In the best-case scenario, the San Jose Sharks are hoping for a quick turnaround for what Doug Wilson has previously called a “re-tool” of their roster. The NHL isn’t going to make that easier to do with smart drafting, instituting new draft lottery rules over the next two drafts. Starting with the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, just the first two selections will be selected via lottery. The following draft will keep teams from moving up more than 10 spots via lottery and winning the lottery more than twice within a five-year period.
Another complication has been limiting travel and the future of scouting in a world still responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Scouts were forced to utilize video — of varying qualities — anywhere from a significant amount of time to 100 percent of the time. The draft itself may be held virtually for a second consecutive year. The circumstances surrounding both the draft and scouting are also playing a role in how general managers value each draft individually.
Armed with eight draft picks for this summer following the 2021 trade deadline, there’s an opportunity for the Sharks. They currently sit 23rd overall in the standings with 40 points and an 18-20-4 record. Though the Buffalo Sabres, with just 29 points and 11 wins, are unlikely to lose their hold on the 31st overall and thus the best draft lottery odds, there’s still room for San Jose to improve their lottery chances.
A bottom-five finish is probably overly optimistic, but even drafting within the top ten would be a better position than the majority of the Sharks’ first-round selections, historically. Since 2001, the Sharks have drafted in the top 10 overall just four times: Milan Michalek (sixth, 2003), Devin Setoguchi (eighth, 2005), Logan Couture (ninth, 2007) and Timo Meier (2015).
Here’s every draft pick the Sharks currently own for the next two seasons and how they were acquired:
2021 NHL Entry Draft
- Round 1: SJS
- Round 2: None
- Round 3: SJS
- Round 4: SJS, TOR
- Round 5: SJS, COL
- Round 6: SJS
- Round 7: SJS
Round 2: This selection is the final piece of the Erik Karlsson trade with the Ottawa Senators. The pick came with conditions that Ottawa would only receive it if Karlsson re-signed with San Jose and would be upgraded to a first-round selection if the Sharks made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. The first condition was met in June 2019, when Karlsson re-signed for eight years at an $11.5 million average annual value. Though the Sharks made the 2019 Western Conference Final, they were defeated by the eventual Cup-winning St. Louis Blues.
Round 4: In addition to their original selection, the Sharks pick up an extra fourth-round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The Sharks first received forward Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets, then traded Foligno (at half salary) and forward Stefan Noesen to the Maple Leafs in exchange for this fourth-round pick.
Round 5: The Sharks acquired the Colorado Avalanche’s fifth-round selection, as well as defender Greg Pateryn, on April 10, 2021, in exchange for backup goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
2022 NHL Entry Draft
- Round 1: SJS
- Round 2: SJS
- Round 3: SJS
- Round 4: SJS
- Round 5: BUF
- Round 6: SJS
- Round 7: MIN
Round 5: The Sharks traded their original fifth-round selection to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Devan Dubnyk (at 50 percent salary) and a seventh-round draft pick on October 5, 2020.
The Vegas Golden Knights sent the Buffalo Sabres’ fifth-round pick to the Sharks in exchange for retaining 50 percent of Mattias Janmark’s contract, whom the Sharks acquired in part of a three-way trade at the 2021 deadline. Vegas acquired this pick back in 2019, as a package of two picks traded for defender Colin Miller.
Round 7: The Minnesota Wild included this pick as part of the Devan Dubnyk trade.
The Sharks’ original seventh-round pick was sent to the Ottawa Senators in January 2021, along with forward prospect Jack Kopacka (who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks for defender Trevor Carrick earlier that day), in exchange for defender Christian Jaros.
2023 NHL Entry Draft
Just four total picks in the 2023 draft have been moved across the entire league so far, and just one of the trades was made prior to the 2021 season (it was made at the 2020 draft, back in October). Like the majority of teams, the Sharks have all of their original picks for 2023 and have acquired no additional picks.