debut this year.

Sharks prospect Mike Robinson (@mike32robinson) hopes to be the next in a long line of success stories, even if it takes a little while.

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Prospect Spotlight: Gage Ausmus

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

The NCAA Frozen Four is set. While Sharks prospect Dylan Gambrell and his Denver University Pioneers will be there April 6th in the semifinals, not every Sharks prospect can be so lucky.

For defenseman Gage Ausmus (@Gausmus47), his college career at North Dakota finished in heartbreaking fashion. The perennial powerhouse program was eliminated from the tournament on Friday in a 4-3 double overtime loss to Boston University. Ausmus had taken his team to the Frozen Four in the previous 3 seasons. Despite the loss, he finished the night with a +2 rating in the game.

"I would have liked to win this one, move on and go to the Frozen Four again," Ausmus said to the Grand Forks Herald. "But I can't ask for anything more. It would be selfish. I can't ask for more than what I had here, the success we had and the memories I've created will last forever."

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Prospect Spotlight: Tim Clifton

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

While the month of March is well known for its postseason basketball tournaments, it's also when the NCAA Hockey postseason begins. And whenever a team gets eliminated in March, there's a mad scramble by NHL general managers to sign the players who are finished with their college careers.

So when Quinnipiac's season came to a close, center Tim Clifton became a target for Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. He became the newest member of the Sharks organization on March 19 when was signed to a two-year contract.

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Prospect Spotlight: Jake Marchment

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

As much as call-ups and send-downs are part of minor league sports, getting loaned to a different organization is a little more rare. But the San Jose Barracuda have loaned a couple prospects out this season to an ECHL team that isn't their affiliate.

Earlier this season, the Barracuda loaned Matt Willows to the Reading Royals. In a much bigger role than he could have had in Allen, Willows has proceeded to score at roughly a point-per-game pace for the Royals.

Just last week, the Barracuda loaned another prospect out. This time it was forward Jake Marchment.

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Prospect Spotlight: Marcus Vela

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

With the start of the NCAA's postseason tournaments, it should be an exciting time for all the Sharks prospects in the college ranks. However, for University of New Hampshire forward Marcus Vela, it also has to be a frustrating one as he is forced to watch from the sidelines.

A regular in the Wildcat lineup all season, Vela injured his ankle and has missed the last six games, including the three games of Hockey East's opening round. While UNH was able to take the series from Merrimack College, Vela could only cheer on his teammates. He is unlikely to return this season. It was an especially bittersweet weekend for Vela, who also just turned 20 last Friday.

It's been a somewhat frustrating season for the Burnaby, B.C. native all-around. The Wildcats found themselves with a losing record, and Vela's numbers dropped a bit from last season.

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Prospect Spotlight: Dylan Gambrell

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

As the NCAA Hockey regular season winds down, Denver University forward and Sharks prospect Dylan Gambrell is just heating up. The sophomore dominated his two games last weekend against St. Cloud State, scoring two goals the first game and racking up three assists the next night.

For his efforts, Gambrell was named NCHC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season, as well as the NCAA's Second Star of the Week.

The 20-year-old center now finds himself leading the Pioneers offensively. In 29 games this season, Gambrell has 11 goals and 23 assists to go along with a +16 rating. Although Gambrell leading the charge should be expected, he was named by College Hockey News to the Preseason All-CHN 1st team this year.

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Prospect Spotlight: Maxim Letunov

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

Some players go their entire careers without being traded. Others get traded multiple times before even going pro. This is the case of Sharks prospect and UConn Huskies forward Maxim Letunov.

The Sharks acquired Letunov in a trade on June 20, 2016 from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a pair of draft picks. But that wasn't the first time he was traded. Originally drafted by the Blues, he was a key piece traded to Arizona in a trade deadline rental for Zbynek Michalek.

Letunov, who just turned 21 on Monday, is likely one of the prospects in the organization with the highest potential. College Hockey News named him a 2nd team Preseason All-American heading into the year.

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Prospect Spotlight: Mark Shoemaker

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

Listed at 6'3", 187 pounds, North Bay Battalion defenseman Mark Shoemaker has the size to be a physical, shutdown defenseman at any level. And that's certainly more his style than of an offensive defenseman. In 53 games this season, Shoemaker has 10 points, all assists.

Interestingly, 3 of those 10 assists have come shorthanded, and all since Jan 27. While that may be more coincidence than a Brad Marchand-esque ability to pick up shorthanded points, this recent stretch does show that the Battalion coaching staff has been trusting him with plenty of time on the penalty kill.

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Prospect Spotlight: Jake Kupsky

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

It takes time for some NHL prospects to develop. Not everyone breaks right into the NHL. This is especially true in goal. Goaltender Jake Kupsky (@kubby10) is another asset the Sharks hope pays off in the long term.

A sophomore at Union College, Kupsky is currently the back-up to senior goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos. While the elder Sakellaropoulos is entrenched as the starter, an injury allowed Kupsky the chance to start back to back games this past week.

He especially shined in a game against Colgate, putting up 26 saves in a 3-1 win.

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Prospect Spotlight: Jamie Murray

by Jonathan Wold / sjsharks.com

Through the first nine weeks of this series, all the highlighted players have been either forwards or defensemen. That changes this week with Allen Americans goaltender Jamie Murray in the spotlight.

A native of Scituate, Massachusetts, Murray put together an absolutely stellar college career at NCAA DIII Babson College. From his sophomore year on, Murray played in 22+ games each season with goals-against-averages between 1.50 and 1.68, and save percentages of .940 or better. His career .940 save percentage ranks second in NCAA DIII history.

"Jamie has left an indelible mark on the Babson hockey record books as one of the most decorated players in our history, and he now has a tremendous opportunity ahead of him,"Babson head coach Jamie Rice said in a statement last year. "The Sharks organization is renowned for their development of players and I know they will help Jamie reach his full potential."

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