Prize NCAA Free Agent Reveals Why He Chose The San Jose Sharks

Graham Montgomery
April 5, 2024  (7:55 PM)

Former Quinnipiac University center Collin Graf skating with the puck on his stick
Photo credit: New England Hockey Journal

Yesterday top NCAA free agent Collin Graf went pro, leaving Quinnipiac University to join the NHL. Today the 22-year-old revealed why he chose to sign with an unexpected team.

That team was none other than the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks announced that they had signed Graf to an entry-level-contract yesterday. The move came as a surprise to many, but as NHL insider Pierre Lebrun mentions, there is a lot of opportunity for young players to get ice time in San Jose right now.
Sharks announce they've signed top NCAA free agent Collin Graf.
The 21-year-old had Zoom calls with 6 NHL teams 2 weeks ago. Was a difficult decision to narrow it down.
Opportunity beckons in San Jose.

Following the signing, Graf held his first interview with reporters in San Jose on his first day with the team this morning. He revealed that Sharks general manager Mike Grier was upfront and honest with him about what kind of opportunity he will get with the team through the end of the season and going into next year and beyond as well. He also mentioned how he is from Massachusetts, a common theme for Mike Grier draft picks.
"I think they were really honest with me. There are a lot of Northeast guys, as a Massachusetts guy, it's familiar. I thought that obviously added to the decision for sure. I think it was just the honesty of what they saw in me and what they thought I could do."

San Jose Hockey Now reporter Sheng Peng did a piece on Graf where he also cited the organization's honesty with the NCAA forward.
"They were honest with me."

Collin Graf is expected to make his NHL debut this weekend...the Quinnipiac free agent shares why he chose #SJSharks:

Graf also talked briefly about how he knows Sharks rookie defenseman Henry Thrun. Thrun played in the same conference as Graf as he captained Harvard University in his final year of NCAA hockey. The Sharks acquired Thrun in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks last season.
"I know Henry Thrun. [I] played against him at Harvard. [I've] skated with him growing up; we had a similar skating coach, and in the summer, played three on three with him. Besides that, I don't think I know anyone"

Today was also Graf's first chance to participate in practice with the Sharks. He was on a line with some of the Sharks' better forwards in William Eklund and Luke Kunin, indicating that he could be slated for a top-six role as early as tomorrow when the Sharks take on the St. Louis Blues.
Collin Graf, chatting with Jacob MacDonald, joins #SJSharks practice for the first time

Source: HockeyFeed
Collin Graf reveals why he spurned several teams to sign with lowly Sharks
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Prize NCAA Free Agent Reveals Why He Chose The San Jose Sharks

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