The San Jose Sharks find themselves in a rather unique situation comparative to years past. After missing the playoffs, as well as the perceived controversy in both the locker room and front offices, it’s safe to say the Sharks are ready to make a few changes. They already have some good young pieces in Mirco Mueller, Nikolay Goldobin, Tomas Hertl, and Matt Nieto, but they’re still a few pieces away from a rebuilt top six. One positive they have going for them is 26 year old pivot Logan Couture. Having a player like Couture alleviates some of the stress associated with finding a top 6 center. After making the rocky relationship between management and Jumbo known to the public, It’s possible he may have seen his last home game in the Shark Tank. Others who are rumoured to be on the block include Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns. Throw in Pavelski and Vlasic, and we could see a full on rebuild. As for the 9th pick, there’s a few directions they may end up going. Mathew Barzal’s name has been tossed around, however I don’t believe he’d be a good fit. Much like the Avs, the Sharks defensive depth is suspect, but the answer lies with Zach Werenski. Perhaps it would be in the best interest of both the Avs or the Sharks to move up because the chances of Werenski making it past the Jackets are very low.
Draft Day Gameplan
– Acquire a top 15 pick. Stars and Panthers may have interest in Burns/Pavelski.
– Move Joe Thornton for best possible return. A first (likely late) plus a good prospect may get it done.
– Address the crease. The Sharks do have a decent amount of forward prospects, so moving picks for a goalie like Talbot would be smart.
– Look at moving up. If Hanifin/Provorov falls, look to get in the top 7.
Sharks Big Board (Without McEichel)
1. Dylan Strome
2. Noah Hanifin
3. Ivan Provorov
4. Mitchell Marner
5. Zach Werenski
6. Mikko Rantanen
7. Pavel Zacha
8. Mathew Barzal
9. Lawson Crouse
10. Kyle Connor
Who do they take?
With the Jackets poised to grab a defenceman, it’s unlikely one of the big 3 make it past pick 8. If they’re looking at forwards, Barzal, Crouse, even Yevgeni Svechnikov would be good options. When it comes down to it, Lawson Crouse is the guy they go with.
In a year where the first round is as deep as it is, it’s hard to pick out a real “dark horse” per say, but two names I’d keep an eye on are Jansen Harkins of the Prince George Cougars as well as Everett’s Noah Juulsen.