The San Jose Sharks will have six selections in the upcoming NHL Draft, which isn’t as much as they would hope to have, but it’s a much better position for them to be in than where they were before the trade deadline.
The club will have the 31st pick in the first round as a result of the trade that sent Barclay Goodrow to Tampa. Whether they will keep this pick or trade it for immediate help has yet to be determined, but in the event that they do decide to keep it, they could select some very intriguing players.
The son of hockey super-agent Pat Brisson, NHL Central Scouting describes Brendan Brisson as an “excellent skater with and without the puck” and as a dynamic playmaker with an elite hockey sense, which certainly fits the mold that the Sharks are looking for with their forwards.
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Brisson spent the 2019-20 season with the USHL’s Chicago Steel and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year after a season in which he led all first-year players in scoring with 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) in 59 games played.
Even though Brisson is ranked 20th in the Central Scouting rankings, there’s a likely chance that he may fall in the draft. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman reported that “in discussions with teams over the summer, the approximate No. 20 range that I thought in the spring seems unlikely and the No. 25-35 range seems more like his practical spot.” (from ‘Pronman’s Mock Draft: Projecting the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft’, The AthleticNHL, 8/10/20) In the event that Brisson falls to 31, the Sharks should be all over him.
The captain of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds, Ryan O’Rourke is another intriguing option for the Sharks at 31. THW’s Mark Scheig describes him as the “steal of the 2020 draft” and for good reason– he’s a dependable defenseman who can contribute on both sides of the ice. He’s also been described by Greyhounds head coach John Dean as a “born leader” who cares about not only his own career but his teammates’ careers as well.
O’Rourke is ranked 27th by NHL Central Scouting, but is most likely to be taken in the early second round. Since the Sharks hold the third pick in Round 2, and since they are lacking in left-side defensive depth, I would not be surprised if they take him with that pick instead of their 31st overall pick. Regardless of which pick they could select him with, O’Rourke has the potential to be a very solid top-four defenseman at the NHL level.
Standing at 5-foot-9, Thomas Bordeleau may not be the biggest player, but make no mistake, he has the skillset to become a top-six forward at the NHL level. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Bordeleau has a shot that many consider lethal, along with exceptional passing abilities and agile skating. The 18-year old spent the majority of the 2019-20 season with the United States U18 National Team, recording 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 47 games.
Bordeleau committed to the University of Michigan for the 2020-21 season, which will be a good test for him against more high-end talent, but with the skillset he currently has, Bordeleau should definitely be on the Sharks’ radar if he’s still available when they’re on the clock.
Justin Barron has been a curious case in prospect rankings this season. While NHL Central Scouting had him at 16th for their final rankings, some were not as high on him – Future Considerations tabbed him at 33rd overall, and Dobber had him 51st in their mid-season rankings. This may be partly because Barron only played in 34 games because of a blood clot that kept him out of the lineup for nearly three months.
Despite these setbacks, Barron is still a formidable defensive prospect. One of Barron’s key strengths is his skating ability, which is something the Sharks would love out of the defensive zone. He’s more of a traditional stay-at-home defenseman but has a great point shot to provide a decent offensive impact. Considering Barron’s draft stock has fallen in recent months, the Sharks could easily swoop in on him if he is still there at 31.
Possibility of Trading The Pick
While these four prospects might be intriguing targets for the Sharks with the 31st pick, don’t ever count general manager Doug Wilson out of making a big move involving draft picks. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported in his most recent edition of 31 Thoughts that the Sharks had checked in on Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper. Considering the ‘Yotes have just hired a new GM in Bill Armstrong, and considering Kuemper’s great play in the 2019-20 season, any trade to get him might be at a price that could potentially cost the Sharks the 31st pick.
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While the Sharks haven’t broadly committed to a rebuild under Wilson and possibly never will, they will need some young talent to replenish a prospect pool that has been dry for the past couple of seasons. Holding on to the 31st pick may be their best bet to do that.