Over seven months after trading Barclay Goodrow to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sharks know exactly what first-round pick they got in return.
San Jose will pick No. 31 overall in next week's NHL draft after Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup on Monday night. The Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, lifting the trophy for the second time in franchise history.
The Sharks traded Goodrow and a 2020 third-round pick to the Lightning on Feb. 24 for the aforementioned first-round pick and minor-league forward Anthony Greco. Seventeen days later, the NHL season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It officially resumed on Aug. 1, and after playing 25 round-robin and playoff games in two different Canadian bubbles -- one in Toronto and one in Edmonton, Alberta -- over 59 days, Goodrow and the Lightning are champions.
Now, attention shifts to the 2020 NHL Draft, which begins with the first round on Oct. 6. The Sharks, as it stands right now, are set to have the last pick of the night. San Jose also holds two second-round selections (No. 34 and No. 56 overall), giving general manager Doug Wilson and the front office plenty of ammunition early in the proceedings.
Will the Sharks hang on to all of their picks, maintaining an eye on the future? Or, will they package them -- perhaps with a player and/or a prospect -- in order to upgrade a roster that finished last in the Western Conference in 2019-20?
Wilson predictably played coy ahead of the proceedings.
“The ingredients that we’re looking to add to our group, this draft is full of those ingredients,” Wilson told reporters last week on a video conference call (h/t The Athletic's Kevin Kurz).
“Do I see us potentially using all those picks to draft players? It depends how things fall, but it’s a very good draft for what we need and what we’ve identified to look for. There’s years where we’ve integrated younger players and gone on to make the Western Conference finals. There’s years we had to bring in some players from the outside. We’re going through the process right now, which direction we’re going to go on it, the draft will dictate that a little bit.”
Even though it's not clear when the Sharks will next take the ice, their offseason suddenly has plenty of clarity. Bob Boughner was named coach last week, and his staff was filled out, too. Now, San Jose -- barring additional trades -- knows when it's time to make the first of seven selections in next week's draft. Free agency begins on Oct. 9, two days after the draft ends.
It might be well into 2021 before the Sharks play a competitive game again, but the process of building a roster for next season (and beyond) really begins in earnest next week.