BUFFALO -- The San Jose Sharks have been preparing for the 2015 NHL Draft for a while now, according to general manager Doug Wilson.
"Our staff, led by [director of scouting] Tim Burke told us this would be a strong draft and that's why we acquired all the picks we did the last few years," Wilson said. "We see it as a very good draft. It was forecast as a good draft and it's playing out that way."
The Sharks have the ninth pick of the first round. But Wilson said long before knowing where their first pick would be, the decision was made that this year's top pick would not be available to other teams.
"The strength of this draft year, it impacted some of our decisions this season," Wilson said. "We were not going to move our first-round pick regardless. The chance to add a high-end quality player [in the draft] was not something we were going to compromise on."
The Sharks generally have worked under the philosophy of taking the best player available regardless of position, especially in the first round. If they elect to look at forwards, players that could be available at No. 9 include Sarnia Sting center Pavel Zacha, Halifax Mooseheads right wing Timo Meier, Seattle Thunderbirds center Mathew Barzal and Youngstown Phantoms left wing Kyle Connor. If they elect to use the pick on a defenseman, among those available could be Zachary Werenski of the University of Michigan and Saint John Sea Dogs teammates Jakub Zboril and Thomas Chabot.
Wilson said the depth of the draft has him believing the Sharks will find a number of good players at different positions.
"We always have been very fortunate with our staff to add some very good players later in the draft," he said. "We'll go in with eight or nine picks this year and we expect to come out with some really quality players."