Dylan had success at the AHL level with the Barracuda this past season, helping to lead the league’s youngest team to another Calder Cup Playoff berth,. He has continued to show us growth in all areas of his game, and, with his goal in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, has proven he can handle the pressure of the NHL. We look forward to his continued development, and the impact he will have on the Sharks.
Gambrell, 22, was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft after an outstanding rookie season at the University of Denver, and proceeded to have two more solid years before signing with the Sharks in 2018. Because of his age at the time that contract was limited to just two seasons, and Gambrell burned the first year at the end of 2017-18. He did get into three games with the Sharks that year but spent most of his first real professional season in the minor leagues with the San Jose Barracuda. In 51 games with the AHL club his scoring touch rarely failed, as the young forward recorded 20 goals and 45 points.
Amazingly, Gambrell managed to record an NHL playoff goal before ever getting his first regular season tally. He scored in one of his two postseason appearances this year after failing to register even a single point in 11 previous regular season contests. That will likely change next season if given the chance, as Gambrell looks like he’ll have no trouble producing at the professional level once he gets his feet under him. Whether that comes in the NHL right away is unclear, especially given that he is still waiver-exempt and can be sent down with much more ease than some of the more veteran names battling for spots.
One of those veteran names—by age alone mind you—is Suomela, who came over from Finland last season after several successful years in his country’s top professional league. The 25-year old played in 27 games for the Sharks and recorded eight points, but spent the majority of the year in the minor leagues as well. While there’s no guarantee he will crack the NHL squad out of camp, Suomela has substantial upside of his own after recording 60 points in 59 games to lead the entire Liiga in scoring for 2017-18. If he could ever bring even a portion of that production to the Sharks, they would have found another core piece without expending any asset other than money.