2022 NHL Draft: Sharks Should Trade for the Second Overall Pick

The San Jose Sharks finished the 2021-22 NHL season with another disappointing whimper. While the team performed better this season than the one prior, there was still a long way to go before they were ready to perform in the playoffs. However, Sharks fans could not fully enjoy the fruits of a disappointing season when it was revealed that the team would be selecting 11th overall in the upcoming 2022 NHL Entry Draft. While they will still be able to find a great player at 11th overall, nothing beats an opportunity to select a player like Shane Wright.

While the Sharks found themselves outside of the lottery, they are not entirely out of luck. There have been rumors and rumblings about teams shopping their first-round picks. One such team is the New Jersey Devils, who were lucky enough to secure the second-overall pick. With the opportunity available, the Sharks should seriously consider using their assets to trade up to the second-overall pick.

Sharks in Need of Another Top-Tier Prospect

Because of how scattered the 2021 Draft was, there is a high probability that the Sharks might have secured the best available prospect in William Eklund. There is a lot of pressure riding on the young player to begin to pull the team in the right direction. While management has found other prospects alongside Eklund who will be able to make an impact, they are still lacking another top-tier prospect. This could be their chance to turn that around.

William Eklund San Jose Sharks
William Eklund, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

One of the most appealing aspects of this year’s draft is its depth. The 11th-overall pick offers the Sharks many talented options, but the second-overall pick could bring in someone equal to or higher than Eklund’s caliber. Having another guaranteed top-end talent could do wonders for the Shark’s prospect pool.

Related: Sharks’ William Eklund Ready to Make an Impact

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of pulling in another great prospect alongside Eklund is how it could relieve some pressure on him. If he is expected to help revitalize the Sharks, that pressure could begin to add up quickly. However, with another great prospect in the system, some of that weight can be taken off his shoulders. If less is expected from Eklund right off the bat, perhaps he can reach a higher ceiling than anyone has predicted.

Sharks Can Take Advantage of the Great Draft Class

The prospects available for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft are some of the highest-rated prospects in a long time. While Wright is far and away projected to be the first selection, plenty of players with fantastic potential will go in the top five and likely even the top 10. However, the Sharks are currently sitting right outside of the top 10. There are skaters available at that position that have potential, but there is far less of a risk of selecting at second overall than at 11th.

Currently, the second-overall position seems to be split between Logan Cooley and Juraj Slafkovsky. Cooley put up 75 points in 51 games, and his high-end skill in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program put him on the map this past season. However, Slafkovsky seems to have the more consistent projection for second overall. On top of being more NHL-ready than Cooley, he also scored 10 points in 31 games in Liiga.

Juraj Slafkovsky Team Slovakia
Juraj Slafkovsky Team Slovakia (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Regardless of who the Sharks would decide to take second overall, they would undoubtedly be getting a player to help their team get on the right track. The 11th-overall pick would still deliver a great player to the Sharks’ doorstep, but getting either Slafkovsky or Cooley could potentially bring a talented forward to the lineup immediately. While a steep price would be required to secure the draft pick, there would be virtually no downside to drafting someone with the skill set of the available players.

Sharks Have the Assets to Complete the Trade

One of the most compelling reasons for the Sharks to try and get the second-overall pick is the fact that they simply have the assets to complete the trade. It is no secret that management is delaying the inevitable rebuild. So, while there is a slight possibility that the team could win a Cup with their current team, they could really benefit from using the assets they have to build for the future.

Timo Meier San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier, San Jose Sharks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Deciding what assets would be traded to the Devils depends on what direction in this hypothetical scenario the team heads. If they want to dive into the complete rebuild, trading Timo Meier would make complete sense. He has a lot of value, especially after the season he just had. However, if they wanted to hang on to the core, the Sharks have younger, less likely to pan out players that they could try and move to New Jersey.

Related: Sharks’ 3 Trade Targets During the Offseason

The Sharks are in a position where trading for the second-overall pick makes total sense. The team is in need of a refresh, and a young, talented prospect could be just what they need to get things headed in the right direction again. While there are plenty of teams who are looking to trade into the top three, the Sharks have everything they need to get the deal done. If they pull the trigger and complete the move, it could mean great things for the future of the team.

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