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joe pavelski

Sharks’ Best and Worst Rounds of the Draft

Mixed Draft History

We are one week away from the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, where teams will select their future and new talent will make its way into the league. There are some generational players available this year—most notably, Auston Matthews—but the San Jose Sharks will have to rely on solid scouting and pure luck to select a franchise-changing player.

The Sharks’ highest pick is No. 60 overall, as general manager Doug Wilson traded the club’s first-round selection to the Boston Bruins in the deal that brought Martin Jones to San Jose.

This will be the team’s first time without an opening-round pick since 2011.

The Bay Area franchise has had its share of demons regarding its draft history. The Sharks have a past of selecting defensive busts in the first round and have not drafted a starting goaltender since Miikka Kiprusoff in 1995.

That being said, San Jose has also selected some franchise-defining players in various rounds of the draft. We will use the following table to find where the Sharks are most successful and where they could do a bit better when choosing their prospects:

Round No. Players Drafted Total Games Played Notable Players No. Players Over 50 Games Played
1 26 12,044 Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Brad Stuart, Tomas Hertl, Viktor Kozlov, Marco Sturm 19
2 21 5,849 Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Ray Whitney, Sandis Ozolinsh, Jonathan Cheechoo 12
3 18 609 Ville Peltonen, Thomas Greiss 3
4 24 3,022 Christian Ehrhoff, Matt Bradley, Torrey Mitchell, Vesa Toskala 7
5 32 2,564 Marcus Ragnarsson, Miikka Kiprusoff, Mikael Samuelsson, Niko Dimitrakos 8
6 22 1,666 Ryane Clowe, Alexander Korolyuk, Nick Bonino, Tommy Wingels 5
7 31 1,694 Joe Pavelski, Justin Braun, Jason Demers 8

Worst: Round 3

For the most part, the relationship between round drafted and games played is exactly what you would expect—as the round goes up, the number of games played goes down.

Round 3, however, is an extreme outlier to this trend.

San Jose’s 18 third-round picks have played in a total of 609 games during their careers, and only three of them have appeared in more than 50 NHL games. That is a 16.7 percent success rate.

As a comparison, 22.7 percent of the club’s sixth-round picks have played in more than 50 games.

The two notable players from Round 3, Ville Peltonen and Thomas Greiss, have had mediocre NHL careers at best. Peltonen finished his career with 148 points in 382 games, and Greiss has been a backup goaltender for multiple teams over the past six years.

Prominent players selected by other teams in the third round include Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Quick and Johan Franzen. There are still skilled players on the board by the time Round 3 comes around, but San Jose has struggled to find them.

Best: Round 7

Obviously, the first round is the most successful round for the Sharks, but that applies to every other team as well. Where San Jose has excelled the most compared to its competition, though, is in the seventh round.

Round 7 is the pit of the draft; no one here should turn out to be an elite player. But, the Sharks have selected two franchise skaters in Joe Pavelski and Justin Braun during this round.

Pavelski is an all star, a two-time Olympian and the captain of the San Jose Sharks. He has recorded 563 points in 725 games and earned a plus-101 rating throughout his career. The American is one of the most skilled players in the NHL and is a big reason why the Sharks were able to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals this past season.

Meanwhile, Braun has solidified himself as a legitimate shutdown defenseman who can play against the most dangerous skaters in the league. He and his partner, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, are tasked with nullifying the efforts of players like Anze Kopitar, Vladmir Tarasenko and Corey Perry. While Vlasic tends to get a bit more credit for his work, No. 61 has proven he is among the best defenders in the league as well. He was arguably one of the most important players in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Defenseman Jason Demers is also a notable seventh-round pick by San Jose. He may not be one of the greatest players in the world, but he is a solid blueliner who can hold his own on the ice. That’s not bad for someone who was picked 186th overall.

Conclusion

San Jose may struggle in the third round of the draft, but they make up for it with their success rate in the final round. However, if the team wants to continue to be competitive in the NHL, it needs to take advantage of the talent available in every part of the draft. This requires both knowledge and luck.

The future of the Sharks is only one week away from arriving. Let’s hope the organization finds some value at and beyond the 60th overall pick.

About Drew Weber

Drew Weber is a lover of hockey and abuser of analytics. Prior to joining Pucknology, he covered the San Jose Sharks and Team USA for The Hockey Writers and contributed briefly to Fear the Fin. You can follow him on Twitter at @puck_over_glass.

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