It was a big day for the San Jose Sharks — both William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau skated in teal for the first time.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) August 16, 2021
Eklund, the 2021 first-round pick, and Bordeleau, the 2020 second-round pick, are widely considered the organization’s top prospects.
“The best part is just meeting all the guys,” Bordeleau said from Day One of San Jose Sharks development camp, “and kind look around and see who might be your future teammates.”
Eklund even received some words of advice from possible sooner-than-later teammate Brent Burns, who was also at Solar4America Ice getting ready for the upcoming season.
“Just enjoy it. Don’t forget why you love the game,” Ekund reported.
This might not be the only way that Eklund and Bordeleau are linked this week. Bordeleau noted that he and Eklund shared a line with 2020 fourth-round pick Brandon Coe today, the University of Michigan standout centering.
Something else that Eklund and Bordeleau have in common?
Both are facing a lot of questions about when they’ll make their NHL debut — and it can happen as soon as this season.
Eklund, for his part, has signed an entry-level contract and confirmed San Jose Hockey Now’s report that he’s “open” to playing in the AHL this year. He also shared that after development camp, he’ll head back to Sweden to play for Djurgardens, then return to San Jose in mid-September for training camp.
Bordeleau, meanwhile, was cagier about his plans. A la Cole Caulfield, Bordeleau could sign with the San Jose Sharks after his NCAA campaign concludes this season.
“I’m just going day to day,” Bordeleau offered. “I’m not even thinking about the national championship right now. I’m thinking about the first team we’re going to play this season.”
The San Jose Sharks will host a development camp prospect scrimmage this Thursday at 7 PM. Fans will not be allowed to attend because of COVID-19 precautions, but it will be streamed live. Eklund, Bordeleau, and Coe are among those who are expected to participate. View the Sharks development camp roster here.
See our future play some hockey this Thursday! 🦈
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) August 17, 2021
What’s Bordeleau Working to Improve?
Bordeleau was descriptive when asked how he plans on raising his game to an NHL level.
“Definitely my execution. Also, my explosion. Getting those first three steps better,” the 5-foot-10 pivot acknowledged. “I’m never going to be big. I got to take advantage of my speed and just keep getting stronger. Keep getting my core stronger, so I can hold my ground in battles in the corner and stuff like that.”
What’s Up with No. 72?
No. 72 was Eklund’s number with Djurgardens and now at development camp.
It’s an unusual number — just 42 NHL players have worn it and only three San Jose Sharks players.
Brandon Mashinter was the first in 2010, followed more recently by Tim Heed.
Does the number hold special significance to Eklund?
“It’s not that funny of a story, actually,” Eklund said. “I just got it when I went out for a men’s team over there. Ever since then, I’ve been wearing 72.”
Bordeleau Describes COVID Ordeal
Bordeleau might not be thinking much about the national championship or when he’s turning pro, but he’s definitely thinking about the World Junior Championships.
Last year, Bordeleau was set to be named to Team USA, before his roommate John Beecher’s false COVID positive took both off the eventual gold medal-winning side.
Bordeleau shared the ups and downs of his ordeal:
“It was kind of mixed emotions. At first, when I got sent home, we established that [roommate John] Beecher had a false [COVID] positive.
“So I was able to go back home to Montreal with my family for 10 days, I think. So it kind of helped a little bit on the mental aspect of it.
“When I got back to Michigan, when the tournament started on like December 25, that’s kind of when it started to get hard. You see it everywhere on social media, you watch the games, and obviously, I was wishing them the best, but it’s hard knowing that sometimes you can be out there for certain situation, you can help the team. And sometimes, it’s hard to just see them going through some things without you. You could have been with your best friends. So it was definitely hard.
“But when they won, when they got back, I was super-happy for them. For next year, it definitely makes me a lot hungrier than than I was last year. I have a lot of things I want to prove. I want us to go back to back. It’s on my mind all the time.
“That’s an extra motivation when I work out, when I’m on the ice, when I do stuff, I just want to keep kind of that chip on my shoulder, keep motivating me.”
Will Bordeleau Take Advantage of NIL?
This summer, for the first time, NCAA college athletes are being allowed to benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
So what should we expect the Michigan star to pitch?
“It’s delicate. I’ve talked about it with some of my advisors and everything — it’s complicated. There’s some do’s and don’ts of it. There’s a lot of a lot of things, it’s kind of a gray area. Right now, I’m just concentrating on the hockey, not really thinking about that,” Bordeleau shared. “It’s fun seeing some guys getting some clothing deals or whatever, but just for me, I’m just trying to concentrate on hockey.”
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