Sharks 2009 draft preview

By Cory Wilkins

Top 10 prospects

1. Logan Couture, C
2. Nick Petrecki, D
3. Jamie McGinn, LW
4. Derek Joslin, D
5. Steven Zalewski, C
6. Thomas Greiss, G
7. Lukas Kaspar, LW
8. Mike Moore, D
9. Tyson Sexsmith, G
10. Harri Sateri, G

After dealing away draft picks in loading up for a Stanley Cup run, the San Jose Sharks are low on picks this year, with just four. The Sharks will pick twice in the second round (43rd and 57th overall), and again in the fifth (146th overall) and seventh (206th overall) rounds.

The Sharks’ first rounder was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for blueliner Dan Boyle. That pick is now owned by the New York Islanders. The Sharks have not picked in the first round since 2007, selecting forward Logan Couture ninth overall.

The Sharks added a second rounder last summer in dealing defenseman Craig Rivet to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sharks’ third-round pick was dealt to the Lightning for a third rounder at last year’s draft, now belonging to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Sharks’ fourth rounder is owned by the Nashville Predators from a draft-day deal where the Sharks flipped picks. The 117th overall pick was the same, now owned by the Los Angeles Kings. The club’s sixth round pick was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for tough guy Jody Shelley. Another trade now has this pick as property of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Barring any trades, the Sharks’ first pick will be 43rd overall, the second lowest pick in franchise history, next to last year when the Sharks first pick wasn’t until 62nd overall.

Still, four picks doesn’t provide much for a team that has seen their prospect pool shallow in recent years, as general manager Doug Wilson has added to his club in hope of winning a championship. The Sharks have traded valuable picks and prospects to obtain notables like defensemen Brian Campbell and Dan Boyle.

Finishing first this past season, capturing the Presidents’ Trophy, and again falling early to first-round elimination, the Sharks are being labelled underachievers. The team surely requires a shake-up, though the magnitude of such a move is unknown. The possibility remains that the Sharks could be active the trade market on draft day as they attempt to retool. But with just four picks this year, it could be quiet on the Sharks’ draft front.

Team Needs

After yet another playoff flop, GM Wilson only has a few other variables he can change. While the team’s core is signed long-term, speculation will not go away that captain Patrick Marleau could be moved, despite denials. But on a team that has finished the regular season strongly only to lose in the playoffs, improved leadership and fresh legs seem to be the biggest needs.

The Sharks have a handful of RFAs and only so much cap space. At forward, Ryane Clowe, Marcel Goc, Torrey Mitchell and Tomas Plihal need new contracts, while cap restrictions could force the club to cut loose pending UFAs Travis Moen and Mike Grier. Jeremy Roenick, 39, has yet to announce his intentions for next season. Tinkering with the pieces will need to happen, but there are no huge gaps to fill.

Organizational Strengths

The Sharks have plenty of goaltending depth, with five goalies ranked among the club’s top 13 prospects. Backup goaltender Brian Boucher, an impending free agent, could be replaced by Thomas Greiss. The Sharks boast several bottom-tier forwards, those who possess a gritty game and excel on the penalty kill.

Organizational Weaknesses

While the Sharks roster owns several offensive forwards, the same cannot be said for the club’s prospect pool. The Sharks have many prospects who are character players but they lack scoring talent. This deficiency was caused by the team trading valuable picks in hope of winning a championship, while high picks will replenish the scoring depth.

Draft Tendencies

The Sharks lean on college-bound players a good bit, and have not drafted out of Europe much since the IIHF agreement expired.

The Sharks seem to take more than their fair share of goaltenders. Dealing goaltending prospect Timo Pielmeier for Travis Moen at the trade deadline could see the Sharks draft another goaltender this year, though it’s not a very good crop.

Hockey’s Future staff mock draft result: N/A – Traded

With only four picks through seven rounds, it will be quiet draft weekend for the Sharks, barring any accrued picks. Though, after yet another failed post-season, the chance of a shake-up through trade seems high.