“Fearsome Young Sharks” Prospect Profile – Curt Gogol

Photo courtesy of Alexander Zimmermann {@Alex_Z_Sharkie}

On Sept. 21, 2010, San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced the team had signed unrestricted free agent forward Curt Gogol {@CurtG17} to an entry-level contract.

“Curt has made great progress as a player over the last two seasons,” said Wilson in a press release on the Sharks website.  “We are pleased to add him to our organization and look forward to working with him to further his development, which has excelled under Saskatoon General Manager and Head Coach Lorne Molleken.”

Described by hockeysfuture.com as “an aggressive agitator and tenacious competitor who backs down from no one,” Gogol was selected by the Kelowna Rockets in the eighth round {165th overall} of the 2006 Western Hockey League {WHL} Bantam Draft.  Two years later, Gogol earned a spot on the Rockets roster for the 2008-09 season as a 17-year-old rookie and registered five points on one goal and four assists to go along with 144 penalty minutes in 63 regular season games played.

In addition, Gogol helped lead the Rockets to the WHL title that season in an energy role on a line with Mitchell Callahan and Evan Bloodoff.  In the Rockets 22 playoff games, Gogol registered one point on one goal to go along with 30 penalty minutes.

“That was the most fun I’ve had playing junior hockey, for sure,” said Gogol in an interview with Larry Fisher for a Sept. 2010 Kelowna Daily Courier article.  “I actually had a role on that team that I liked.  It was fun contributing in playoffs with that team.  That’s an experience I’ll never forget.”

The following season, 2009-10, Gogol registered six points on six assists to go along with 120 penalty minutes in 35 games played before being traded in Jan. 2010 to the Saskatoon Blades for the rights to forward Colton Sissons and a third-round pick in 2011.  The trade came at the request of Gogol, who was butting heads with Rockets head coach Ryan Huska and the coaching staff due to their request for Gogol to be more of an enforcer on the team to replace Ryley Grantham.

“We had two different roles in mind,” said Gogol in the Fisher article.  “I’m a two-way forward that just likes to go out there and cause havoc, and help out with the odd goal.  If a fight is needed, I will go out there and fight.  But it’s not after every goal I’m going to go out there and fight the heavyweight of the league; I can’t do that.  That’s what I found my role was being in Kelowna.”

In eight regular season games with the Blades, Gogol registered one point on one goal to go along with 29 penalty minutes.  In the Blades’ 10 playoff games, Gogol registered four points on a goal and three assists to go along with 23 penalty minutes.

Despite winning a WHL title and scrapping with all challengers of all sizes, it wasn’t enough for Gogol to be selected at the 2010 National Hockey League {NHL} Entry Draft.

“Any time it’s your draft day, it’s something big,” said Gogol in the Fisher article.  “For a couple of days there, I was out of commission.  I had a couple of teams call me right after the draft and I was pretty mad.”

After discussing his post-draft options with his agent, both agreed that the best place for Gogol to earn a contract and possibly play for one day was San Jose.  Showing up to the Sharks 2010 training camp as an undrafted, unrestricted free agent camp invite, Gogol played in all three games for the Sharks at the 2010 Young Stars tournament, which was held in Penticton, B.C., from Sept. 12-16, and registered 18 penalty minutes.

In the opening game against the Anaheim Ducks, Gogol squared off with Scott Ramsay despite giving up four inches in height.  Less than 24 hours later, Gogol dropped the gloves with Taylor Ellington of the Vancouver Canucks despite Ellington being four years the elder and having spent part of the 2009-10 season with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League {AHL}.  Despite the age and experience difference, Gogol finished the fight with Ellington in decisive fashion with a TKO at center ice.

“I initiated both fights,” said Gogol in the Fisher article.  “Obviously, it’s a part of my game, but I don’t want it to be my whole game.  I don’t want to be a one-dimensional player.  But I do fight and I have to fight to make an impression.  And this is a great spot to make an impression with five teams watching you.  I’m here to impress, not just this team, but the other four, coming in undrafted.  Whatever it takes, I’m going to do whatever they want me to do, whatever they want my role to be.”

Impress is exactly what Gogol did as he was rewarded with an entry-level contract by the Sharks five days after the Young Stars tournament concluded. 

“Curt really deserves this opportunity, he has worked extremely hard and put forth a lot of effort to get to this point, reaching all of our expectations,” said Coach Molleken in a Sept. 2010 interview with the Blades website.

Returning to the Blades for the 2010-11 season, Gogol registered two points on one goal and one assist to go along with 59 penalty minutes in 15 games played before being traded along with an eighth round 2011 draft pick to the Chilliwack Bruins {renamed the Victoria Royals on April 2, 2011} on Nov. 2, 2010, for forward Chris Collins.

“This was a situation where we had an opportunity to bring in a younger forward that we feel has tremendous potential,” said Coach Molleken in an interview for a whl.ca press release.  “We would like to thank Curt for his contributions to the Saskatoon Blades over the past two seasons.”

Serving as an assistant with the Bruins for the 2010-11 season, newly named Regina Pats head coach Pat Conacher knew what a Gogol could bring to the Bruins in the tough B.C. division.  Conacher, a veteran of more than 500 National Hockey League {NHL} games, broke into the junior leagues with Curt’s father, Brent, in the 1977-78 season on the Billings Bighorns in the old Western Canada Hockey League {WCHL}.

That season, Brent Gogol set the WHL record for most penalty minutes in a season with 511, amassing 46 penalty minutes in six games with the Victoria Cougars and 465 with the Bighorns in 67 games played.  Brent also chipped in offensively that season, registering 27 points on 13 goals and 14 assists {one assist was with the Cougars}.  In the Bighorns 20 playoff games that season, Brent registered five points on one goal and four assists to go along with 95 penalty minutes.

“He knew what he needed to be, what he needed to bring every game,” said Conacher of Brent Gogol in an interview with Marc Weber for a Nov. 2010 Province article.  “He was a guy who went out and stood up for his teammates.  He was such a physical player and the fighting just came to him.”

Playing on his third team in as many seasons, the knock on Curt had been his discipline, something he was never aware of.

“I was never told ‘You’re hurting the team,'” said Gogol of his time in Saskatoon in the Weber article.  “But coming here and having Marc {Habscheid} as good a coach as he is, sat me down and told me I have a lot to change and this is a great place to change.”

Change is what Curt did as he served as an assistant captain for the Bruins while setting career highs in goals {four}, assists {eight} and points {12} in 47 games played to go along with 142 penalty minutes.  In the Bruins’ five playoff games, Curt registered one point on one assist to go along with six penalty minutes.

Taking pride in his two-way role, and getting under the opposition’s skin, Curt told Weber it was a “dream come true” to lean on and learn from Conacher.  In addition, Sharks development coach Mike Ricci took Curt under his wing at Sharks training camp and stressed the same message the Bruins echoed upon his arrival in Chilliwack:  Learn to play on the edge but don’t go over it.

“When you’re that type of player you walk that fine line,” said Habscheid in the Weber article.  “He’s all eyes and ears in terms of wanting to improve and he brings that element of sandpaper that I think our group needed.  We have some skilled guys that we thought some teams wanted to take liberties with and we want them to be able to play their game.  Curt is not a lot of fun to play against.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Curt Gogol vs. Matt McCue  {Jan. 30, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Scott Ramsay  {Feb. 22, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Tyler Schmidt  {April 12, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Mike Berube {April 25, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Cole Grbavac  {Sept. 25, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Ryan McNaught  {Oct. 10, 2009}  (Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Cameron Abney  {Oct. 17, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Ian Schultz  {Oct. 28, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Josh Caron {Nov. 7, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Radko Gudas  {Nov. 13, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Brett Ponich  {Nov. 14, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Tayler Jordan  {Nov. 18, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Greg Fraser  {Nov. 21, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Brayden McNabb {Nov. 28, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Cody Smuk  {Dec. 12, 2009}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Ian Schultz  {Jan. 13, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Zak Stebner  {March 7, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Andrew Herle  {March 13, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “HordiBrusk29”}

Curt Gogol vs. Justin Weller  {March 25, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Scott Ramsay  {Sept. 12, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “Shorty25”}

Curt Gogol vs. Taylor Ellingston {Sept. 13, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsdot.com”}

Curt Gogol vs. Jordan Rowley  {Sept. 24, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Darren Bestland  {Oct. 1, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube use “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Joel Edmundson {Oct. 19, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Mitchell Callahan  {Nov. 6, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol s. Klarc Wilson  {Nov. 9, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Brett Lyon  {Dec. 4, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Jesse Pearson {Dec. 17, 2010}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Dylan Willick  {Jan. 29, 2011}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Mitchell Callahan {Feb. 2, 2011}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Jessey Astles  {March 4, 2011}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Matt Bellerive {March 9, 2011}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightplus”}

Curt Gogol vs. Wes Vannieuwenhuizen {March 12, 2011}  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

*Videos and information were used from sharks.nhl.com, www.hockeysfuture.com, www.wikipedia.com, www.kelownadailycourier.ca, www2.canada.com, www.whl.ca, www.kelownarockets.com, www.chilliwacktimes.com, www.hockeydb.com and www.youtube.com for this post entry.*

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About Jon Allred

Life long San Jose and Worcester Sharks fan that bleeds teal and black.

Posted on July 29, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. A chip off the block

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