Barring a trade before or on the first day of the draft, for the second consecutive year, the Sharks will not have a first round selection come June 26 — day one of the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal.
However, the Sharks do have two second round selections, one of which was acquired in the Craig Rivet trade with Buffalo. As a result, the Sharks still have two of the first 60 picks, a luxury that eight of the other 29 NHL teams do not have.
The second round has been good to the Sharks, producing some major contributors.
The most recent day two success was Jamie McGinn, who was selected 36th overall from the Ottawa 67s (OHL) in 2006. McGinn made his debut for the Sharks last season, playing in 35 games while registering four goals and two assists. At just 20 years of age, the left winger is looking to become a permanent contributor to the already lethal Sharks offense that saw three other left wingers score 20-plus goals last season (Patrick Marleau
- 38, Milan Michalek - 23, Ryane Clowe
Although defensemen Matt Carle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
were chosen two years apart, the duo made history in 2006-07 when they were just the second pair of blueliners to be chosen to the NHL All-Rookie Team in the same season.
Carle, now with Philadelphia, was San Jose’s 47th overall choice in 2003. He made his NHL debut after winning the 2006 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as America’s top college hockey player at Denver University.
Vlasic was taken 35th overall in 2005 and made his NHL debut in 2006-07. Over the last three seasons, the 22-year-old has played with the poise of an experienced veteran. Last season, “Pickles” set career highs in goals (six), assists (30), points (36) and plus/minus (15).
Then there’s right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, the 29th overall pick in 1998. He holds the Sharks record for most goals in a season (56, 2005-06) and has scored at least 20 in four of his six NHL seasons. And not only are those 56 goals a team record, that performance earned “Cheech” the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Award, given to the NHL’s top goal scorer in a season.
San Jose’s first Entry Draft (1991) produced two second-rounders who have had productive NHL careers.
Forward Ray Whitney (23rd overall) will be remembered by Sharks fans for scoring the series-clinching goal in their double-overtime victory in Game Seven of their 1995 Western Conference Quarterfinal series over Calgary. After leaving the Sharks, Whitney has gone on to record eight, 20-goal seasons and won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006.
Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh (30th overall) became the first San Jose defenseman to score 20-plus goals when he got 26 in 1993-94. His performance allowed him to represent the Western Conference at the 1994 NHL All-Star Game. In his 15 NHL seasons, Ozolinsh played in seven All-Star Games, was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1997 and won the 1996 Stanley Cup with Colorado.
What does all of this mean? It means that while the first round is important, it’s the players who get chosen in the later rounds that are the ones who can make lasting impressions. Just ask the San Jose Sharks.