The San Jose Sharks have decided that Jacob Middleton played well enough last season to deserve an NHL contract, signing him to a three-year entry-level deal today. Middleton played last season under an AHL contract after not signing with the Los Angeles Kings who drafted him in the seventh round.
Don’t look at Middleton’s draft pedigree to evaluate his game, as he’s taken several huge steps forward since 2014. A 6’3″ defenseman who is exceptionally mobile for his size, Middleton has grown into an excellent positional defender. Even when he was drafted his hockey IQ was considered excellent, and that understanding of the game has finally translated to his big frame. He scored just nine points last season in the AHL, but turned into one of the key members of a San Jose blueline that went deep into the playoffs. He’s a legitimate prospect who could eventually make the jump to the NHL as a depth piece.