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Sharks 2012 first-round draft pick Tomas Hertl.
The Sharks are an aging team in need of new blood. They have a good amount of players pushing the age of 30. While they may still have a few years left in their career, they can’t be as heavily relied on.
Take, for example, 33-year-old center Joe Thornton. Ever since joining the team in 2005, Thornton has been an offensive staple. In seven seasons with the team, Thornton has posted 155 goals and 469 assists. He led the Sharks in scoring in 2011-12 but can’t be expected to continue at that pace for many more years.
Thornton’s scoring numbers have been steadily declining. He hasn’t had a point-per-game season since 2009-10. This past season was the first time since joining the franchise that he scored less than 20 goals.
Thornton, in addition to the other aging Sharks, still have plenty of value to the team. The veteran players have an important responsibility when it comes to helping the younger players develop.
First-round draft pick Tomas Hertl is one prospect that is poised to break into the NHL anytime now. If it weren’t for the NHL Lockout, there’s a possibility that Hertl could have made his NHL debut with the Sharks.
Hertl is a good two-way center. He plays well in the defensive zone by reading plays and is adept at creating plays in the offensive zone. Some more seasoning with the Czech Slavia Praha HC will do him good.
There are plenty of other prospects that will continue to work towards their eventual NHL debut. Hertl is one of the few on the brink of a spot on the Sharks roster that will benefit from extra seasoning during the lockout, though.
Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Sportswriting Intern. To stay up to date with his WWE and NHL commentary, you can like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and follow him on Tout.