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Sommer’s Year-End Thoughts on Merkley, Chekhovich & More | SJHN+



Credit: San Jose Barracuda

The San Jose Barracuda announced their 2020-21 team award winners last week.

And unlike the San Jose Sharks’ team awards, which are voted on by the media, the Barracuda’s awards are picked by their Hockey Operations Department, adding even more gravity to the selections.

This is the San Jose Sharks organization rewarding their top minor leaguers:

Most Valuable Player: Alexander True
Rookie of the Year: Brinson Pasichnuk
Top Defenseman: Jake Middleton
John McCarthy Leadership Award: Jaycob Megna
Roy Sommer Most Inspirational Award: Brandon Coe
Three Stars Award: Joel Kellman

I caught up with Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer last week — on his way to his Montana ranch — to talk about the awards, this unprecedented season, and the progress of San Jose Sharks prospects like True, Pasichnuk, Coe, Ryan Merkley, Joachim Blichfeld, Sasha Chmelevski, Ivan Chekhovich, Jake McGrew, and Zach Gallant.

Alexander True

“I thought, at one point during the year, that Blichfeld and True were probably the best one-two punch in the Pacific Division. They were one to three points every night for about six weeks.

“It seemed like everyone True played with, he made them a better player. He elevated their game. We put a lot of guys that were struggling with him to try to get them going.”

Alex True Talks Increased Role, Blichfeld’s “Weird” Superstitions & “League of Legends”

Joachim Blichfeld

“He loves the power play. But there’s a lot of other things you got to do before you get on [an NHL] power play, you gotta bring a physical presence, you gotta get pucks in and out at the lines, you gotta not lose your guy going to the net.

“There are parts of his game that we still got to work on. But I saw a big maturity level from him this year. He took more of a leadership role. I thought he played both ends of the ice more so than he did last year. I thought he did a good job.

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