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Jake McGrew: “I’ve never felt faster in my life.”

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Jake McGrew, San Jose Sharks
Credit: NHL

Most Mondays this off-season, we’ll do a Sharks Prospects Update.

It’s been 14 months since Jake McGrew last played a hockey game.

In October 2019, just six games into his final WHL season, the San Jose Sharks prospect tore his right ACL and PCL. It would result in his third major knee surgery in four years.

McGrew made a triumphant return on Saturday, potting a pair of goals in his professional debut for the ECHL’s Allen Americans. It’s been a long road back for the 2017 sixth-round pick, who talked to San Jose Hockey Now about his comeback over the summer.

Jake McGrew: “I wouldn’t change what has happened to me.”

McGrew is one of three San Jose system prospects playing for Allen right now, joining Joe Garreffa and Zach Sawchenko. Notably, McGrew is the only San Jose Sharks-signed prospect — Garreffa and Sawchenko are signed with the Barracuda — which underscores how badly the organization wanted to get McGrew in particular back in action.

“That’s the plan,” McGrew told SJHN, “they wanted me to come down here and play games, get a jumpstart on the season.”

The winger also talked about his two-goal comeback and why he’s “never felt faster.”

But before we get to McGrew, let’s check out how San Jose Sharks prospects are performing around the globe:

PlayerLeagueTeamGamesGoalsAssistsPointsTOIWinsLossesSave %
Jonathan DahlenAllsvenskanTimrå IK1513223518:36
Joel KellmanAllsvenskanKristianstads IK1432520:02
Marcus SorensenAllsvenskanHC Vita Hästen1411132423:06
Josef KorenarCzechHC Ocelari Trinec10720.894
Adam RaskaCzechHC Ocelari Trinec20009:11
Adam RaskaCzech 2HC Frydek-Mistek11011
Joachim BlichfeldDenmarkFrederikshavn White Hawks12571220:30
Alexander TrueDenmarkRungsted Seier Capital1000
Jake McGrewECHLAllen Americans1202
Ivan ChekhovichKHLTorpedo Nizhny Novgorod196101617:57
Emil GalimovKHLSKA St. Petersburg1043717:14
Alexei MelnichukKHLTorpedo Nizhny Novgorod14660.912
Yegor SpiridonovKHLSKA St. Petersburg20007:47
Tony SundKHLDinamo Riga2309919:02
Santeri HatakkaLiigaIlves1912315:06
Timur IbragimovLiigaTPS1450511:09
Antti SuomelaLiigaHIFK1023518:22
Artemi KniazevMHLIrbis Kazan210118:42
Yegor SpiridonovMHLSKA-1946 St. Petersburg724618:15
Thomas BordeleauNCAAMichigan83710
Scott ReedyNCAAMinnesota8639
Mike RobinsonNCAANew Hampshire2100.94
Jasper WeatherbyNCAANorth Dakota7224
Alex YoungNCAAColgate1101
Zachary EmondQMJHLRouyn-Noranda Huskies10340.886
Fredrik HandemarkSHLMalmö Redhawks23581318:35
Linus ObergSHLÖrebro HK21921113:37
Danil GushchinUSHLMuskegon Lumberjacks98715
Artemi KniazevVHLBars Kazan513415:14
Yegor SpiridonovVHLSKA-Neva St. Petersburg321310:28

McGrew (18) shared this remarkable coincidence about his game-opening goal:

“It was nice to get the first point out of the way,” he said, before recalling, “In the first shift, on my first shot — to do it in the way that I did when I was 17 in Spokane, coming back, in my first shift, first shot, goal. It kind of comes full circle.”

McGrew’s second strike was even more to his liking:

“Any good player, you give them time in the slot, D has a bad gap, you want to make them pay,” he noted. “That was more the style of goal I’d like to score, a good shot using the D as a screen, using my shot to my advantage.”

It was this play, however, perhaps more than any other, that might best exemplify McGrew’s potential:

With a minute left in the game, Allen down by a goal, McGrew screamed down the right wing and turned the corner on Anaheim Ducks prospect Maxim Golod (77).

“That kind of made me realize I can keep up in pro hockey, beating guys like that,” he said. “I came back to the bench, I said that one should have went in, my bad, boys.”

When San Jose Sharks fans last saw McGrew in September 2019 at the Rookie Faceoff in Anaheim, it was his speed and tenacity that drew the eye.

15 months later, it’s good to see both qualities still present.

“I’m a quick, elusive skater. Tight turn, I can get away from guys. Straight lines. That’s a big part of my game, if I can skate in straight lines, not do so many wide turns, I’ll going to beat D and other forwards to the puck,” McGrew explained. “That’s a big part of my game. Defenseman can’t read how fast I’m coming in. I can change speeds pretty fast. And my skating is just going to get better from here, right?”

Right.

The 21-year-old has obviously used his long layoff well: “I told my trainer before I left, I’ve never felt faster in my life. It made me feel good that we both took advantage of the time that we had.”

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Alaskan_ice

Thank you for the in depth interview. Good stuff. I’ve been pulling for this kid.

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