The last time the Sharks missed out on the playoffs two years in a row, they ended up with the No. 2 overall pick in the ensuing draft, which they used to select none other than Patrick Marleau.
Safe to say, that pick worked out just fine for San Jose. Aside from everything Marleau has done throughout his legendary career, all you have to do is look at the Sharks' draft history over the two-plus decades since to see the long-term effects of that selection.
Over that span, the Sharks were tremendously consistent, failing to qualify for the playoffs just two times. Consequently, they rarely were picking in the top half of each entry draft. In fact, since Marleau, San Jose has selected in the top 10 of an entry draft just four times, and only twice within the top seven picks.
So, naturally, the Sharks are hoping their current two-year drought leads to a similar extended turnaround. And now that they know where their pick is slotted heading into the draft lottery, they can begin to develop an idea of which prospects will be available when it's their turn to pick.
Thanks to the Vancouver Canucks' 4-2 win to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, the Sharks are slotted in seventh going into the NHL draft lottery. The Sharks and rival Los Angeles Kings finished the season with identical records, but since San Jose had fewer regulation and overtime wins than LA, the Kings are right behind the Sharks in eighth.
That means that the Sharks' pick ultimately will land in one of five spots in the first-round draft order: No. 1, No. 2, No. 7, No. 8 or No. 9 overall.
The Nos. 1 and 2 overall picks will be determined by a drawing of ping pong balls, with the best odds going to the worst team -- the Buffalo Sabres -- and then descending from there. Once the top two picks are determined, the remaining lottery teams will fill out picks No. 3 through No. 16 according to total points.
So, the Sharks' only chance to jump into the top two is if they win the draft lottery. Otherwise, they're likely to pick seventh overall, unless one or two teams below them in the order leapfrogs them in the lottery, which is how they could drop to eighth or ninth.
San Jose only has a 6.5 percent chance of landing the first overall pick, and a 6.8 percent chance of landing the second. There's a 44.4 percent chance the Sharks stay at seven, a 37.0 percent chance they drop to eight and a slim 5.3 percent chance they fall all the way to ninth.
Regardless, the Sharks will be in as good of a draft position as they've been in since 2015 and 2007, when they selected Timo Meier and Logan Couture, respectively, with the ninth overall pick. And it's extremely likely they'll be picking even earlier than that.
So, which prospects might the Sharks be targeting in the draft? It's tough to say without knowing their exact draft position, but we can get a general idea of who they're likely considering.
There's a lot that could change between now and July 22, but at this point, it would be a surprise if Michigan defenseman Owen Power fell outside the first two picks. He's generally regarded as the top defenseman available. Power would be a tremendous addition to the Sharks, but they'll likely have to jump up in the lottery to have a chance at him.
In terms of the top forward available, the consensus seems to be that it's Power's teammate at Michigan, Matthew Beniers. Yes, the Wolverines were stacked this past year, as their roster also included San Jose prospect Thomas Bordeleau. It seems highly unlikely that Beniers would drop to the seventh pick, so again, the Sharks likely would have to move up to get him.
Beyond Power and Beniers, there's a handful of other prospects who reside in the same tier.
If the Sharks are looking for a young defenseman, this is a great draft, as Brandt Clarke (HC Nove Zamsky, Slovakia), Luke Hughes (US National U-18 Team) and Simon Edvinsson (Frolunda HC, SHL) all project to be drafted right around where the Sharks should be picking.
On the other hand, if they're looking for a forward, William Eklund (Djurgardens IF, SHL), Dylan Guenther (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL), Mason McTavish (Olten, SL), Kent Johnson (Michigan), Fabian Lysell (Lulea HF, SHL) and Aatu Raty (Karpat, Liiga) all could pique San Jose's interest.