While Doug Wilson has done a fantastic job of assembling a competitive roster year in, year out, there has been much left to the imagination via the NHL Entry Draft for the Sharks.
San Jose has a history of owning a weaker amateur scouting group, which has led to less than intriguing first round picks. There are exceptions, of course, with the likes of Logan Couture, but overall it's a dark round for the Sharks.
In the last 10 NHL Drafts, the Sharks have selected 7 players in the first round, holding zero first round selections on three occasions (2011, 2009, 2008).
Here are the first round picks for the Sharks in the last 10 years, accompanied with one player who was selected after them. In the years with zero first round picks I'll mention a name that came after where the Sharks would have selected whom they may have missed out on.
2013: Mirco Mueller (18th) - Hunter Shinkaruk (24th)
I like Mueller and it will be difficult to really gather enough information on either of the above players until 5 years from now. I have faith that Mueller will be a solid 3-4 defenseman for years to come, but Shinkaruk is no slouch and could have bolstered the wing depth in the future.
2012: Tomas Hertl (17th) - Olli Maata (22nd)
Maata is a very nice prospect. Hertl should be an effective player for the Sharks in the near future, but Maata could have boosted the defense for the Sharks down the road, moreso than Mueller may be able to. I would have liked to seen 2012/13 swap position picks for the draft.
2011: No Pick - Brandon Saad (43rd)
Wing depth? Indeed.
2010: Charlie Coyle (28th) - Justin Faulk (37th)
Faulk is no eye-opener, but I think he would have fit well in San Jose. We all know how Coyle panned out for San Jose, heading to Minnesota in the Brent Burns trade.
2009: No Pick - Simon Despres (30th)
A lack of pick in this draft cost the Sharks a defenseman with talent, although it was sent away to acquire Dan Boyle, with whom we have received great service.
2008: No Pick - John Carlson (27th)
The pick after where San Jose would have selected, if not for acquiring Brian Campbell, was John Carlson. The steady d-man in Washington has become a staple on the Capitals blueline and would have looked great in teal.
2007: Logan Couture (9th) - No one.
I'd take Couture over anyone that was taken after him in the 2007 draft.
2006: Ty Wishart (16th) - Claude Giroux (22nd)
Do I really have to explain the difference in Giroux v. Wishart? That sound you just heard was the Scouting Staff's ball hitting the floor...because they dropped it, big time.
2005: Devin Setoguchi (8th) - Marc Staal (12th)
Yet another stud defenceman that slipped away from the hands of the Sharks. Setoguchi is on the list with Coyle of recent first rounders who have been shipped out.
2004: Lukas Kaspar (22nd) - Mike Green (29th)
Another Capital defender who should have been in teal. Lukas what what? Exactly. Who needs Mike Green anyway?
So, as you can see, the Sharks missed out on a pile of gems in the first round of the draft recently. Now, I'm well aware that several other teams also missed out on the players that I've mentioned, but I'm not writing about those teams, am I?
If the Sharks had drafted the players I mentioned above instead of who they actually drafted, the list would look like this:
Hunter Shinkaruk (F)
Olli Maata (D)
Justin Faulk (D)
Simon Despres (D)
John Carlson (D)
Claude Giroux (F)
Marc Staal (D)
Mike Green (D)
Think of your Sharks D as Boyle, Staal, Green, Carlson, Vlasic, Despres. That's what it could have been right now. The Sharks defenders are an effective bunch, but this is what it could have been.
Add in winger prospect Shinkaruk and your prospect depth is a little better.
Imagine Couture and Giroux together in teal. It's nice to dream.
The Sharks have been searching for a while now on how to get over the hump in the playoffs, how to get to Lord Stanley. It's through the draft. It's through quality amateur scouting. The system the Sharks have in place on the ice is excellent, but off the ice there is much to be desired.
I left out the players I chose that were in years without a first round pick because that would involve going back on trades that were made. That's a whole new can of worms that isn't for this post.
If anything should be re-tooled in the organization it's the amateur scouting crew. I'm sure they've put in the hard work, but it could be better. I just think about Giroux, Staal, Carlson and Green and shake my head. Here's to hoping that there are better drafts ahead of us.
Thanks for reading!
Stay icy, Sharks fans.