Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25: No. 15 Nicolas Meloche, a D-corps mainstay?

Since reaching the Western Conference finals in 2019, e San Jose Sharks Failed to qualify for the post season for three consecutive seasons. The team has struggled to produce goals in recent years and establishing a consistent top 6 in the forward position and keeping goalkeepers was a problem until the season when James Reimer, Adin Hill and Capo Caconen all conquered the net.

But throughout the Shark’s last three low seasons, the saving grace has been the depth in the blue line. With an annual average value of $ 26.5 million (AAV) in the top three defenders, people like Nikolai Knizov, Mario Ferraro, Jacob Magna and Jacob Middleton came up to fill in the defensive holes left by Brendan Dillon and Justin Brown as they passed. On from the team after 2019.

Count Nicholas Maloche among the names of those returning in the last NHL. He came from Colorado Crash Organization before the 2019-20 season – shortened due to the Corona plague – in exchange for former San Jose Barracuda goalkeeper Antoine Bibo.

Malucca spent most of his time in San Jose with the Barracuda (80 games), but established himself this season as a talented defensive player at the bottom or midfield, often playing tough defensive minutes alongside Mark-Edouard Velasic, or flattering on offense – Blue Line talents like Eric Carlson. Recently, with Carlson injured since mid-April, Malucca increased the squad to bring up the second pair with a defender. Together, over four games, the pair is -1 in even power. Given the mostly losing results of the Sharks by April, and the +/- performance of the other two pairs, this is not bad for two 2021-22 turns.

Still, some may say they are not surprised to see Melucci play more regular NHL minutes than, say, Ryan Markley. Malucca was drafted by Colorado Avalanche in 40th place overall in 2015, the team’s third pick that year after 10th in the overall rankings of Miko Rentanen and 39th winger overall AJ Greer, who currently plays in the AHL with Utica Comets. It was in that year that the Sharks added Timo Meyer in ninth place overall before selecting defender Jeremy Roy in 31st place in the second round.

For Malucca, it’s easy to find humor in the understanding that in San Jose he found his first job in the NHL:

Colorado was busy with that year’s entry draft – They previously purchased the original 31st pick from the Buffalo Sabers before replacing it with San Jose In exchange for the 39 he will bring in Greer, plus some of the 2016 and 2017 elections they have lost in the past. In other words: they repurchased properties they had lost at the expense of choosing eight seats lower (because an ambassador could also have been elected in 40th place, instead of Maloche).

San Jose, on the other hand, got the second-round debut to take on Roy, who like Maloche, is a right-back defensive player. Shark fans may remember the cheer, like Roy was marked by Central Scout as a skater ranked 21st that year. In the same report, Maloche was ranked 40th, so it is fair to say that he was selected for the screening. For comparison, they both played in the QMJHL, Meloche for Baie-Comeau Drakkar in his draft year, and Roy for Sherbrooke Phoenix. The two groups at that time were in the middle of the pack in their departments.

Roy was Sherbrooke’s alternate captain, accumulating 87 points over two seasons in ‘Q’ until he was drafted. He has also represented Canada internationally in the U17 and U18 divisions. Malucca will eventually become Baye-Como’s replacement captain, scoring 59 points before the entry draft. He was also a teammate with Roy in 2013-14 for Canada during the U17 Hockey World Championships.

Maloche stayed in the junior a little longer than Meroi, and was a little further back in terms of development, though it is easy to see their inevitable comparison through their careers up to the draft. Although Ambassador never got along with Colorado – as Roy has never done for the Sharks, due to unforeseen injuries – the Habs have managed to recruit the only current NHL player in the trio.

But Colorado started 2015 with Tyson Barry, Francois Bitchmin, Eric Johnson and Nick Holden. Their searching defender at the time, Nikita Zdorov, played just 22 games that season. And although it takes time for the defenders to evolve and make the leap to the NHL, the years that followed brought Sam Girard and Kyle Macar to the team, along with Bowen Bayerm at work.

Johnson remained the only gripe from that 2015 defense force, so suffice it to say that Malucha, who once had hope, was pushed back on board, while head coach Jared Bedner took the reins in 2016 and a developing powerhouse of avalanche began to emerge.

Maloche scored 39 points in 114 games in his first two seasons in professional hockey with the Colorado lower division partners, both the ECHL and the AHL, and finished second in points among the 2018-19 defensive players with the Colorado Eagles.

Ahead of the 2019-20 season came the aforementioned replacement at Bibau, sending Meluca to Barracuda, where he played 41 games during the season and won his first summons with the Sharks on 14 January 2021 against the national team. Arizona Coyotes.

While the sharks moved on from shepherds, Maloche signed a one-year extension in 2020, and another in 2021. The 24-year-old started the season with the barracuda, but it was only eight games before he returned to the Sharks to ‘straighten up’. He recorded 2 goals and 6 assists during 53 NHL games in total with the club.

Still, the defensive pipe is a crowded room, and there is a bit of everything to go around in terms of skills. Ferraro is a young player who sits just below Burns, Carlson and possibly Velasic in the depth table. Defender is next, awaiting a decision to sign him after the season. But after that, things get a little hairy.

First, there is a rare offensive strain in mercury, and the same can be said for artemia cannabis. There is also the Atka Chin, who has skill and fast feet, but intends to be in the same shape as Velasic with the defensive inclination. There’s also the question mark of Nick Chichek who signed him recently, who might be ready for a mission in the NHL. Knyazov assumes he will be involved if he is healthy next season.

Then there is the steady malucha, right under everyone’s nose. He’s a limited free agent on hold, so it’s going to be interesting to see what the Sharks can offer him. He brings physicality, decent puck and shooting moves, and some proven experience against the best in the league after playing most of this season in the NHL.

Some other evidence may indicate that sharks are taller than it is commonly believed. When they made the move to acquire him in 2019, they probably ran after whoever they could incorporate in the 39th-place draft, the pick they swapped in the 2015 entry-level draft. , Anyway.

As mentioned earlier, Sharks currently have a lot of money in just a few players, so they have struggled to sign free agents with a big contract in recent years. As a result, the strategy seemed to be to pursue repurchases of original shark drafts – see Rudolphs Balersers (2015 draft rate), Matt Naito (2011) and Nick Bonino (2007), all of whom come at relatively price-friendly caps. .

Maloche, in the Colorado draft, she did not actually repurchase, but the Sharks made a lot of mistakes in the draft table in the years that led to Doug Wilson Jr. taking over the scouting in 2017. So too Maloche is a coveted second crack, with a mind set for returning the watch to 2015?

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M Curtis Joe’s Elite Prospects report on Meloche, Three things turned out to be true: he plays with an advantage and a two-way physical game, he makes high percentage defensive decisions and he slides well. Joe also suggested that Luca has power in his shot and offensive awareness, which has not yet really passed the professional level, but still came in flashes.

The score is a nice bonus for the defense, but as mentioned, Burns, Carlson, Markley and Knyazev all provide just that. This is definitely an area that Maloche can work on, but at the moment it fulfills an immediate need of the team: to impose responsibility on the rival players, especially in front of the net.

Aside from shielding, no other regular shark shield may be as physical as a mocha. What’s more great is that he’s already rubbed shoulders with the league’s Nathan McKinnons and Conor McDavis, and the need for damage control was minimal.

Most of Malucca’s mistakes were excessive pinching in the attacking area, but these are things that young defenders can learn to correct. The offense is not there yet, but a better team next year may open up more opportunities to demonstrate his offensive instincts.

Areas of improvement

Aside from offense and occasional mistakes, Malucca will have to get into books on his transition game ahead of next season if he continues with the Sharks. One of the biggest problems of the team was the inability to get out of the defensive area cleanly. They may win the disc battle, block the shot, or otherwise kill the game – of which Malucca was a big part – but will usually get points anyway, due to failed first passes or shot hits.

It’s not something a particularly great defender does anyway, though Carlson can at least slip his way out of the area, and Ashich and Burns can occasionally make a successful first pass. But it’s a kind of game that requires patience and touch, and that usually comes with experience. If Malucha can patiently focus on his decision-making and contact with the disc, his value as a two-way shield will skyrocket.


This game took place the night Malucha scored his first goal in the NHL, so for all intents and purposes, his two-way ability was put in front of Washington capitals. Here, the awareness of his disc gets the defensive attitude, as he quickly slid down and was sold to block a spot shot. Potential right wing of the capital, Brett Leeson (49), took the shot, but it was Alex Obchkin (8) who made the play to move the disc through a seam.

If Maloche can recreate these two-way shows more consistently, close games with world-class players like Obchkin on the ice and get the grout toward the net on the other side, he’s going to be an important part of any NHL team.

Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25: No. 15 Nicolas Meloche, a D-corps mainstay? Source link Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25: No. 15 Nicolas Meloche, a D-corps mainstay?

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