Sharks prepare for 2017 NHL Draft with eight picks in hand

Sharks prepare for 2017 NHL Draft with eight picks in hand

CHICAGO – The glass-half-full observer looks at Sharks’ recent draft record and sees some late round picks that could be on the cusp of making the NHL on a full time basis. 

Defenseman Joakim Ryan (7th round, 2012), center Danny O’Regan (5th round, 2012) and forward Kevin Labanc (6th round, 2014) have all exceeded expectations so far. Dylan DeMelo (6th round, 2011) could also be included in that group.

The glass-half-empty observer, though, sees that the Sharks have traded away a pair of recent first rounders that didn’t pan out. Nikolay Goldobin (27th overall, 2014) was dealt to Vancouver in late February for Jannik Hansen and a fourth round pick, while Mirco Mueller (18th overall, 2013) is off to New Jersey for a pair of picks in this year’s draft.

It’s all part of the uncertainty of selecting what are mostly teenagers in the annual NHL Entry Draft, which takes place at Chicago’s United Center this weekend. The Sharks’ first pick during Friday night’s first round sits at 19th overall, and they have seven more selections on Saturday when rounds two-through-seven take place.

Doug Wilson is used to picking in the mid-to-late first round, as the Sharks have missed the playoffs just once under his 14-year watch.

“I think we always take the best player available,” he said. “I think it’s a good draft. … We feel pretty comfortable at 19 we’ll get a pretty good player.”

The Sharks have never selected 19th, and Wilson left open the possibility that they could move up or down.

“People move up and down all the time. We’ve got a history of doing that so teams do reach out to us,” he said.

The Sharks moved up to pick Mueller in 2013, sending a second round pick to Detroit to jump ahead two places in a deal that now looks regrettable. The next year, they moved down seven spots before selecting Goldobin.

Less than a week ago, the Sharks didn’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds. But in dealing Mueller (and a fifth rounder this year) to the Devils, they acquired second and fourth round picks from New Jersey (49 and 123 overall). They also have a pair of sixth round picks and three in the seventh round.

While this year’s draft isn’t thought to be especially strong, Wilson still expects there to be some good players available after the first round. Getting some assets in exchange for Mueller, who had been passed over in the organization, was critical.

“I think it was important for us to fill in the grid like we did. I think it’s a good draft,” Wilson said. “Realistically, it’s probably not a Connor McDavid-Auston Matthews type draft, but there are some very good players in this draft that will go on and have very good careers.”

As for losing Mueller and Goldobin recently, the general manager seemed to say that that those are the breaks when you’re a team doesn’t make one of the first few selections.

“First of all, you’ve got to clarify where we pick and have picked. You’re not talking about top five picks or lottery picks, so often – and this is not to take away from Mirco and Goldie, because they’re really good players and good kids – you move players when you’re trying to win or trying to make things happen,” he said. 

“Historically, our scouts have done an outstanding job, one of the best records for a scouting staff in the league, since 2003 in particular. But, you can’t be afraid to be bold and move things.”

* * *

Although the Sharks have never made a pick in the 19th overall spot, they’ve been around it. Players include Tomas Hertl (17th overall, 2012), Marcel Goc (20th overall, 2001) and Marco Sturm (21st overall, 1996). 

Some notable players around the league taken 19th overall include Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay, 2012), Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton, 2011), Nick Bjugstad (Florida, 2010), Chris Kreider (Rangers, 2009), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim, 2003) and Keith Tkachuk (Winnipeg, 1990).

* * *

The Sharks will hold their annual development camp from July 3-7 at their practice facility. It includes a scrimmage at SAP Center on Thursday, July 6.

Sharks vs. Blues watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs


Sharks vs. Blues watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

SAN JOSE -- When the Sharks last saw the Blues, they were shut out 4-0 on the tail end of a back-to-back road game. They’ll try to avenge that loss Saturday night when the Blues visit SAP Center for the fourth contest in the Sharks' six-game homestand.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told NBC Sports California there was an advantage to having played St. Louis just a little over a week before.

[RELATED: Tomas Hertl 'probably' won't play vs. Blues]

“Especially with how they beat us,” he said. “They really beat us at our own game. They out-supported us on breakouts. They got inside us on our forecheck. All the things we try and do to other teams, I thought they did to us. “

This time around, it’s the Blues who are playing the tail end of a road back-to-back. St. Louis defeated the Golden Knights 4-1 in Vegas on Friday night after previously losing two consecutive games against the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks, respectively.

Saturday marks the second meeting between the Sharks and Blues in their three-game season series. San Jose is 40-50-2-7 against St. Louis all time.

Sharks projected lines and pairs

Joe Pavelski – Logan Couture – Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Evander Kane – Antti Suomela – Joonas Donskoi
Barclay Goodrow – Dylan Gambrell – Melker Karlsson

Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson

Aaron Dell – projected starter
Martin Jones

Blues projected lines and pairs

Jaden Schwartz – Ryan O’Reilly – Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri – Tyler Bozak – Brayden Schenn
Zachary Sanford – Robert Thomas – David Perron
Ivan Barbashev – Oskar Sundqvist – Samuel Blais

Carl Gunnarsson – Alex Pietrangelo
Vince Dunn – Colton Parayko
Joel Edmundson – Jay Bouwmeester

Chad Johnson – projected starter
Jake Allen

Dylan Gambrell recalled by Sharks after working on lengthy to-do list


Dylan Gambrell recalled by Sharks after working on lengthy to-do list

SAN JOSE -- After a successful stint with the Barracuda, Dylan Gambrell is getting another shot with the big club.

The Sharks announced Saturday that they have recalled the 22-year-old rookie from the AHL, where he has registered six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games. 

“He’s done a good job at the American League level. The reports have been good,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after Saturday’s morning skate.

Gambrell said he was given a list of things to work on after he was reassigned back on Oct. 30. At the top of that list? Making his game more physical.

“Being a little bit grittier on the corners, winning one-on-one battles, being a little bit harder to play against,” the speedy forward listed off. “Just trying to execute that a little better.”

“I think he’s an honest 200-foot player,” DeBoer assessed. “He just has to realize up here that, to use that speed, you have to attack holes and draw penalties.”

When NBC Sports California caught up with Gambrell at the beginning of the season, he was eager to be penciled into the NHL lineup, whether DeBoer started him at center or on the wing. A month later, he’s still up for the challenge.

“It’s more just a mindset thing,” Gambrell explained. “Either way, it’s a battle you have to win.”

For Saturday night’s game against the St. Louis Blues, Gambrell is expected to be slotted as the Sharks’ fourth-line center.

“I like the fact he’s a centerman,” DeBoer said. "We’re still looking for guys to grab roles there."

[RELATED: Sharks-Blues projected lines and defensive pairs]

With Gambrell being called up to the NHL level, the Sharks also reassigned Rourke Chartier to the Barracuda. DeBoer explained the move was to give the rookie center, who has one goal in 13 games, a chance to boost his confidence.

“Our whole group hasn’t been great lately,” the coach said. “When you’re a young guy and you’re in that situation, sometimes it’s better to get into an environment where, instead of it snowballing on you, you can nip it in the bud and get back to playing some big minutes and get your confidence back.”