by Nick Nollenberger | AHL On The Beat
Barclay Goodrow played in 60 NHL games for the San Jose Sharks in his rookie season, but over the last two years, he’s appeared in a combined 17.
Goodrow’s not the same player he was a wide-eyed rookie during the 2014-15 campaign, then just 21-years old. He’s better, and he’s become one of the AHL’s best players.
“He’s matured into a man, he plays a man’s game,” said Barracuda development coach Mike Ricci. “The game has changed but not that much. Goals are scored from the areas in front of the net and winning battles on the boards, and he’s learned to do that.”
With a logjam of talent in the NHL with the Sharks, Goodrow has been stuck in the American Hockey League for the majority of the last two seasons, not wallowing in self-pity or doubt, Goodrow has developed the crucial areas of his game to become a full-time NHLer one day.
Undrafted, Goodrow signed a three-year standard entry-level deal with San Jose as a free agent in 2014.
Now in his third season as a pro, Goodrow has been a vital component to arguably the AHL’s best team. The native of Toronto, Ontario, leads the Barracuda in goals (25), fourth in points (44), first in shorthanded goals (4), T-third in power play goals (6), and has the teams only two hat tricks (2).
At 24-years-old, Goodrow is an elder statesman in one of the AHL’s youngest locker rooms. Now a “grizzled vet”, Barclay has been able to develop into one of San Jose’s biggest leaders along with putting up points in almost every game.
“I’ve tried to provide some wisdom, being a third-year guy. If guys have questions they know they can come to me, but I’m also trying to lead by example too,” said Goodrow. “I try to show that if you play the game the right way and sacrifice you will be rewarded.”
His effort both on and off the ice and his workman like approach to the game hasn’t gone unnoticed by the organization.
“He’s a difference maker every time he’s on the ice,” said Barracuda general manager Joe Will. “He’s never once complained about his role. Everyone in the organization from the coaches to management and the scouts are so proud of the way he approaches the game and has provided leadership.”
Aside from increasing his goal total from a season ago, Goodrow’s versatility has become his greatest strength. Head coach Roy Sommer has utilized his power forward in every situation this season, and he has excelled in in all of them.
“Barclay’s turned into an all-around player for us. He kills penalties, he’s on the power play, he’s on our top line, he’s played both wings and even taken draws on his strong side,” said Sommer. “He’s just turned into a great pro.”
At 6-foot-2, 216-pounds, the former OHLer has added quickness to his game not seen before this year, and that second gear has allowed for Goodrow to elevate his game to the next level.
“What stands out the most is that he’s improved his skating tremendously and it has helped create a lot,” said Barracuda assistant coach Ryan Mougenel. “He’s got skill and grit, and great hockey smarts, but this season he’s been able to put them all together on a consistent basis.”
“Development is a year to year thing, and if you’re not getting better you’re getting worse, and Barclay’s continued to improve his game every year,” said Ricci.
San Jose has already punched a post-season birth and clinched both the Pacific Division and Western Conference regular-season title in the AHL. Next week, Calder Cup playoffs begin, and the Barracuda will rely heavily on their leading goal scorer to take them where they hope to go.