The 2022 NHL Entry Draft is only a few weeks away. After the San Jose Sharks solidified their position at 11th overall, all eyes were on who they would plan to select. After all, the 11th-overall position offers a lot of high-end possibilities. However, while getting a guaranteed superstar is always a great feeling, there is something even more special about finding a player in the late rounds who surpasses all expectations.
Tons of draft-eligible players slip through the cracks every year. Scouts can only do so much for predicting the development of players, which leads to numerous players being selected late and making everyone regret passing up on them. With how deep the 2022 Draft is projected to be, the Sharks have many options for players they may be able to snag with a late pick. If they are lucky, they might just find the next iteration of Joe Pavelski.
The United States Hockey League (USHL) is often a league with a mixed bag of prospect talent. While they are considered the best junior hockey league in the United States, many of their players are selected in later rounds due to the lesser talent compared to the Canadian junior hockey leagues. However, they do have plenty of players with decent talent. One such player that has yet to be drafted is Stephen Halliday.
Halliday has been a member of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL for several years, but he recently lived up to his potential when he went first overall in the 2018 USHL Phase One Draft. He put up 95 points in 62 games this season, which placed him second in the league for points. In addition to his point totals, Halliday is a large body, but his speed is much higher than what would be expected of someone of his stature.
At one point during his draft eligibility, Halliday was expected to potentially go in the first round. However, he ended up not only falling out of the first round but the draft altogether. As he approaches his 20th birthday, this is his last chance for a team to get his rights. There are many risks associated with him, but the Sharks could catch a gem who has proven that he can score. He would absolutely be worth the late-round pick if he lives up to what he did this year in the USHL.
Unlike the USHL, it is difficult for players to go under the radar in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). That being said, it is far from impossible. One player who seems to have fit the bill is Windsor Spitfires forward Matt Maggio. This season, he put up 85 points in 66 games. However, Maggio is not projected to go exceptionally high in the upcoming draft despite being well above a point-per-game player.
Maggio is a fantastic goal scorer. Of his 85 points this season, 38 were goals. However, it is not very difficult to see why he managed to fall so far in the draft rankings. His point totals in the 2019-20 season were mediocre at best, and he spent last season with SK Lejon in the HockeyEttan league. While his point totals were good there, the pandemic completely derailed the scouting process across the world. Now that his point totals have turned around, he will absolutely catch the eye of more scouts.
The Sharks have many forward prospects, but someone with Maggio’s goalscoring ability is tough to find. They have lots of great playmaker and two-way forward prospects, and adding more scoring prospects to the core could boost the play of everyone around him. Maggio’s draft position is far from set in stone, but if he falls to the Sharks, they should take a shot at him.
One of the more interesting stories surrounding the Sharks’ prospects is the resurgence of goaltenders. What was once one of their weakest prospect areas now has a few names with decent potential. However, the Sharks do not have a guaranteed starting goaltender of the future. As a result, getting a talented goaltender like Daniel Hauser in this year’s draft could be another piece toward finding the next goalie.
Hauser had a .914 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average in 40 games with the Winnipeg Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this year. However, what makes his numbers pop even more is that he won 34 of the 38 games he played. For the Sharks, getting a goalie who was only a few games short of a perfect season would do wonders for the goaltending core. There is no telling where Hauser will end up going in the draft, but a goalie with his skill set would be great for the Sharks.
It is hard to predict which late-round selections will pay off in spades. After all, there is a reason players get selected that late and not in the higher rounds. However, late-round draft picks are always a high-risk, high-reward scenario. The Sharks could use any support they can get from their later selections. Perhaps they might find several future NHL players in this year’s NHL Entry Draft if they are lucky enough.
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Andrew Stille is a freelance writer for THW who is currently studying Journalism and Communication in college. In addition, he’s a devoted NHL content creator looking to grow and learn daily. Andrew is a trustworthy source for everything San Jose Sharks-related and strives to create fun and exciting articles for all readers.
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