As we get ready for the the 2014-15 season, it may be time to get yourself reacquainted with your team’s minor league affiliates and what could be in store for your team should they need a call-up or two. I’ll go through them team by team in hopes that this enlightens some people to their affiliate teams. Today, we go cross-country, like the San Jose Sharks do on their call ups, as we venture to Worcester, Massachusetts
Affiliate Since: 1996-97 (As Kentucky Thoroughblades and Cleveland Barons)
Distance From Parent Team (Arena to Arena): 3,096 miles
Last Season: 36-34-4-2, 4th in Atlantic Division, 11th in Eastern Conference
For a fourth straight season, Worcester missed the playoffs and for a fourth straight year, they saw their goal-scoring decrease. With only one 20-goal scorer and three others in the teens in goals, the Sharks couldn’t get consistent secondary scoring to help them out and vault them to their first playoff performance since 2010.
There was no second-year slump for Freddie Hamilton, who potted 22 goals and 43 points in 64 contests, making him the leading goal scorer and point scorer for the Sharks on the season. Hamilton also lead the team in power play goals with eight, while Danil Tarasov was second with seven power play goals. When Bracken Kearns was returned from San Jose, he had seven points in 17 games, including a four-game point streak, but wasn’t enough to help the stagnant offense Worcester conjured up, while rookie Eriah Hayes had 12 of his 21 points in the last two months of the season.
It was a downer of a year for goalie Harri Sateri, who only put up 18 wins in 45 appearances and had a GAA of 2.95 and a terrible save percentage of .894. Rookie Troy Grosenick had a stellar March and April with a 7-4 record and had as many wins as Sateri in 10 less games, especially after a shaky early part of the season.
Though part of that issue in goaltending is that the defense was rather inexperienced, with rookies Dylan DeMelo and Konrad Abeltshauser being two of the top guys on the blue line. Matt Tennyson and Adam Comrie played well offensively, but didn’t seem to help themselves much in stopping the rush or helping out his goaltending. Though, Sena Acolatse missing most of the season could have helped curve some of the season woes, but reasonably it doesn’t seem that it would have matter if they couldn’t have scored more often.
Leading Scorers: Freddie Hamilton (22g, 21a), Travis Oleksuk (19g, 21a), Dan DaSilva (17g, 20a)
Possible Frequent Flyers: The Sharks have seemingly converted Dylan DeMelo to offensive, which could give him a better shot at getting up to San Jose, with Tyler Doughty and Matt Tennyson probably getting looks on the blue line should there be problems in San Jose. There’s an off-chance that Danil Tarasov will be getting a call-up, but he’ll have to actually provide some more offense to even get a peek.
Outlook: With what looks like the conversion of DeMelo to a winger, the offensive pop could get a little better, but the goaltending will be a very big issue with Sateri not signed as of this writing and Grosenick still trying to feel out the professional game. Freddie Hamilton will have to increase his scoring pace for a second straight year for Worcester to have a shot at the playoffs, with Tarasov and Travis Oleksuk having to really get their game together in order to aid Hamilton a lot more.