Holding the ninth overall pick after a season of struggle, disappointment and growing pains, the San Jose Sharks will station themselves near the front of the stage at the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Florida. It will be the highest selection the organization has had since it took Logan Couture with the same pick back in 2007.
A year into the quasi-reboot, the team enters the draft with eight picks (9, 39, 106, 130, 142, 160, 190, and 202), a new coach in Peter DeBoer, a stocked prospect pool of talent, and a familiar cast of veterans with no-movement clauses: a smorgasbord of variables for General Manager Doug Wilson to consider come draft time, June 26-27th.
One thing seems for certain, despite a propensity in the past for Doug Wilson to move up or down in the draft with his team’s first pick, the Sharks seem committed to the 9th spot due to their belief that the draft features high-end quality talent at that point in the draft. Don’t expect a deal on day one, but with a big belief in the 2015 draft by the organization, a day two surge in activity should be expected from Wilson and director of scouting Tim Burke.
Top 10 Prospects
1. Chris Tierney, C
2. Mirco Mueller, D
3. Nikolay Goldobin, W
4. Dan O’Regan, W
5. Rourke Chartier, C/W
6. Barclay Goodrow, W
7. Dylan DeMelo, D
8. Michael Brodzinski, D
9. Noah Rod, C/W
10. Julius Bergman, D
Last season’s influx of youth projects to fix some of the holes in the roster, especially with the continued development of Chris Tierney, Tomas Hertl, Barclay Goodrow, Mirco Mueller and Melker Karlsson. However, the team still lacks a top-pairing defenseman, consistency in net, and arguably a skilled top nine forward that can infuse a strong scoring standard.
After a really solid 2014 Draft, arguably one of the better drafts in the team’s history, the Sharks prospect pool is in considerably improved shape. There is depth and NHL potential in all positions and roles of play. Two-way forwards (highlighted by Chris Tierney, Rourke Chartier, and Barclay Goodrow) and bottom-pairing defensemen make up the bulk of the pool–but there are some lottery ticket players like last year’s first, Nikolay Goldobin, who have star potential.
Much is spoken about skill and success on the scoresheet, but a less talked-about strength with this group is its high character, high hockey I.Q, and high “compete” skillset that the vast majority of these young men seem to have. These are key attributes for the Sharks organization, and look for them to continue this trend at the 2015 draft.
As good as the group is as a whole, the San Jose Sharks prospect pool continues to lack blue chip talent. While these types of players are rare for a reason, the fact that the Sharks pool is so stable, well-balanced, and to be frank, undervalued, allows the team to shoot for the stars and gamble a little bit on high-risk/reward type players. As with last draft’s suggestions (where the team took a bit of a gamble with Goldobin), the team could also look to invest a later pick in a goaltending, and such a move could be telling of the organization’s view of Fredrik Bergvik, Joel Rumpel and J.P Anderson–three of the younger goaltending prospects in the system who had mediocre seasons.
Doug Wilson is a man of mystery on draft day. It’s a cliche, but the only tendency this organization has when it comes to the draft (outside of drafting intelligent, high character players with “compete,” of course) is that there is no tendency. Fans do like to joke that the organization highly praises the NHL Draft Combine’s VO2 Max test as both Tomas Hertl and Mirco Mueller had the best results in this test during their draft years–but of course, last draft that streak was broken.
Wilson likes to trade, and he isn’t afraid to make a splash. While a big move might be out of the question because of the no-movement clauses he has to deal with, it is likely that the Sharks will be active on the trade floor.
Hockey’s Future Staff Mock Draft Results:
9. Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon Wheat Kings
There are a couple of “Shark-type” players in this spot (Lawson Crouse, Timo Meier, maybe even off the board a bit with Joel Eriksson Ek – so trading down is a huge possibility, even if Wilson won’t admit it), but Ivan Provorov has number one defenseman potential and some suggest that he is the smartest player in the draft. I loved watching him all year for the Wheat Kings. He looks like he could step in to the NHL right away which would be amazing for a defensman at his age, and he looks like a player that new coach Peter DeBoer would get along with well.