Sharks’ GM: ‘We Have Quite A Bit Of Work Still Ahead Of Us’
Draft day is over. But the San Jose Sharks still have a lot of heavy lifting in their future.
With nine picks in the 2015 NHL draft, the Sharks picked up three defensemen, three wingmen, two goalies and a center. They acquired another defenseman, Patrick McNally, in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks, giving up a seventh-round pick.
But as their division rivals swung deals to add depth at the draft, the Sharks stayed patient, so they’ll need to be active in the trade and free agent markets this summer to address holes on the blue line and in net.
“We have quite a bit of work still ahead of us,” general manager Doug Wilson said, adding: “We are still looking to add some more pieces to this team and we will do so.”
The asking price for goalies Cam Talbot, Robin Lehner and Eddie Lack wound up being too high for the Sharks in a draft year Wilson considered to be particularly strong.
The New York Rangers received a second-round pick, a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick in the 2015 from the Edmonton Oilers for Talbot. The Ottawa Senators acquired forward David Legwand and a first-round pick (No. 21) in the 2015 draft from the Buffalo Sabres for Lehner and the Vancouver Canucks obtained a third-round pick in 2015 draft and a seventh-round pick in the 2016 draft from the Carolina Hurricanes for Lack.
All three goaltenders have less than 90 games of NHL experience under their belts.
“You’ve got to balance giving up the assets where you might get a Timo Meier or Jeremy Roy or [Mike] Robinson all the way through it. You’ve got to balance that,” Wilson said. “But [I] also know the discussions that I’ve had with other teams, who’s still in play and the potential trade opportunities that will be ahead of us.”
Instead of using his second-round pick (No.39) to potentially acquire a netminder, Wilson packaged it with a second-round pick and a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft to move up and draft defenseman Jeremy Roy with the No. 31 pick in this years’ draft.
Roy was projected to be a mid-first round pick, but he was still available after the opening round was completed on Friday. The Sharks jumped at the opportunity to draft him.
“We viewed him certainly as a first-round prospect. We were trying to figure out a way all day yesterday to try and move up to get him,” Wilson said, shortly after the draft was completed on Saturday. “This is a guy we wanted badly and I have no problem paying full value or even overpaying to get somebody you really want. There’s no chance he would have fallen to No. 39.”
Wilson said he is not concerned about any potential lingering effects related to the lower-body injury that Roy suffered in QMJHL last season.
“We’ve done our homework on it,” Wilson said. “It’s interesting, the year that we drafted Logan Couture, Logan had had a lot of injuries that year and we did our research and he turned out to be a pretty good hockey player.”
While the Sharks stayed out of the goalie trade market, they drafted two netminders with their arsenal of picks. They snagged high school senior Mike Robinson with the No. 86 pick, acquired as compensation from the Oilers for former-head coach Todd McLellan, and they selected North American Hockey League netminder, John Kupsky, with the seventh-round pick obtained from the Dallas Stars for the negotiating rights to pending free agent Antti Niemi.
Both netminders fit the mold of the modern-NHL goalie. Robinson is listed at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds while Kupsky is listed at 6-foot-5, 2010 pounds.
“It doesn’t always work out that way, but I think the market, most of the [goalies] were pretty big this year,” Sharks director of scouting Tim Burke said.
Robinson, who’s committed to the University of New Hampshire, said he models his game after Hart Trophy winner Carey Price.
“A lot of goaltenders have very unique styles, but I feel like I relate myself most to Carey Price,” Robinson said.
In addition to Robinson, the Sharks drafted a pair of Latvian players, defenseman Karlis Cukste (No. 130) and left winger Rudolfs Balcers (No.142), a left winger out of the WHL, Adam Helewka (No. 106), a Canadian centerman, Marcus Vela (No. 190), and American defenseman, Adam Parsells (No.160).
Parsells is a raw talent, but his 6-foot-6 frame on the back end certainly offers promise.
While the Sharks are pleased with their draft loot, they expect to be active this summer in pursuit of a top-four defenseman and another goalie to keep up with the Joneses in the Pacific Division.
As the Sharks stock piled prospects in the draft, the Los Angeles Kings added power forward Milan Lucic, the Anaheim Ducks acquired speedy forward Carl Hagelin, the Calgary Flames snagged top defenseman Dougie Hamilton and the Oilers brought in Talbot.
The Sharks are still in the market for a defenseman after a potential trade for Canucks blue liner Kevin Bieksa fell through on Friday. According to the Vancouver Province, the deal fell apart because the Sharks weren’t willing to give up the No. 39 pick, which they eventually traded to move up to the No. 31 spot.
Wilson said the Sharks will add another goaltender at some point down the road.
“There’s several goalies still out there that are potentially available,” he said. “We’ll address the goaltending situation, I have no concerns about that.”
While the Sharks stayed relatively quiet during the draft, Wilson suggested that the team will pull the trigger on a deal when the “right players” become available.
“We’ve acquired players at different times,” he said. “We’ve had trades at the draft. We’ve acquired players later in the summer. You look at Joe Thornton, we acquired him in November, so we’re looking for the right player, the right type of player that fits for now and the future.”
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