SAN JOSE—The Colorado Avalanche rookies traveled from Denver to San Jose as the Sharks hosted the first Prospect Showcase of the season on Saturday, September 9.
Forwards Rudolfs Balcers, Filip Sandberg, and Alexander True, defensemen Jacob Middleton and Radim Simek, and goaltender Parker Gahagen started for San Jose.
Defenseman Nick DeSimone scored the first goal, and Balcers scored three of the Sharks’ seven goals, one in each period. He notched his third goal (and earned a hat trick) 15 seconds into the third period.
The Liepaja, Latvia native stood out amongst his fellow rookies that day as he helped lead San Jose to a 7-4 victory over Colorado. It did not come as a shocker that Sharks Assistant General Manager Joe Will has labeled him as a “natural goal-scorer.”
One of San Jose’s top prospects, Balcers, took a few minutes to speak with San Francisco News after the match.
San Francisco News: How does it feel to be in California?
Balcers: It’s always nice to come back here. Nice weather and getting things going. It’s been a long summer, and finally you’ve got to play some games and be on the ice with the whole team. It’s nice.
SFN: Can you describe your playing style? Are there any NHL players who have influenced you?
Balcers: I’m a good skater, I can make good plays. Obviously, I can finish my chances. There’s not really anyone I look up to in the NHL; I try to take a little bit from everyone and learn the game from the big guys.
SFN: Which teams did you follow growing up?
Balcers: There were a few. I followed Washington, and the Sharks because they had some Latvian guys playing. That’s about it.
SFN: What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding your NHL debut?
Balcers: You’ve got to go out and play hard. Don’t think too much, there are going to be big bodies, the game is going to be way faster. You’ve just got to play your game.
Balcers closed a standard, entry-level deal with San Jose in July. The former Kamloops Blazers left winger has expressed a desire to secure a spot on the Barracuda this coming season.