Drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 Entry Draft, Tommy Wingels has managed to work his way up to the NHL and earn a key role with the San Jose Sharks. He’s playing in just his third season and has already blossomed into a strong two-way forward.
Wingels has always had the work ethic, speed and grit necessary to succeed at the NHL level, but now his offensive game is starting to improve dramatically. In 54 games, the forward has 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points. This more than doubles the career-high 13 points he registered last season.
Wingels has achieved this offensive production without sacrificing the other strengths in his game. The Sharks are a team full of quality two-way forwards, and Wingels fits right in. The 25-year-old forward is quick, physical, intelligent and tenacious on the forecheck. He’s also skilled defensively and plays heavy minutes on the penalty kill, helping San Jose achieve the league’s eighth-best penalty-killing percentage.
In the past, Wingels was relegated to bottom-six duties and wasn’t considered to be an offensive weapon. He seemed destined to be a third-line grinder at best. Due to a flurry of injuries this season, however, Wingels has logged quite a bit of ice time on the top two lines and has made his presence felt on the score sheet. His total of 30 points is tied for fourth on the team with first-line winger Brent Burns, and he leads the club in game-winning goals with five.
The transformation of Wingels’ offensive game has been a boon for a Sharks squad that has been derailed by injuries up front all year. He’s routinely one of the team’s hardest workers, and he brings a much-needed physical presence to the lineup night in and night out.
Wingels has showcased the potential to be a quality two-way forward capable of putting up 50 points over a full season which is more than any Sharks fan could have hoped for. He has significantly stepped up his play this year and is more than worthy of an “A” on his report card.