Just days prior to the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson signed three top prospects from the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, beating the signing deadline and avoiding losing the player's rights.
|2003 first round selection Steve Bernier on draft day with Sharks GM Doug Wilson, Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Burke, Scout Gilles Cote and Head Coach Ron Wilson. |
First-round draft pick winger (16th overall) Steve Bernier, second-round draft pick center (43rd overall) Josh Hennessy and fifth-round goaltender (139th overall) Patrick Ehelechner all inked three year entry level deals. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Bernier lead Moncton, and finished 23rd in the QMJHL with 71 points (35 goals, 36 assists) in 68 games last season. An invitee to the 2004 Canadian National Junior Team Development Camp, Bernier finished first on Moncton in goals (35), assists (36), points (71), game-winning goals (nine) and power play goals (12). He was named QMJHL Offensive Player of the Week and CHL Player of the Week for period ending Oct. 31, 2004, scoring seven points (4-3=7) in three games during that span, including a hat trick on Oct. 31. In addition, Bernier was named to Team QMJHL in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge, where he scored the game-winning goal in sudden death overtime vs. Halifax on Dec. 15, 2004.
"Steve has shown improvement in many areas of his game the past two seasons," said Wilson. "He is ready for the next step and we are prepared to give him the tools to be successful. He has solid skills on the offensive side of the game and has worked hard and improved in other areas. Sharks fans should be excited to follow his progress at the next level."
In 2003-04, Bernier finished tied for 12th with Hennessy in QMJHL scoring (82 points), tenth in goals (36), 17th in assists (46) and fifth in plus/minus (+39). The right winger ranked first on team in goals and second in scoring and assists. Ranked in the top 10 of the OMJHL CHL Prospects Hockey inaugural Top 35 poll, Bernier participated in the final selection process for Team Canada's National Jr. Team.
In 2002-03, Bernier ranked first on the team in goals (49) and points (49-52=101), tying him for ninth in the league. In addition, he was second on the team in assists (52), while being named to theCHL's Second All-Star Team, marking the first time a Moncton player was named to a CHL All-Star team. Bernier captured the Gold Medal with Team Canada at the World Under-18 Championships in Russia and ranked second on the team in goals (four) and points (4-4=8) in seven tournament games.
In 66 games during his rookie campaign in 2001-02, he tied for first on the team in goals (31), was third on the team in points (31-28=59) and fourth on team in assists (28).
The six-foot-two, 223-pound Quebec City, Quebec native was drafted by San Jose in the 1st Round (16th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Serving as Team Captain of the Quebec Remparts, Hennessy led the team and finished the regular season tied for eighth in the QMJHL in points with 85. His 50 assists were also good enough for first on his squad, while his 35 goals placed him second on the team.
The six-foot, 190-pound Brockton, Massachusetts native posted a 10 game point streak from Oct. 12-26, in which he scored 16 points (seven goals, nine assists). Hennessy helped lead his team to the playoffs where he scored nine points (one goal, eight assists) en route to a first-round defeat of Victoriaville.
In 2003-04, Hennessy led Quebec in points (82), goals (40) and assists (42). His 82 points tied him for 12th in the QMJHL (along with fellow Sharks prospect Steve Bernier), while also tying for fifth in the league in goals (40), tied for third in power play goals and tied for sixth in game-winning goals. Hennesey was named the QMJHL Offensive Player of the Month for December after posting 18 points (12 goals, six assists) in 11 games.
In addition, Hennessy ranked in the Top-10 of the QMJHL CHL Prospects Hockey inaugural "Top 35" poll. He won the QMJHL award as 2003-04 "Humanitarian of the Year" and was nominated for the Frank J. Selke and Michel-Briere Trophies for the league's Most Valuable Player.
"Josh Hennessy was one of his team's most valuable players and contributed in all areas of the game," said Wilson. "Night in and night out, he played consistent and reliable, in addition he served as team captain and led his team in scoring again. It will be fun to watch him take his game to the next level."
Ehelechner went 23-21-4 for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, on his way to earning his first All-Star Game appearance. He finished the season tied for sixth in the league in goals-against average, while ranking in the top 10 in wins (23), save percentage (.916) and shutouts (3). He helped lead his team to the Eastern Conference semi-finals where they were defeated by the Ottawa 67's.
In 2002-03, Ehelechner appeared in four games for the Hannover Scorpions where he posted a 5.90 goals-against average. He represented Team Germany at the World Junior Championships in Nova Scotia and posted a 1.57 GAA along with one shutout in three games.
In 2001-02, the six-foot-two, 170-pound Rosenheim, Germany native registered a 3.03 GAA in eight games with Hannover. He represented his country at the World Under-18 Championships and had a 3.83 GAA in seven games.