How will Fredrik Handemark’s game translate from the SHL to the San Jose Sharks?
According to InStat Hockey‘s data, Handemark may be able to offer a plethora of skills.
InStat tracked 49 of Handemark’s 52 Malmo Redhawks appearances last year. He led all Malmo forwards at 18:46 Average Time on Time Per Game (ATOI), over a minute and a half more than anybody else. An all-purpose player, the 26-year-old pivot was a top power play option and a second-choice penalty killer. He led the team in Goals and Primary Assists.
Evaluating the 6-foot-4 Handemark’s shot charts, he did most of his damage in the low slot, a big-body net-front presence with soft hands.
Perhaps Handemark’s chief skill is his faceoff ability. The centerman led the SHL in Faceoff Percentage in 2019-20 (61.5 percent) and 2017-18 (62.8). Naturally, the lefty is really tough to beat on his strong side:
But what do these dominant numbers mean in the NHL?
Hockeysverige’s Uffe Bodin joins San Jose Hockey Now to project Handemark’s role with the San Jose Sharks and discuss his biggest weakness.
Sheng Peng: What type of role do you envision for Fredrik Handemark in the NHL?
Uffe Bodin: Probably a third or fourth-line center. I don’t think he will have the offensive punch in the NHL to take a bigger role than that. With that being said, he’s a very smart player and good face-off man who takes pride in being a good defensive player, so I think he could fill a role.
SP: Skating appears to be his main issue, do you think he will be able to keep up at the NHL?
UB: That’s the million-dollar question. I’ve seen improvements on that end the last few seasons and he’s been able to keep up with the best on the international European level, which is a good sign.
SP: He was the SHL’s most penalized player in 2018-19. Is it fair to assume that his size and physicality should translate well to North America?
UB: I don’t think he’s going to go around banging people up, but he had a physical element to his game in the SHL and he can be very aggressive on the ice. If that translates to the NHL, I’m not sure.
SP: Handemark led the SHL in Face-off Percentage in two of the last three years. Do you see any reason why he wouldn’t be a highly successful faceoff man in the NHL?
UB: He has proven year in and year out that he can be a very reliable guy in that department. The NHL will obviously be another challenge for him as the players are better, but I would bet he’s going to win more than 50 percent of his faceoffs in the NHL as well.
SP: Handemark didn’t blossom in the SHL until he was 23. What changed for him in the 2016-17 season?
UB: He got stuck on his old team in Leksand, didn’t get to play very much and didn’t have a lot of success early in his career.
But when he moved down to Malmo, things took off for him. He played really well in Hockeyallsvenskan and was promoted to the SHL where he started to make an immediate impact. He’s sort of a late-bloomer, but he has always been a hard worker and very creative in his way to become a better player.
SP: What’s made Handemark “captain material” in Malmo for the last three years?
UB: It was somewhat of a surprise when he was made the youngest captain of the SHL in 2017. I just think the coach liked how hard he worked and the big responsibility he took within the group. He’s sort of that “first-player-at-the-rink-last-one-to-leave” kind of guy who puts a lot of time and effort into being the best player he can be. That rubs off on a lot of teammates.
SP: Why did Handemark choose San Jose over Detroit? Considering they wanted him, he grew up a Wings and Pavel Datsyuk fan?
UB: I haven’t been able to ask him that. But if you look at what the Sharks have done for the last five years or so, they’ve had some success with bringing in free agents from Sweden.
Players like Melker Karlsson, Marcus Sorensen, Tim Heed and Joel Kellman have all played with the team in some kind of capacity, and I think players over here recognize that this is an organization that gives you a chance to play if you deserve it. That goes a long way.
Also, the Sharks don’t really have a lot of talent in the cupboard after all these years of trading away draft picks, so he probably saw that there was a good opportunity for him to play there.
USNTDP coach Nick Fohr on Bordeleau’s Hockey IQ, Chmelevski’s Skating, Labanc’s Confidence
It’s Thomas Bordeleau Week here at San Jose Hockey Now!
Today, Sheng Peng joined the podcast, and we really got into detail on Bordeleau with his former USA Hockey National Team Development Program coach Nick Fohr.
Bordeleau isn’t the first San Jose Sharks prospect that Fohr has coached — the current USNTDP Associate Coach has worked with Kevin Labanc, Scott Reedy, and Sasha Chmelevski.
Here’s a select transcription from this fun, informative interview — Fohr shares Bordeleau’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, discusses Chmelevski’s flawed-but- improving skating, and reveals what Labanc’s USNTDP teammates gave him a hard time about.
Nick Fohr, on Thomas Bordeleau’s greatest strength and weakness:
In Thomas’s case, he’s a very crafty, skilled forward that competes pretty hard. That was something he really improved on in the two years with us.
He really loves to rely on this skill.
He’s a cerebral player. He really takes in the game. He reads plays well up and down the ice sheet.
That being a strength of his, one of his weaknesses, he relies on his skill too much. That was something we talked with Thomas a lot: Although you are a skilled hockey player, you are not skilled enough to make it in the NHL on skill alone. You have to develop a little more bite, a little more aggressiveness. You gotta round your game out a little bit more defensively. Commit to those things and not rely on just being a skilled player. Those players don’t make it in the NHL anymore. They don’t. They used to. At least they don’t make it for a long, extended period of time.
Fohr, on Bordeleau’s hockey IQ:
If you ask a coach or a scout or a GM, what are your three most important things? People almost always throw hockey IQ at you.
For me, with Thomas, where you really see it, when you see the intelligence, when he gets the puck on his stick, his ability to manipulate the other team, manipulate the defender. For example, on the power play, when he has the puck on his tape, the way he postures the puck, the way he holds the puck on his stick, the way he postures his body, will tell one story to the defender, to get the defender to move. [That] opens up the play he really wants to make.
That’s a really, really, really hard skill. It takes a lot of hockey intelligence to do that, to understand the messages you’re sending to a defender. It’s a really elite trait of his.
Fohr, on Sasha Chmelevski’s skating:
The knock on him was always his skating. He kind of skated really wide. He didn’t recover his skating very well, so his feet were always really, really wide. So people were always worried about his skating, his ability to get around the rink.
I think he’s fixed that a little bit, as I’ve seen him over the years. But he’s similar to a Bordeleau type from his ability to make plays. They actually make pretty good comparables.
Fohr, on Kevin Labanc’s Twitter handle:
By the way, he’s got one of my favorite Twitter handles out there with @Str8ToTheBanc. He had that when he was here and I remember the guys gave him a hard time about it. But I loved it.
Fohr, on if Labanc’s USNTDP teammates were jealous that Labanc has such a cool last name:
(laughs) That was probably part of it. To have the cunning to him to be able to do that, right? Kevin never lacked the confidence to pull something off like that, that’s for sure.
Make sure to listen to the entire interview: It’s well worth your time if you’re interested in the draft process for USNTDP players (6:00), which San Jose Sharks scout concentrates on the USNTDP, what Bordeleau’s game looks like (10:00), and how his father (former NHL player Sebastien Bordeleau) helped shape his game (16:00). We also compare Labanc and Bordeleau (23:30) and get a Chmelevski update from Fohr (30:00).
BREAKING: Sharks Are Talking to Conor Sheary
When free agency began on October 9th, the question was, “Who would the San Jose Sharks sign?”
After almost two weeks of relative inactivity — besides adding familiar faces Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto and losing franchise icon Joe Thornton — the question became, “What’s Doug Wilson doing?”
San Jose Hockey Now has good news for Sharks fans: Wilson is still active in free agency. So who’s he looking at — Conor Sheary, Erik Haula, or Mikael Granlund? We’ve got the scoop!
Who’s Best Option for Sharks’ Third-Line Center?
Kyle and JD put out a call for a mailbag and you responded! So much so that we had to ask for some help for your San Jose Sharks questions. We are joined by SB Nation’s Sie Morley to talk hockey, among other things. We look at reverse retro jerseys and why they are a thing, the Sharks goaltending, and if Martin Jones can bounce back (8:30). Also, who will be the third-line center (12:15) and how will San Jose Sharks fans treat Joe Thornton when they see him in blue (18:30)? Check out the podcast on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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