The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is in the books, and for the first time in franchise history, the Sharks did not select a single defenseman or goalie. All nine prospects picked by San Jose are forwards.
The Sharks got the all-offense theme started on Tuesday by taking right winger Ozzy Wiesblatt with the final pick in the first round. They continued it on Wednesday, rounding out the draft with another eight forward selections.
San Jose added centerman Thomas Bordeleau and winger Tristen Robins in the second round, before picking wingers Danil Gushchin and Brandon Coe in the third and fourth rounds, respectively. Entering the day, Bordeleau, Gushchin and Coe were ranked as the fourth, 13th and 15th-best prospects remaining on the board by ESPN's Chris Peters.
The Sharks didn't make a pick in the fifth or sixth rounds, but ended up with four seventh-round selections with which they took centers Alex Young and Linus Oberg, as well as wingers Adam Raska and Timofey Spitserov. Despite the homogenous positional nature of the draft class, the Sharks didn't necessarily intend for it to happen that way.
"Honestly, we just went with best player available," Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr. told reporters via videoconference after the draft. "We signed Brinson Pasichnuk. Our last couple of drafts, we drafted Ryan Merkley, Santeri Hatakka, Artemi Kniazev, Mario Ferraro. Plus, obviously with (Radim) Simek, (Marc-Edouard) Vlasic, (Brent) Burns and (Erik) Karlsson, we were fortunate to be able to take best player available. We had some (defensemen) on our list, they just didn't fall to where we picked. So, that's how it went."
The Sharks' collection of veteran defensemen and recently drafted blue-liners permitted them to focus on improving their forward depth, and clearly, that's precisely what they did. Of the nine forwards they selected, however, only two -- Coe and Oberg -- measure at least 6-feet tall and weigh at least 185 pounds. While the other seven forwards are relatively diminutive in stature, their selections did not signal a change in San Jose's roster-construction philosophy.
"I think you're looking for hockey players," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson explained. "You're looking for the type of ingredients that guys can be successful in this league, irregardless of their size. We got guys who can skate. We got a lot of right-shot guys -- I think six of the nine guys that we drafted are right shot. They can all skate. They all have a compete to them. They can think the game at a high level.
"And the first three or four picks -- these are young kids, too. They're gonna grow and evolve up into their bodies. But we just like the way they play the game. Do you come in looking for the best players? Sure you do. Did we want to replenish our forward position? Yeah, that was one of the goals, but there were a couple of defensemen and goalies that we did look at, also."
The Sharks struggled in many areas this past season, but ranking 27th in the league in scoring certainly made things more challenging. None of the nine prospects San Jose selected in the 2020 draft are likely to address that deficiency anytime soon, but clearly, the Sharks didn't want to wait any longer to get the process started.