While the Sharks didn’t have a 1st round pick in this year’s draft for the first time, that didn’t stop them from staying aggressive as has been the trademark of Tim Burke and Dean Lombardi drafts. This was Lombardi’s 5th draft that he was in charge of, and this is the 4th year he has made a deal on draft day for a player he wants.
In 1996 the Sharks traded up to acquire Marco Sturm, in 1997 they traded up to pick Scott Hannan, in 1998 they traded down to pick Brad Stuart and got Jonathan Cheechoo in the process, and this year they traded their 2nd and 3rd round picks to acquire Tero Maatta. So far, all of the draft day deals the Sharks have made have paid off very well. If this is a sign of things to come, Maatta may some day turn into a very solid NHL player like the others have (or are prospected to become).
In the 2nd round, with the 41st pick, the Sharks chose defenseman, Tero Maatta from Finland. Playing last year for Jokerit of the junior league in Finland, he played 31 games, scoring 4 goals and 4 assists, with 53 penalty minutes. He also played major parts in the Under-18, Viking, and Five-Nation’s tournaments.
Maatta fits the mold of many Sharks draftees, as he is a player who has improved his stock a great deal in the last year. At the midseason report, he was ranked 30th by the CSB, and soared 17 spots to finish 13th in the final rankings. At 6’1″ and 205lbs, he has grown into his frame, and as the year progressed, began to use his body more. Read more»
As the Sharks head into the 2000 draft, barring any draft day trades, the Sharks will not end up with any bluechip prospects, or anyone ready to fill holes immediately. Being a weak draft, and since the Sharks enter this draft with no first round pick, the chances of them picking up anyone of substance are slim.
Holes the Sharks may try to fill this year are up front, as their defense is set for years to come. Unless a top goaltending prospect drops into the 3rd round, I don’t expect them to pick a goalie until the 5th round. Their most important need at this point resides at left wing where the Sharks remain thin and center, which is still a question mark.
The Sharks’ 1st round selection belongs to the Montreal Canadians as a result of the deal that brought Vincent Damphousse to San Jose. Barring any draft day trades, which I would not be surprised at, the Sharks will enter a draft for the first time without a first round draft pick.
The Sharks hold the option whether to give Montreal this year’s 2nd round choice or their 2nd round choice in 2001 as a result of the Damphousse trade. My opinion is that the Sharks should give Montreal this year’s pick for 2 main reasons. First, this draft simply isn’t very good, and 2001′s draft is very good. Next year, the Sharks could easily acquire a 2nd tier prospect in the 2nd round (a player normally a late 1st rounder). Second, next year’s pick is likely to be lower given an expected improvement next year. Read more»
One can not undervalue the importance of goaltending come playoff time. Nearly every team to win the Stanley Cup in the last 10 years has all had great goaltending.
Looking past Steve Shields, the Sharks have 3 young goalies who stand to play a prominent role in the future for the Sharks, however, they all remain very much of question marks. All share a very similar motto (as can most goaltending prospects for that matter). All may turn into solid NHL goalies, and all may turn into nothing more than career minor leaguers.
This year saw the first Sharks drafted goaltender step foot on the ice for the San Jose Sharks–Evgeni (aka John, aka Yevgeni) Nabokov. All other goalies to play for the Sharks were either acquired via trade, free agency or other means. Nabokov was drafted in the 9th round, with the 219th overall pick in 1994.
In limited action in San Jose, Nabokov did exactly what was asked of him. In his first start he shutout Colorado in a 0-0 tie. In 11 appearances, he was 2-2-1, a save percentage of .910, with a 2.17 GAA. In only one game did he looked out of place. At the very least, Nabokov may have proved this year that he is a reliable backup. Read more»
On Tuesday the Sharks announced that Darryl Sutter had signed a contract
extension to return for at least two more years as head coach of the San
Jose Sharks. Ever since Sutter took over the coaching position from Al
Sims, the Sharks have been building a “Darryl Sutter team.” They have made
some major trades and free agent signings in order to bring in Darryl
Sutter type players. During Sutter’s reign, the Sharks have dealt many
players who simply would not have fit in Sutter’s system. Over the past few
years, Sharks fans have seen the likes of Viktor Kozlov, Andrei Zyuzin,
Andrei Nazarov, Ville Peltonen, Vlastimil Kroupa, etc.. leave town.
Meanwhile, the Sharks have brought in players like Mike Ricci, Gary Suter,
Niklas Sundstrom, Stephane Matteau, Bryan Marchment, Dave Lowry, etc.. who
all fit nicely into Sutter’s system. Coupled with the young guns in the
Sharks’ system (Friesen, Stuart, Sturm, Marleau, Korolyuk, and the list
goes on), the Sharks have built a solid team with a great blend of
veterans and young stars. It showed last season when the Sharks were able
to get past the first round for the first time in the Sutter era.
So what does Sutter’s return mean? It means that the Sharks will be able
to continue to build on their SOLID foundation. Had Sutter left, it would
have left a huge hole for the Sharks to fill. The Sharks organization believed in
Sutter’s system, and they have committed to winning that way. Had Sutter Read more»
For the last several years, the staple of the Sharks future has been with their defensive prowess. Even though names such as Patrick Marleau, Marco Sturm, and Jonathan Cheechoo give Shark fans reason for hope up front, there are many players that give reason for being ecstatic on defense.
This year saw the emergence of two players on defense with the Sharks. The first of course is Brad Stuart who was nothing short of incredible. While he had down times throughout the year like any rookie, his year as a whole was spectacular.
Throughout the year, Stuart made his presence known. His offensive abilities are proven by the fact that all season long, he only had two times when he was held scoreless 5 games or more in a row (7 and 13 game stretches). As the year progressed, it was clear that Stuart was becoming more and more comfortable with his role not only on defense, but also as part of the offense. Next year, expect to see further strides from Stuart, as he ventures a little further into the offensive zone.