SAN JOSE – Roy Sommer’s Barracuda have been the talk of the American Hockey League in recent weeks.
The Sharks’ primary affiliate had a 14-game winning streak snapped in overtime on Wednesday, and still hasn’t lost a game in regulation since Jan. 21. Headed into the weekend, the Barracuda sit atop the AHL standings with a 33-11-1-4 mark.
The recent loss, and losing key scorer Nikolay Goldobin in a trade to Vancouver hasn’t dampened spirits, Sommer said on the latest Sharks Insider Podcast.
“They’re still into it,” Sommer said. “We had a good practice [Thursday], and you don’t want to see those things go by the wayside, but now we’ve got to start another one.”
Sommer is in his 19th season behind the bench of the Sharks’ top affiliate, which is in its second season in San Jose. Previously, the club had been in Lexington, KY, Cleveland, OH and Worcester, MA.
The benefits of finally being in close proximity to the parent club have been immeasurable, general manager Doug Wilson has frequently said. Sommer echoed that notion.
“I think it’s made our team stronger just in the fact that guys always know that someone’s around watching. If you play good, you’re given an opportunity,” said the AHL’s all-time wins leader.
Having a deep AHL club so close can also put the NHL guys on notice, too. That’s a good thing.
“That’s the beauty of depth and guys looking over their shoulder,” Sommer said. “I’m sure there are some guys up in San Jose going like, ‘man, there are some guys down there biting at our heels ready to take our job.’”
Sommer touched on a number of different prospects in the Sharks’ system, including Marcus Sorensen, who scored his first NHL goal in Thursday’s win over Vancouver.
Sorensen took some time to adjust to the pro game after coming over from Sweden. Now, though, it looks like the Sharks may have something in the 24-year-old.
“When we first saw him I was going, ‘wow.’ … I was expecting him to light it up at the start [of the AHL season], and he didn’t,” Sommer said. “But, I knew he had something because he’s got that engine that goes 100 miles an hour, he plays inside, he plays hard, he’s got a pretty good head for the game.”
Sommer also gave us his thoughts on guys like leading scorer Danny O’Regan, defenseman Mirco Mueller, and former ninth overall pick Timo Meier; what it was like seeing a young Joe Pavelski join the organization, and what it would mean to him to see the Sharks win the Stanley Cup after he's been in the organization for 21 seasons.
To listen to the podcast in its entirety, click here.