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Sharks Top-10 Prospects Rankings: 1991 to 1999

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Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Have the San Jose Sharks, after 33 years of prospecting, finally hit the mother lode?

Of course, we won’t know the answer to that for years, but this is certainly one of the more highly-touted Sharks prospects groups ever, headlined by 2023 first-round pick Will Smith and 2021 first-round pick William Eklund.

The question we might be able to tackle? Is this the most highly-touted top-five San Jose Sharks prospects ever? Top-10?

Where Does Sharks’ Current Prospects Pool Rank Historically?

To answer those questions, we have to go one by one through every Sharks pre-season prospects rankings, from 1991-92 to 2023-24.

In this article, we’ll reveal the 1991-92 to 1999-00 rankings, courtesy of each pre-season’s Hockey News Yearbook, from Brad Stuart to Patrick Marleau to Viktor Kozlov to Pat Falloon.

Check out the 2000-01 to 2009-10 rankings here:

Sharks Top-10 Prospects Rankings: 2000 to 2009

And the most recent Sharks prospects, 2010-11 to 2023-24:

Sharks Top-10 Prospects Rankings: 2010 to 2023

That’s all 33 seasons of San Jose Sharks prospects.

The final step? We’ll compare all these rankings later this week.

1999-00 (The Hockey News)

1) Brad Stuart
2) Scott Hannan
3) Jonathan Cheechoo
4) Shawn Heins
5) Adam Colagiacomo
6) Matt Bradley
7) Miroslav Zalesak
8) Miikka Kiprusoff
9) Vesa Toskala
10) Teemu Riihijarvi

Top 1999 Draft Picks: Jeff Jillson

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round pick Jeff Jillson probably would’ve made the top-10. Stuart, Hannan, Cheechoo, and Heins were projected by THN as sure-fire NHL’ers.

Quote: “Defenseman Jeff Jillson, chosen 14th overall, will return to the University of Michigan for his sophomore season. The Sharks have finally reached the point where the organization is deep enough to allow for such a luxury.”

1998-99 (THN)

1) Alexander Korolyuk
2) Scott Hannan
3) Shawn Heins
4) Alexei Yegorov
5) Matt Bradley
6) Evgeni Nabokov
7) Miikka Kiprusoff
8) Adam Colagiacomo
9) Vesa Toskala
10) Teemu Riihijarvi

Top 1998 Draft Picks: Brad Stuart, Jonathan Cheechoo

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round picks Brad Stuart and Jonathan Cheechoo probably would’ve made the top-10. Korolyuk and Hannan were projected by THN as sure-fire NHL’ers.

Quote: “Stuart boasts loads of ability at both ends of the ice and the potential to become a No. 1 defenseman.”

1997-98 (THN)

Rich Brennan
Jan Caloun
Miikka Kiprusoff
Alexander Korolyuk
Evgeni Nabokov
Teemu Riihijarvi
Marco Sturm
Vesa Toskala
Alexei Yegorov
Andrei Zyuzin

Top 1997 Draft Picks: Patrick Marleau, Scott Hannan

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round picks Patrick Marleau and Scott Hannan probably would’ve made the top-10. They also didn’t rank the prospects in order.

Quote: “The Sharks resisted some tempting trade offers to select Marleau second overall because they believe he has the potential to develop into a bona fide No. 1 center.”

1996-97 (THN)

Alexandre Boikov
Jan Caloun
Miikka Kiprusoff
Alexander Korolyuk
Marko Makinen
Fredrik Oduya
Teemu Riihijarvi
Brian Swanson
Vesa Toskala
Alexei Yegorov

Top 1996 Draft Picks: Andrei Zyuzin, Marco Sturm

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round picks Andrei Zyuzin and Marco Sturm probably would’ve made the top-10. They also didn’t rank the prospects in order.

Quote: “Defenseman Andrei Zyuzin, chosen second overall, was one of only two supposed sure things in this year’s draft class.”

1995-96 (THN)

Jan Caloun
Alexander Cherbayev
Shean Donovan
Dean Grillo
Alexander Korolyuk
Viktor Kozlov
Fredrik Nilsson
Ville Peltonen
Marcus Ragnarsson
Vaclav Varada

Top 1995 Draft Picks: Teemu Riihijarvi, Peter Roed

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round pick Teemu Riihijarvi and second-round pick Peter Roed probably would’ve made the top-10. They also didn’t rank the prospects in order.

Quote: “This year’s first-round pick, Teemu Riihijarvi, was well down many teams’ prospect lists.”

1994-95 (THN)

Jan Caloun
Alexander Cherbayev
Shean Donovan
Wade Flaherty
Todd Holt
Viktor Kozlov
Andrei Nazarov
Fredrik Nilsson
Ville Peltonen
Marcus Ragnarsson

Top 1994 Draft Picks: Jeff Friesen, Angel Nikolov

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round pick Jeff Friesen and second-round pick Angel Nikolov probably would’ve made the top-10. They also didn’t rank the prospects in order.

Quote: From 1995-96 THN Yearbook, on Kozlov, “Broken leg during lockout-marred rookie season. Must get stronger, both physically and mentally, to play regularly.”

1993-94 (THN)

Mark Beaufait
Jan Caloun
Alexander Cherbayev
Wade Flaherty
Andrei Nazarov
Fredrik Nilsson
Jaroslav Otevrel
Marcus Ragnarsson
Mike Rathje
Michal Sykora

Top 1993 Draft Picks: Viktor Kozlov, Shean Donovan, Vlastimil Kroupa

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round pick Viktor Kozlov, and second-round picks Shean Donovan and Vlastimil Kroupa probably would’ve made the top-10. They also didn’t rank the prospects in order.

Quote: On Rathje, “Strong, with potential to be dominant.”

1992-93 (THN)

Ed Courtenay
Wade Flaherty
Rob Gaudreau
Mikhail Kravets
Pat MacLeod
Sandis Ozolinsh
J.F. Quintin
John Weisbrod
Ray Whitney
Doug Zmolek

Top 1992 Draft Picks: Mike Rathje, Andrei Nazarov

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t include most recent Draft picks in this pre-season top-10 prospects ranking. First-round picks Mike Rathje and Andrei Nazarov probably would’ve made the top-10. They also didn’t rank the prospects in order.

Quote: On Whitney, “Outstanding playmaker who anticipates play well. Outsmarts players; doesn’t outhit them. Uses body well to keep control of puck.”

1991-92

THN’s top minor league prospects: Dan Keczmer, Ed Courtenay, J.F. Quintin

Other top prospects: Arturs Irbe

Top 1991 Draft Picks: Pat Falloon, Ray Whitney, Sandis Ozolinsh

Notes: The Hockey News Yearbook didn’t have a top-10 team prospects ranking in this pre-season preview, instead choosing to highlight the team’s top-three minor league prospects.  I’ve also included Irbe, a Soviet league import who wasn’t a minor league prospect.

Quote: From 1992-93 THN Yearbook, “Nowadays, few 18-year-olds can play regularly and even fewer can make an impact in their first seasons. Falloon was an exception. He led the team in scoring and didn’t appear to let the losing get to him.”

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