Moving on Up
For the second straight odd calendar year (2013, 2015) the San Jose Sharks traded up early in the draft to select a top-tier defense prospect. After missing out on the top-three rated defense prospects by the time they picked ninth overall in Round 1, the Sharks got their defenseman in Round 2 by taking QMJHL star Jeremy Roy 31st overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
In order to move up from 39th to 31st overall, the Sharks sent the Colorado Avalanche back their 2016 second rounder previously acquired for Brad Stuart and a 2016 sixth round pick as well. Trading the aging and largely ineffective Brad Stuart and turning him into a top-notch puck moving, two-way defenseman with power-play quarterbacking vision is absolutely brilliant.
According to reports, Roy was a projected first round pick and for the Sharks to get that kind of talent with their second round draft choice is very much a steal. Unlike their first round pick in Timo Meier, a selection receiving mixed reactions from the media, everyone is raving about the Sharks’ selection of Roy.
With Brent Burns already 30 years old, Justin Braun a more defensive minded player, and only Julius Bergman as a top right-handed defense prospect, selecting a right-handed shooting power-play quarterback makes perfect sense for San Jose. Scouting reports rave about Roy’s overall game and playmaking abilities. Fear the Fin suggests he could develop into the next Dan Boyle, saying the Sharks hit a home run with this pick.
Mueller & Roy = Next Vlasic & Boyle?
Two years ago the Sharks moved up from 20th in the first round to 18th to select defenseman Mirco Mueller. The Sharks also gave up a second round pick in that deal. It may seem costly to some to trade second round picks but Mueller has the makings of a future shut down left-handed defenseman. With terrific skating ability and a big frame at 6’3″, Mueller has all the tools to develop his game down the line. Compared to top defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic since his 2013 draft day, Mueller is still on the track of being a top NHL defenseman. He struggled as a 19-year old rookie last year but likely shouldn’t have been rushed into the NHL. San Jose burned a year of his entry-level deal because they were desperate for defensive help.
The Sharks have struggled drafting impact defenseman over the years. Their top offensive defensemen over the last five-six seasons have all been signed or traded for (Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Rob Blake). And outside of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun, San Jose hasn’t developed many defensive defenseman either. First and second round defensemen like Taylor Doherty, Nick Petrecki, and William Wrenn didn’t pan out.
At this moment, the Sharks very well could have the next Vlasic (Mueller) and Boyle (Roy) in their organization. While prospects are never a sure thing, these two young defensemen are two of the highest rated defense prospects in the league. Giving up a couple of second rounders to snag big time defense prospects is incredibly wise when you consider San Jose’s forwards at the NHL level and in the pipeline look pretty darn good.