Danil Gushchin Season Preview

No San Jose Sharks prospect played better than Danil Gushchin down the stretch. The 2020 third-round pick finished his first pro season with 22 goals and 23 assists in 67 games for the San Jose Barracuda. The Russian sniper also debuted in the NHL, scoring a goal and an assist in two games.

For the Barracuda, Gushchin really solidified himself as a top player and really rounded out his game as the season went along. Gushchin was drafted because he is a natural goal scorer, but his vision and passing have really blossomed since arriving in San Jose. Another major factor in his rise has been his competitive level. You know when Gushchin is on the ice, and he seems to be making an impact every shift every game.

This development is huge for Danil Gushchin’s career. Everyone knows about his sweet hands and smooth shot, but if he can continue to develop the rest of his game, he will be an everyday player. Kevin Labanc, the ultimate Rorschach test, was also an undersized sniper who has become the debate among Sharks fans on if he is good or not. If Gushchin can work on being competent in his own end, he can hopefully avoid the Labanc fate of filling the stat sheet but always being in the coach’s dog house for poor play in his own end. Gushchin isn’t going to be a shutdown defensive forward; he just needs to try hard and keep the other team honest.

Where does Gushchin fit?

Danil Gushchin is still considered one of the Sharks’ top prospects, and one could argue that he could be the Barracuda’s best player this year. With the additions to the Sharks forward group this offseason, it will be hard to envision Gushchin jumping all of them at training camp. Expect him to spend most of the season with the Barracuda this year but be on the shortlist of forwards to get called up.

On the Barracuda, look for Gushchin to take the William Eklund role on the team and be the focal point of their offense this season. Last season, head coach John McCarthy stapled Eklund to veteran Andrew Agozzino and never looked back. The top center will be an interesting battle between Thomas Bordeleau, Ryan Carpenter, and Tristen Robins, but Gushchin should blend in with whoever McCarthy chooses to be the 1C.

As attrition takes its toll on the Sharks roster through injuries, trades, etc., Gushchin should be one of the first players called up to play this season for the Sharks. He showed well in his limited time last year and was a threat on the power play.

What’s next for Gushchin?

Expect a monster season for Danil Gushchin on the Barracuda. Like setting franchise records season. With William Eklund expecting to be on the Sharks for the season, Gushchin should get every opportunity to succeed. If the Barracuda run a top line of Jacob Peterson-Thomas Bordeleau-Danil Gushchin, there are plenty of excellent playmakers to feed Gushchin the puck for quality chances. Gushchin has produced a lot of points with way questionable quality teammates in his career. The Barracuda are expected to make a jump in the standings this season, and Danil Gushchin is going to be a huge reason why.

Look for Gushchin also to see some time on the penalty kill this season. If you are following the Mike Grier playbook for development, having your top prospects play in all areas is huge to their development. Playing PK will not only help Gushchin’s development but potentially spring offense for the Cuda. Last season, the Barracuda had the second most penalty minutes in the AHL, that number should go down this season, but having Gushchin as a legitimate threat to score a shorthanded goal could help the Barracuda. We know what he can make any goalie look silly with time and space.

If Danil Gushchin plays the majority of the season with the Barracuda, he is a legitimate choice to lead the team in goals and points this season and potentially break Andrew Agozzino’s franchise record for goals in a season. This feels like Gushchin’s year to lay waste to the Pacific Division and set himself to be a future 30 goal scorer in the NHL.

Bold Prediciton: Danil Gushchin tops the 30 goal mark with the San Jose Barracuda and breaks both the goals and points in a season franchise records.

Other Season Previews:

Alexander Barabanov Season Preview

Thomas Bordeleau Season Preview

Ryan Carpenter Season Preview

Logan Couture Season Preview

Anthony Duclair Season Preview

William Eklund Season Preview

JD Young

Host of Locked on Sharks, saved the franchise once.

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