It did not take long for the San Jose Sharks to show off their new up-and-coming forward—a player they hope will contribute during the 2013-14 season and long into the future.
Hmm. Tomas Hertl in same #SJSharks group as Thornton and Burns. Yeah, I think they're giving rookie an early shot on that line.— David Pollak (@PollakOnSharks) September 11, 2013
While Hertl is not expected to start the season on a line with Brent Burns and Joe Thornton (Tyler Kennedy is likely to replace T.J. Galiardi there), he is expected to make the team. Learning and growing at the NHL level on the third or fourth line is sure to help make the adjustment much smoother.
Hertl’s NHL appeal is simple: He has an NHL-ready hockey IQ with all the experience and skills necessary to produce at the next level.
He has played with players older than him all his life, which should make the leap to the NHL easier for him than most 19-year-olds.
CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz addressed that in July.
Hertl just completed his second year in the Czech League, scoring a team-leading 30 points (18g, 12a) in 43 games for Slavia Praha. The Sharks organization likes that Hertl has played in a league that features many players older than him, including several ex-NHL’ers.
Whether or not there is a spot on the Sharks’ opening-night roster is not a question.
Scott Gomez and T.J. Galiardi’s departures from the team during the offseason left two spots available. One of those will belong to offseason acquisition Kennedy. The chance of Martin Havlat returning to the team is an afterthought at this point as well.
Would you like to see Tomas Hertl start the season in San Jose?
A spot on the presumed third line is expected to come down to a preseason competition among several young Sharks, but it most definitely involves the front-runner Hertl.
The Sharks would be wise to give him a shot—at least to start the season. His hockey experience far outweighs that of the next best player for the spot and his potential is dying to be tapped into.
The biggest questions surrounding him are, how good is this player as it stands and does he need time in Worcester to develop?
Preseason will surely decide that, but all prior indications are that this prospect is the real deal and ready to show it now.
Follow me on Twitter @ScottSemmler22