Abeltshauser has been quietly enjoying success in the shadow of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin while he finished out his junior career in Halifax.
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The 6'5", 225lb German native was part of the 2013 Mastercard Memorial Cup winning Mooseheads this past season. He was named to the tournament all-star team and collected two goals and a helper in the final game.
In the 2013 QMJHL playoffs, Abeltshauser had 20 points in 17 games, including 7 goals. During the regular season, the big German D-man had 54 points in 56 games.
While it's easy to assume that Abeltshauser's statistics are inflated due to the fact he was playing with the likes of MacKinnon and Drouin, it doesn't take away from the fact that he is a 20 year old giant of a kid who has some hands on him. It's also difficult to project how many points of his point-per-game average fall under inflated. Abeltshauser was one of the top defenders in the QMJHL the past two seasons.
Abeltshauser saktes well for a big man and has a physical side to his game. He's an effective threat from the blue-line in the right situation and has a knack for getting pucks through to the net, an ever-important quality of a defender.
During the past two seasons he has developed into a good two-way defender for the Mooseheads and should transition that to Worcester in the American Hockey League for 2013/14. While his point production will drop off now that he doesn't play for one of the most junior teams in the history of the CHL, he should still be considered a two-way defender.
His stats may have been inflated with the situation he was in, but you can't bet against confidence. Abeltshauser has solidified his defensive game at the junior level and improved his offensive abilities by being surrounded with great players. He now takes the confidence of having an offensive side and being extremely successful into the AHL as he moves forward with his career.
Drafted in 2010 in the 6th round, he wasn't signed until 2012 leaving him with two years remaining on his entry level contract. The most likely path for Abeltshauser is a full season (2013/14) with Worcester in the AHL, followed by another full season in Worcester with injury call-ups to the Sharks before he is resigned again by San Jose.
It will take time to get a good idea on just how developed or raw this kid is as he moves from a superhuman junior team to the Worcester Sharks. One thing that won't change is his size. At 6'5"-225lbs he certainly has the size and strength to play in the NHL, now it's up to him to push the learning curve and find a solid two-way game in the AHL.
I think Abeltshauser's ceiling could be a #3 defender in the NHL, but he's most likely going to be a very good #5. Regardless of what slot he finds himself in down the road, he's got a few years to go. Look for him to legitimately fight for a full-time position on the Sharks back-end in 15/16, right around the same time Mirco Mueller looks to enter the lineup.
That's all for now, thanks for reading!
Stay icy, Sharks fans.
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