Talk about a small sample size, but 19-year-old rookie Tomas Hertl is performing like the talented player the San Jose Sharks hoped he would be. Hertl scored two goals in the Sharks 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night in San Jose.
Again, two games are too early to deem Hertl a seasoned veteran, but he’s providing some much needed offense for San Jose. The 17th overall selection in last year’s NHL Draft now has three points through the team’s first two games; he aided a Brent Burns goal in the season opener on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Sharks ranked 22nd in the NHL with 124 goals scored during the 2012-13 season. For a team with so many big names, you’d think that ranking would be much higher. But now with Hertl emerging as a quality first-line player alongside Joe Thornton and Burns, the Sharks are having a much easier time finding the back of the net. San Jose has scored four goals in each of its first two games.
The way Hertl’s scoring is impressive as well. His first goal in Saturday’s contest developed with slick puck handling by the rookie, and he finished it off with a sweet backhand past Coyote’s goalie Mike Smith. His second came off a deflection, showing that he’s not afraid to play in front of the net.
Hertl will be a big piece of the puzzle for the Sharks this season if continues to perform at this level. He has the skill and ability to bring consistent scoring to the table from the first line, completing one of the best three-line combinations in the NHL. It could be a little too much to ask of him, but there’s no telling his potential.