“Fearsome Young Sharks” Prospect Profile – Max Gaede

Photo courtesy of Alexander Zimmermann {@Alex_Z_Sharkie}

On the second day of the 2010 National Hockey League {NHL} Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks drafted forward Max Gaede in the third round with the 88th overall pick.

“He’s a strong kid that’s got a lot of talent,” said San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke in an interview with The Mercury News shortly after the selection of Gaede.  “He gets everybody involved and made his team better.  He’s kind of a rink rat player.  One of those players where you may look at it and say, ‘why wasn’t he rated a little bit higher?’  Well, he wasn’t in a glamorous program.”

Described by westerncollegehockeyblog.com as a “power forward that can play the wing, is excellent cycling the puck along the boards, and has pretty good vision and passing ability,” Gaede first started playing hockey around age nine.  Gaede’s mother, Eileen Gleeson, scrambled to dress him for his first practice with equipment she bought used or scooped out of the lost and found bins.

In his first ever practice, Gaede displayed tremendous speed but little-to-no maneuverability as in his first on-ice rush, Gaede smashed into the end boards at top speed.

“He could skate fast, but he couldn’t stop or turn or anything,” said Gleeson in an interview with Loren Nelson for an Oct. 23, 2009 mnhockeyhub.com article.  “I was laughing so hard.  Within minutes though he had figured it all out.”

Attending Woodbury high school in Minnesota, Gaede registered 15 points on five goals and 10 assists for the Royals in the 2007-08 season, his sophomore year.

In his junior year, 2008-09, Gaede led the Royals to a 21-4-2 overall record while registering 44 points on 16 goals and a team leading 28 assists in 27 games played.  Unfortunately, the Royals season ended with a 2-0 upset loss to Apple Valley in the section 3AA semifinals.

A few days after the Royals’ shocking loss, Gaede and his dad, Frank Gaede, were flown to Edmonton as guests of the Western Hockey League’s {WHL} Edmonton Oil Kings.  Hoping to lure Max to the bright lights of Edmonton, the Oil Kings gave the Gaedes the red-carpet treatment at a home game and offered to pay for Max’s education – one year’s worth for every year Max played for the franchise.

“They really sold me on it,” said Frank of the Oil Kings in an interview with Nelson for an Oct. 27, 2009 mnhockeyhub.com article.  “The game was on tv and radio and the team’s locker room was right next to the Edmonton Oilers‘ locker room.  It was a beautiful locker room.”

Impressed with the Oil Kings organization, Frank realized this wasn’t his decision to make and had to bite his tongue a little bit when Max made his decision.

“Max said he wanted to say here in Woodbury,” said Frank in Nelson’s Oct. 27 article.  “It’s his life here.  Max makes his own decisions.  I didn’t want to be the guy that pushed him toward something he might regret the rest of his life.”

Added Max in Nelson’s Oct. 27 article, “It was completely my decision.  Every single parent should handle it like that, I think.  They did it perfectly.”

Shortly after declining the Oil Kings’ offer, the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League {USHL} made their offer to Max, who turned them down as well but admitted saying “no” to them was more difficult as he had developed a strong relationship with then Musketeers head coach Todd Knott.

“That was a huge option,” said Max in Nelson’s Oct. 23 article.  “That was the one where I was almost packing my bags.”

Why did Max decline the Musketeers’ offer?  In June 2009, coach Knott accepted an assistant coach job at Minnesota State-Mankato.

“I didn’t know who the coach was going to be {in Sioux City}; I didn’t know if he was going to like me or not,” said Max in Nelson’s Oct. 23 article.  “It ended up working out pretty well, though.”

Work out it did as on Oct. 11, 2009, Max accepted a scholarship offer to play at Minnesota State-Mankato.

“The coaches are great guys and they were really the main reason why I chose the school,” said Max in an Oct. 16, 2009 interview with Tim Kolehmainen for mnhockeyhub.com.  “It was a great weight off my shoulders committing there but also I take it as the work has just begun.  I know how very fortunate I am with the opportunities I have received.  I have to say it’s a big relief knowing that I will be doing what I love after high school.”

Determined to win a championship, Max returned to Woodbury high school for his senior season and led the Royals to a 15-8-2 overall record while registering 36 points on 19 goals and 17 assists in 25 games played.  In the section 3AA playoffs, Woodbury defeated Park {Cottage Grove} and Cretin-Derham Hall by scores of 5-3 and 2-1 respectively, and got a rematch with Apple Valley in the Section 3AA Final where Apple Valley once again ended Woodbury’s season, this time by a 4-0 score.

Once Max’s season at Woodbury was done, Max joined the Musketeers for the final 11 games of the 2009-10 USHL season and registered two points on one goal and one assist.  A few months later, Max was drafted by the Sharks in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

“For me, I basically pretended like it wasn’t going on,” said Max of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in an interview with James D’Amanda for a June 21 ushl.com article.  “I wasn’t checking the updates – I just kind of let it happen.  I got a call from San Jose even before I looked at the TV.  It’s a huge deal, but if I didn’t get drafted it wasn’t going to make or break my career.”

Returning to the Musketeers this past season, Max registered 28 points on 10 goals and 18 assists to go along with 57 penalty minutes in 54 games played and admitted the transition from high school to junior ice hockey was not a smooth one.

“I come from Minnesota high school hockey, so the USHL was an eye-opener and I learned a lot about working hard this year,” said Max in the D’Amanda article.  “At first, I was really down on myself, but you can’t focus on how bad the last pass was when you can go focus on something else – on working harder.”

Despite producing a solid 2010-11 season for the Musketeers and winning a gold medal at the 2010 World Junior A-Challenge as a member of the U.S. Junior Select Team {made up entirely of USHL players}, Max faced ample criticism all season from critics who placed absurd expectations on Max following the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

“If you ask me straight up, I’d say I had a great year – a fantastic year,” said Max in the D’Amanda article.  “But then you look at my number’s and go, ‘Well, he didn’t have that great of a year.’  It’s more about how I played through a slump and came out of it by the end of the year and helped my team during the playoffs.”

Spending his entire summer training for his debut at Minnesota State-Mankato this fall, Max told D’Amanda he has never worked harder in his life to prepare for this upcoming season and knows his dream of suiting up in the NHL won’t happen overnight.

“It’s like a big staircase, and you can’t skip steps,” said Max in the D’Amanda article.  “I’m continuing up the staircase.  If it takes one year or it takes forever, I’m just taking my time.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Tim Burke discusses drafting Max Gaede  {Courtesy of YouTube user “MNHockeyHub”}

Max Gaede vs. Dominic Racobldo USHL fight  {Courtesy of YouTube user “bigbabysweetssc”}

Max Gaede vs. Lincoln Stars  {Courtesy of YouTube user “musketeershockey”}
In this video clip, Gaede scores on an awesome individual effort in an April 2, 2011 USHL game against the Lincoln Stars.  Gaede’s goal starts at the 1:48 mark of the video clip.  In addition, Gaede screens out the Stars’ goalie on the Musketeers’ first goal and draws the penalty that leads to the game winning goal.

Max Gaede laser-beam goal  {Courtesy of YouTube user “musketeershockey”}
In this video clip, Gaede scores on a laser-beam of a shot in an April 5, 2011 USHL game against the Lincoln Stars.  Gaede’s goal stats at the 1:44 mark of the video clip.

*Videos and information were used from sharks.nhl.com, www.ushl.com, www.musketeershockey.com, www.hockeydb.com, www.hockeysfuture.com, www.mnhockeyhub.com, www.westerncollegehockeyblog.com, www.mercurynews.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 August 19, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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