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Top Prospects for San Jose Sharks

by Eric Gilmore / San Jose Sharks

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 30 teams throughout August. Today, the San Jose Sharks.

The San Jose Sharks didn't have a first- or third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft but spent the prior two years acquiring extra picks and restocking with young talent.

The Sharks had nine draft picks in 2015, including right wing Timo Meier, the No. 9 selection. They had eight selections in 2014, highlighted by left wing Nikolay Goldobin at No. 27.

"I think our system is really well replenished, and I think there's opportunity for young guys," general manager Doug Wilson said. "The competition is something we're really looking forward to in September."

Here are the Sharks' top five prospects, according to NHL.com:

1. Timo Meier, RW

How acquired: Selected with No. 9 pick in 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Halifax (QMJHL): 23 GP, 11-25-36; Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL): 29 GP, 23-28-51

Meier, 19, made a strong push to secure a spot on the Sharks roster out of training camp last season. His combination of size (6-foot-1, 209 pounds), strength and speed could have him ready to make the jump; the question is whether Wilson and Sharks coach Peter DeBoer believe Meier needs a few weeks or months with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League to ease his transition from the junior level.

"I think you get more mature as you get older," Meier said during Sharks development camp in July. "I think I learned a lot last season, last year in the camp, in the NHL camp with the big guys. I had a good season last year."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

2. Markus Sorensen, RW

How acquired: Signed as free agent May 13, 2016

Last season: Djurgardens IF (SWE): 47 GP, 15-19-34

Sorensen stood out at development camp with his speed and two-way game. He has a chance to follow fellow Scandinavian forwards Melker Karlsson (Sweden) and Joonas Donskoi (Finland) and make the Sharks roster out of camp as a rookie free agent. Karlsson accomplished that two seasons ago; Donskoi made the NHL roster last season.

"Of course I see that opportunity, but it's really hard," Sorensen, 24, said at development camp. "There's a lot of guys battling for a few spots. It's going to be hard, but of course those guys are doing really good, so I'm trying to go the same way. I'm doing 100 percent every day. That's what I want."

Sorensen (5-11, 170) was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round (No. 106) of the 2010 NHL Draft but did not sign a contract. Two seasons ago, he was Rookie of the Year in the SHL with 17 goals and 15 assists in 50 games.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

3. Nikolay Goldobin, LW

How acquired: Selected with No. 27 pick of 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: San Jose (NHL): 9 GP, 1-1-2; San Jose (AHL): 60 GP, 21-23-44

Goldobin, 20, got off to a slow start in the AHL last season but came on strong and tied for the Barracuda lead with 21 goals. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward is a skilled offensive player but needs to get stronger and improve defensively to compete full-time in the NHL. He had a minus-9 rating in 60 AHL games.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

4. Jeremy Roy, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 31 pick of 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Sherbrooke (QMJHL): 45 GP, 6-28-34

The Sharks traded up in the second round in 2015 to take Roy (6-0, 188), who had been projected as a potential first-round selection. He played his third season for Sherbrooke but took a step back, at least statistically, with 34 points. He had 44 points (14-30-44) in 64 games in 2013-14 and 43 points (5-38-43) in 46 games in 2014-15. Roy, who turned 19 in May, needs to develop before he can challenge for a spot on a defense that has six veterans plus Dylan DeMelo (45 NHL games) and Mirco Mueller (50).

Projected NHL arrival: 2018-19

5. Kevin Labanc, RW

How acquired: Selected with No. 171 pick of 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Barrie (OHL): 65 GP, 39-88-127

The Sharks have had success in the later rounds of the draft and hope Labanc (5-10, 175), who signed an entry-level contract in March, turns out to be latest example. The 20-year-old led the Ontario Hockey League with 127 points last season and had 31 goals and 76 assists in 2014-15.

"Kevin has become one of the premier point producers in the OHL and has elevated his game to new heights this season," Wilson said. "His smart, crafty play with the puck has made him a dangerous player, but with the help of Barrie's head coach Dale Hawerchuk, his game has improved physically and in the defensive end as well."

Projected NHL arrival: 2018-19

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