PITTSBURGH - Of all the names that are mentioned when it comes to the Sharks pool of prospects, the one I hear most often is that of defenseman Nick Petrecki. The question is, when will the former first rounder get a chance to make an impact on the Sharks roster?
The answer appears to be, not any time soon. Or, maybe ever.
A couple of pro scouts who see Petrecki on a regular basis in Worcester told me the 22-year-old is still a long way off from being NHL-ready. He was described to me as soft, and not physical in front of the net or along the boards, something a defenseman of his build and skill set would have to excel at in order to be effective.
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The Sharks chose the 6-3, 230-pound defenseman with the 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Hes spent the last three seasons with their AHL affiliate, scoring six goals and adding 31 assists for 37 points in 200 games. Although hes racked up more than 100 penalty minutes each season (342 total), hes not perceived as being one of the tougher players in terms of dropping the gloves as some of his teammates, according to one particular scout.
While Petrecki appears to be a miss for the Sharks, its important to note that the club traded up to choose All Star center Logan Couture in the same draft, and later found up-and-coming defenseman Justin Braun in the seventh round (201st overall). Goaltender Tyson Sexsmith, an AHL All-Star last season, was chosen in the third round (91st overall).
Petrecki is a restricted free agent this summer, and it will be interesting to see if the Sharks decide to qualify him. At this point, dont be surprised if they let him walk.