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Can Veronneau Help Sharks Next Year?

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Credit: NHL

Can Max Veronneau make it work this time in the NHL?

The San Jose Sharks announced the signing of the SHL MVP to a one-year contract today. The 26-year-old right winger led the league in goals (34) and was second with 60 points in 51 games.

This isn’t Veronneau’s first experience as a coveted free agent. Coming out Princeton, the Ontario native was signed by the Ottawa Senators at the end of the 2018-19 season. However, Veronneau failed to make a splash in his first go-around in North American hockey, scoring four points in 16 NHL games and 10 in 33 AHL appearances over two years.

Rasmus Kagstrom of Hockeysverige says Veronneau is a better player now though.

“He doesn’t cheat defensively and I wouldn’t say that he’s a bad player defensively, at least in the SHL,” Kagstrom told San Jose Hockey Now. “The NHL is another animal, though. I definitely think he could challenge for a spot [on the San Jose Sharks], but it will be as a bottom-6, I would imagine.”

On that score, it’s worth noting that Veronneau is also a regular penalty killer for Leksands IF. Kagstrom also pointed out that only five of Veronneau’s 34 goals have come on the power play – so he’s not just feasting off being a man up in an inferior (to the NHL) league.

“He’s not your typical one-dimensional forward that you sometimes will see in the European leagues,” Kagstrom noted.

Corey Pronman of The Athletic agreed, saying of Veronneau recently: “He always had good skating and skill, but his compete and all-around play were issues. I think those issues have made enough improvement.”

The San Jose Sharks sure hope so. At the moment, the competition next year for a top-nine role up front on the Sharks is wide open – so there’s space for Veronneau to be a pleasant surprise.

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