You can tell things are serious in San Jose when Doug Wilson starts using words like “rebuild” like they’re going out of style. He sounds serious to boot. While no-movement clauses in the contracts of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will limit their ability to go full-Calgary, the Sharks have other, more conventional means of improvement at their disposal.
Chief among these will be the ability to rebuild on the fly, via the draft. Come to think of it, without moving Marleau or Thornton I can’t imagine how this isn’t just a retooling, but I digress. The Sharks will in all likelihood not have the ability to add to their roster for next season through this draft, but they can at the very least lay the foundation for a younger 2015 roster.
To do so though, will take some brazen drafting by general manager Doug Wilson and co. While I happen to be of the belief that this draft is better than most are giving it credit for, it is still considered by large a weak draft class. Outside of the top ten selections, blue chip prospects will be hard to come by.
Then again, there are two players, likely to be available with the 20th selection of the first round, that could very well be that kind of game-breaking prospect, necessary to kick-start a rebuild.
Anthony DeAngelo is a prospect of particular interest. His offensive production, 71 points in 51 games, should be good enough to land DeAngelo a selection in the top ten. DeAngelo is a smooth-skating, offensively gifted defenseman with elite production at the OHL level.
The kicker with DeAngelo has always been his attitude and perceived character flaws. DeAngelo was suspended just last season, while playing for the Sarnia Sting, when he was overheard uttering a homophobic slur by a referee. Perhaps worst of all is the fact that it was at his teammates expense…
The thing with DeAngelo’s immaturity is that he can eventually outgrow it; his talent on the other hand, is rare and hard to come by.
Aside from DeAngelo’s attitude problems, his defensive play has always been considered suspect at best. Another knock on DeAngelo is that he is easily taken off the puck, due to his slender build. That said, on a weak Sarnia Sting club, DeAngelo came out with a relative goals for of +8.7%, playing difficult competition. Surely that counts for something.
Should the Sharks call DeAngelo’s name at 20th overall, the club will finally be able to add an elite level offensive talent to their already young and promising defense corps. It’s not a stretch to imagine DeAngelo making the club as soon as the 2015 season and playing a prominent role in the power play, where the Sharks could use some assistance.
There is, of course, a degree of uncertainty with this pick. DeAngelo’s attitude problems could certainly be a cause for concern, but with the amount of talent at his disposal, they might be exaggerated.
If you think DeAngelo has attitude problems, hoo boy, have I got just the player to show him up. Much like DeAngelo, Ho-Sang has the talent to be justifiably selected in the earlier parts of the first. Ho-Sang is an electrifying offensive force, who seemingly always has the puck on his stick.
But the knock on Ho-Sang has, again, always been his maturity. As a matter of fact, off-ice concerns have literally pushed Ho-Sang off of many teams draft lists entirely. Ho-Sang apparently has serious issues with authority, and this in combination with his length suspension history make him seem nearly untouchable.
But at the same time, how does one pass up on such an offensively gifted prospect? Ho-Sang has the 9th highest points of CHL draft eligible forwards, all the while playing on a very lackluster Windsor Spitfires roster. And for all his perceived defensive issues, it is worth noting that Ho-Sang has a positive relative goals for of over 10% on an often outscored Spitfires roster.
What Ho-Sang could offer the Sharks is an elite scoring presence, ready to step in immediately in the top six. Yes, he is that good. The Sharks will need that kind of help at forward, especially after moving Brent Burns back to defense. It would be one of the more brazen moves of Doug Wilson’s tenure, but the risk is well worth the reward.