Name: Jeff Friesen
Position: Left Wing
Born: August 5, 1976 in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan
Drafted: 1st Round (11th overall) by Sharks in 1994
Salary: $2.5 million
The Finesse Game
Few players in his age group were given as much responsibility as Friesen was last year, and few have responded as handsomely as he has. A pure goal scorer in junior, he developed first as a checking-line winger in his rookie year and now is a well-rounded two-way forward who can play centre or left wing. Friesen is a fast, strong skater, handles the puck well and has the size to go with those qualities. He is a better finisher than playmaker. Patrick Marleau finished the season playing between Friesen and Owen Nolan, and Marleau is a player who distributes the puck well. Friesen has a quick, strong release on his snap or wrist shot and is shifty with a smooth change of speed. Carrying the puck doesn't slow him down. Friesen never seems to get rattled or forced into making bad plays. In fact, he's the one who forces opponents into panic moves with his pressure. He draws penalties by keeping his feet moving as he drives to the net or digs for the puck along the boards. He is strong on face-offs.
The Physical Game
Friesen needs to pay strict attention to his strength and conditioning, since he will need the added muscle to handle the checking attention other teams will be assigning him from now on (or until the Sharks concoct a dangerous second line). He doesn't have much of a mean streak, but plays tough and honest. Friesen played through the end of the season with a separated shoulder.
Friesen is a potential future captain of the Sharks. Tabbed with a lazy label in his junior days, he has matured into a hard-working player who cares. Just turned 22, he is the leader of the next generation of Sharks.
We predicted 70 points for Friesen and he just fell shy of that number. He will never be a 100-point scorer, but with a slightly better cast around him this year (and Gary Suter on the point for the power play), we could see Friesen inching into the 75- to 80- point range.
SOURCE: HOCKEY SCOUTING REPORT