How Healthy and Confident Tomas Hertl Is Off to Stellar Start for Sharks

In the waning seconds of the Sharks' Tuesday night game against the Rangers, fans might've thought about changing the channel on their home TVs or shuffling out of their seats at the Tank to hit up a bar or two down at San Pedro Square with San Jose down 3-2 at the end of regulation.

But if they had, they would've missed Tomas Hertl's spectacular game-tying goal.

As part of a unit that was swarming around the visiting net, Hertl snagged a behind-the-net feed from Logan Couture and fired the puck up past Henrik Lundqvist's sleeve to tie the game up 3-3 with 1.8 seconds to go in regulation.

This isn't the first jaw-dropping goal the 24-year-old forward has scored this season, let alone been a part of creating. As he enters his sixth season with the Sharks, Hertl is off to as healthy and as confident a start as he's had in his young career.

"I had a good summer and I felt great after last half season and the playoffs," Hertl said with a smile. "I feel pretty confident."

Since tallying that now notorious four-goal game against the Rangers during his rookie campaign, Hertl has endured a handful of injuries, most notably being part of a knee-to-knee collision with former LA Kings captain Dustin Brown in 2013. But after a 2017-18 season relatively void of setbacks, the Czech native has been able to build up some momentum.

"He's building on last year," coach Peter DeBoer said. "He was healthy last year for the first time in a long time."

Staying healthy has also helped him increase his goal-scoring repertoire. Just 12 games into the season, he has found the back of the net five times, all of which have been nifty highlight-reel-worthy goals.

"If you get a couple points, you start trying things because you have more confidence," Hertl said humbly. 

DeBoer even compared Hertl to his current linemate, Timo Meier, who's leading the Sharks with nine goals this season.

"Unlike Timo, who, knock on wood, has been healthy and has gotten to this level a little quicker, I think Hertl just had some setbacks," DeBoer said. "But now you're seeing what [Hertl] is capable of, and he's fantastic."

That line combination alone is worthy of all the praise it is garnering. Along with Couture and Meier, Hertl has helped create some of the best scoring moments on the young season. The chemistry between the three skaters has been unmistakable.

"I've worked with Logan for over a year now, and we've really built some chemistry," Hertl said. "And (Timo's) had a great season so far. I think he's a guy like me. He's fast, he's strong on the puck, he can shoot. And I think we've built some chemistry already too. So hopefully we can score more goals."

Although Hertl is only two years older than Meier, he's been with the team for longer. Does he consider himself a veteran despite still being one of the younger guys on the team? 

"I'm kind of in the middle," Hertl chuckled. "I'm still 24, but it's my sixth season."

Regardless of how he views himself age-wise on the squad, Hertl is laying the foundation to have one of the best seasons of his NHL career.

"We just started. I know I can change a couple things and I know I can still be better," Hertl said. "I'm just trying every night, and so far it's working."

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us