Sharks' young players scoring game-winners at historic rate


The Sharks revamped the lines this offseason with an emphasis on youth, and so far those younger players have been the backbone of the team's solid start to the 2021-22 season.

As NBC Sports California's Sharks broadcast statistician Darin Stephens reported on Wednesday, all six of the team's game-winning goals this season have been by players age 25 or younger. No other team in the league has as many from younger players, and it sets a franchise record over the first six wins for the Sharks.

Rudolfs Balcers (24), Jonathan Dahlen (23), Kevin Labanc (25), Timo Meier (25) and Mario Ferraro (23) all have put in game-winners for the Sharks.

In fact, five of the Sharks' top-10 point scorers so far this season are 25 or younger. Per Stephens, the Sharks' 16 goals by players 25 or younger so far are tied for fourth in the NHL, and tie a franchise record.

Dahlen is tied for the league lead in goals among rookies, as his four are equaled only by the Detroit Red Wings' Lucas Raymond and the Nashville Predators' Tanner Jeannot.

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Dahlen, Jasper Weatherby and William Eklund became the first trio of Sharks rookies to score three or more points in their first five games in franchise history earlier this season.

Captain Logan Couture recently commended the players who were called up from the AHL's Barracuda after a significant number of Sharks players and coach Bob Boughner recently ended up in COVID-19 protocol (h/t Sheng Peng/San Jose Hockey Now).


"Just shows how good of a camp it was, how prepared those guys were," he said.

After two rough seasons, the Sharks appear to have found the right combination between youth and experience, and it has paid off so far this season.

General manager Doug Wilson's roster "reset" likely is not over, but so far it's paying dividends and setting up the organization well for the future.