The San Jose Sharks have been a team right on the brink of a Stanley Cup for quite a few years now - most notably last season when they made it all the way to game six of the finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sharks are big, playoff seasoned, and highly skilled - led by names such as Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, and Joe Thornton. Aside from their stellar hockey skills, the Sharks are also known for their magnificent beards.
This season is likely to be the Sharks last season to make a cup run for quite some time as some of their big guns are quite old and at the end of their contract - something I've touched on in a previous article of mine. An issue the Sharks have had, with the exception of a few, is finding suitable young prospects to climb the ranks and eventually fill the void of the aforementioned big guns when they depart.
The Sharks' first round picks have been very hit-or-miss dating back to the 1999 NHL entry draft. Some players panned out to be great players, a handful completely flopped, and a small percentage went on to develop with other organizations. In hindsight, we can analyze these decisions and see exactly where the Sharks management and/or prospects went wrong.
In this list we will be reviewing the last 15 first round selections of the San Jose Sharks, their careers, and a possible alternative the Sharks' brass could have went with (if need be).
With all that out of the way, let's get into it!
15 Henrik Zetterberg (1999)
Original Pick: Jeff Jillson
From the University of Michigan, Jeff Jillson was selected 14th overall by the Sharks at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. The 6'3" 215 lb defender showed a lot of promise at the Sharks' training camp prior to the 2001-02 season and was given 48 games to work with in the big leagues - he contributed five goals and 18 points. He finished that 2001-02 season off in the AHL with the Cleveland Barons and then returned to the NHL the next season for a shorter, 26 game stint where his play faltered and saw him notching six points and earning a -7 rating. His offseason habits and poor work ethic saw to him being shipped off to the Boston Bruins' organization. He played his final NHL games in Buffalo during the 2005/06 season.
Incredibly, Henrik Zetterberg was selected 210th overall in the seventh round - something I covered in my latest article. The Swedish superstar is currently the captain of the Detroit Red Wings (his draft team) and has had a very impressive career - so far, he has racked up 325 goals and 899 points in 995 games.
Zetterberg is an easy re-draft selection for the Sharks in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
14 Derek Roy (2001)
Original Pick: Marcel Goc
In the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, the Sharks decided to select the German forward, Marcel Goc 20th overall. Goc was largely a disappointment during his time in the NHL, especially with the Sharks where his best season saw him tallying eight goals and 22 points in 81 games. With a career high season of 30 points in 73 games, Goc was evidently a first round bust. After four seasons in San Jose, Goc moved onto the Nashville Predators - he played his final NHL games in St. Louis during the 2014-15 season.
Selected later, in the second round (32nd overall) was Derek Roy - the Ottawa, Ontario native. The speedy playmaker, Roy notched 189 goals and 524 points in his 738 NHL games - 336 more points in 102 less games than Goc. Roy had a very impressive ride with the Buffalo Sabres (his draft team) that included a career best, 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games during the 2007-08 season.
Roy is a much better alternative than Goc and another easy re-draft selection for the Sharks.
13 Duncan Keith (2002)
Original Pick: Mike Morris
The Sharks' first round selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft was Mike Morris, who went 27th overall out of Northeastern University. Following being drafted, Morris decided to finish out his schooling and played at Northeastern until 2007, finishing just shy of a point-per-game during his career at Northeastern(108 in 114). From 2007-09 (two seasons), Morris played a total of 26 AHL games for the Worchester Sharks where he contributed 13 points. He never went on to play in the NHL.
Selected 54th overall in the same draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, was Duncan Keith. Keith is a three-time Stanley Cup champion, a two-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner, and a one-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Largely regarded as one of the smoothest skating D-men in the NHL, Keith has accumulated 90 goals and 509 points in 909 games.
Keith is yet another easy re-draft selection for the Sharks.
12 Corey Perry (2003)
Original Pick: Steve Bernier
The San Jose Sharks made two first round picks out of the stacked, 2003 NHL Entry Draft - one of them was Steve Bernier, the Quebec City product. Bernier went 16th overall in 2003 and for good reason - Bernier tore up the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats. Just prior to being drafted, Bernier notched 49 goals and 101 points in 71 games with the Wildcats. Unfortunately, his remarkable statistics didn't carry over into the NHL and he has chalked up 230 points in 633 games so far - peaking at a 32-point season. He is currently playing in the AHL with the New York Islanders' farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
A fellow right-winger that was taken 12 spots later in the 2003 draft was Corey Perry, also known as "Scorey Perry". He has had a much more successful career that has seen 346 goals and 713 points in 880 games. "Scorey Perry" had his most infamous season during the 2010-11 campaign with the Anaheim Ducks - he scored 50 times and added 48 helpers in 82 games winning him the Maurice Richard Trophy as well as the Hart Memorial Trophy.
Perry is a definite re-draft selection for the 2003 Sharks.
11 Zach Parise (2003)
Original Pick: Milan Michalek
The second of the two first round selections the Sharks made in 2003 was Milan Michalek, out of the mouthful of a hometown, Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic. Michalek was selected sixth overall and played pretty well during his four-season tenure with the Sharks - his career best season was in 2006-07 with the Sharks where he racked up 26 goals and 66 points in 78 games. Unfortunately, his play started going downhill and he currently resides with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs' farm team.
Selected just one spot after the aforementioned Steve Bernier, was the speedy left-winger known as Zach Parise. Parise consistently tallies Michalek's peak numbers and peaked himself during the 2008-09 campaign where he contributed 45 goals and 49 apples in 82 games. The 32-year-old is a major contributor in the Minnesota Wild's potent offence and a night-and-day better player than Michalek.
Parise is a no-brainer re-draft selection in 2003 for the Sharks.
10 Johan Franzen (2004)
Original Pick: Lukas Kaspar
Yeah, I've never heard of him either. Lukas Kaspar went 22nd overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and played a grand total of 16 NHL games, all with the Sharks. In those 16 games, he managed to score twice and add two helpers. Kaspar was projected to be a good third line power forward with a huge net presence, but was known for trying to do too much and making costly mistakes. Currently, the big Czech plays in the KHL for the Moscow Dynamo - his fifth KHL squad in eight seasons.
Another power forward that was drafted in '04 was Johan "The Mule" Franzen, who went 97th overall. The big Swede played his entire career in Detroit for the Red Wings and was the power forward the Sharks had hoped for in Kaspar. "The Mule" contributed an average of 34 points per season for a total of 370 in 602 career games. Franzen was a very consistent player that battled hard and was almost always seen creating havoc for opposing goaltenders - the ideal power forward.
Franzen is a hands down, definite re-draft selection for the 2004 Sharks.
9 T.J. Oshie (2005)
Original Pick: Devin Setoguchi
Devin Setoguchi, the Taber, Alberta product was selected eighth overall by the Sharks back in 2005. Prior to his entry into the show, Setoguchi tallied 36 goals in back-to-back seasons in the WHL, showing a lot of promise. In his first full NHL season with the Sharks, Setoguchi scored 31 goals and added 34 helpers while flanking Joe Thornton. Unfortunately, that would be his best season and his career went steeply on the decline. Following leaving the Sharks in 2011, Setoguchi bounced around the league, playing for four different teams over five seasons. The 30-year-old is now a member of the Los Angeles Kings - in 45 games this season, he has contributed four goals and 12 points.
A fellow right-winger taken in the 2005 first round was T.J. Oshie, who was selected 24th overall by the St. Louis Blues. So far, in his 588 career NHL games, Oshie has scored 169 goals and 417 points. When he's healthy, Oshie is good for about 50 points per-season - the extremely talented winger has notched over 50 points in his last four seasons. Currently a member of the Washington Capitals, Oshie is looking towards a Stanley Cup run.
Oshie is an easy re-draft selection for the Sharks in 2005.
8 Claude Giroux (2006)
Original Pick: Ty Wishart
Out of Belleville, Ontario is Ty Wishart, a big defenceman and a big first round bust. Standing at 6'4" and 225 lbs, Wishart was selected 16th overall by the Sharks in 2006 and had the Sharks' brass hoping he'd blossom into a prominent, shut-down defenceman. Wishart never ended up playing for the Sharks and played just 26 games in his NHL career - five games for the Lightning and 21 for the Islanders.
Selected six spots later in the same draft was the current Philadelphia Flyers' captain, Claude Giroux. Giroux is the face of the Flyers and a dangerously offensive weapon in the NHL - so far, in 653 games, Giroux has chalked up 180 goals and 574 points. He's generally good for 60+ points per-season and had his career high back in the 2011-12 season where he notched 28 goals and an impressive 65 helpers for 93 points in just 77 games.
Giroux is another definite re-draft selection for the Sharks.
7 P.K. Subban (2007)
Original Pick: Nick Petrecki
2007 was a year that the Sharks had two first round picks and they decided to go with a forward and a defenceman. The D-man they elected to select 28th overall was Nick Petrecki, a big defenceman out of Schenectady, New York. Petrecki would go on to play a whopping one NHL game and record zero points. The 6'3" and 230 lb, Petrecki would end up bouncing around in the AHL until the 2015/16 season. Petrecki was a remarkably terrible first round selection.
Not being selected until the second round at 43rd overall in 2007 was none other than P.K. Subban, an elite NHL defenceman who easily should have went top 10. The 2012-13 James Norris Memorial Trophy winner, Subban has scored 73 goals and 316 points in 497 career games (so far). Known for his brilliant skating and puck-moving abilities, Subban has been compared to NHL legend, Serge Savard, whose spin move he adopted. Good for anywhere from 35-60 points per-season, Subban is one of the best D-men in the league.
Subban is a mandatory re-draft selection for the Sharks in 2007.
6 Logan Couture (2007)
Original Pick: Logan Couture
The Sharks' forward selection in the 2007 draft was Logan Couture, the Guelph, Ontario native. Couture was drafted 9th overall and for good reasons - the talented center has displayed his offensive prowess throughout his career. Couture has played his entire eight-season NHL season career with Sharks and put up some pretty decent numbers - 179 goals and 376 points in 504 games. Couture has been a six-time 20+ goal scorer, including two seasons of 30 or more goals.
There was a decent amount of talent selected after Couture in 2007, including Montreal's captain, Max Pacioretty. However, I still think Couture was the best selection for the Sharks at the time. In fact, Couture is the best center to go in the top 10 of the 2007 draft - including Kyle Turris, who went went 3rd overall. Couture, when he's healthy, is good for 25 goals and around 50-70 points per-season.
Couture is the first draft selection on this list that I would not re-draft over.
5 Charlie Coyle (2010)
Original Pick: Charlie Coyle
After a three year drought of first round picks, the Sharks elected to go with Charlie Coyle, a Massachusetts product. Coyle was picked up late in the first round at 28th overall and has played in only five NHL seasons so far in his promising career. The talented center has displayed nothing but potential and only progressed in each season. Excluding his rookie season of 14 points in 37 games, Coyle's point totals have increased by five to 10 points each season - currently, he has 52 points in 79 games this season.
In total, the young center has notched 69 goals and 173 points in 350 career games (so far). Interestingly, Coyle has played his entire career with the Minnesota Wild and not the Sharks. How can there not be someone drafted instead of him in re-draft then? Well, for a couple of reasons - one, he's a great player and two, he was a part of the trade, alongside the aforementioned Devin Setoguchi, that would get the Sharks Brent Burns. Burns is one the most offensively gifted D-men in the league, on pace for his second straight 25+ goal and 75+ point season - which, if you didn't know, is nothing short of incredible for a blue-liner.
Coyle is the second player on this list that I would not re-draft over.
4 Tomas Hertl (2012)
Original Pick: Tomas Hertl
Selected 12th overall by the Sharks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft was Tomas Hertl, the young Czech forward. The 23-year-old is already on his fourth professional campaign with the Sharks and has racked up 59 goals and 123 points in 247 games so far. Hertl has missed about half of this season recovering from knee surgery but has still managed to contribute 10 goals and 21 points in 47 games.
Hertl has put his offensive gifts on display and shown his ability to score in bunches, but I think it'll take another few seasons before he really harnesses those abilities. Personally, I believe the Sharks threw him into the big leagues a bit too quickly and some time in the AHL would have been very beneficial to his development. With that being said, Hertl has still been a very adequate center in the NHL and has nowhere to go but up.
It's too early to tell if there should be a player chosen over Hertl in a re-draft.
3 Andre Burakovsky (2013)
Original Pick: Mirco Mueller
Mirco Mueller, the big Swiss D-man, was selected 18th overall by the Sharks back in 2013. Mueller stands at 6'3" and 210 lbs and uses his frame to his advantage as a shut-down defenceman. He has played 54 NHL games so far and tallied six points while dragging along a -10 rating. The Sharks are taking their time developing Mueller and his hopeful he can one day develop into a top-four, shut-down D-man.
With the Sharks being so close to a cup for so long, I think a better selection would have been Andre Burakovsky, in hind sight. Out of Klagenfurt, Austria, Burakovsky is a very talented winger who has already earned a full time roster spot with the dominant Washington Capitals. On pace for his second season in a row with 35 points, the young sniper has already portrayed his offensive abilities. Who knows, maybe with the addition of Burakovsky to their offence, the Sharks could have beaten the Penguins in the cup finals last season.
Not to say Mueller won't turn out, but I think Burakovsky is a re-draft selection in 2013 for the Sharks based on their teams' needs in the past few seasons.
2 Josh Ho-Sang (2014)
Original Pick: Nikolay Goldobin
The next first round selection by the Sharks was Nikolay Goldobin, who went 27th overall in 2014. Out of Moscow, Russia, Goldobin is a very talented hockey player that tore up the OHL with the Sarnia Sting prior to being drafted - he racked up 68 goals and 162 points in 135 games. So far in the NHL, the Russian youngster has played 19 games and contributed only three points. This season he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks which is probably a better suited organization for Goldobin - full of young potential and on the rebuild.
Selected just one spot after Goldobin in 2014 was Josh Ho-Sang, the Thornhill, Ontario native. Much like Goldobin, Ho-Sang ripped up the OHL with 82 goals and 210 helpers in 256 games. The 21-year-old got his first taste of the big leagues this season with the New York Islanders and has put up four goals and 10 points in 17 games so far, displaying tons of offensive skill and poise for such a young player. Ho-Sang and Goldobin are fairly similar players but I have to give the edge to Ho-Sang.
Ho-Sang is a re-draft selection for the Sharks in 2014.
1 Timo Meier (2015)
Original Pick: Timo Meier
Last but not least on this list of first round selections is the Sharks latest first rounder, Timo Meier. Out of Herisau, Switzerland, Meier is a very skilled right-winger that played very well during his time in the QMJHL - he accumulated 95 goals and 116 helpers in 179 games. So far, the ninth overall pick has played 32 games in the NHL for the Sharks and marked up three goals and six points. He has played the same amount of games for the Sharks' affiliate team of the AHL, the San Jose Barracuda - he has scored 12 goals and 21 points with them.
With Meier only being 20 years of age, it's definitely too early to tell if he'll pan out or not. He has shown dedication and a lot of potential and I'm sure we'll see what he's made of in the next few seasons as the Sharks will need youngsters to fill voids. There is a lot of talent in the 2015 draft but I don't think the Sharks are taking anybody else in a re-draft at this point.
It's too early to tell if there should be a player chosen over Meier in a re-draft.
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