San Jose Sharks
San Jose needs an extreme makeover, and no one is really sure why. They always have all the ingredients to win- this year having young guys as amazing as their veterans- yet never seem to be able to come through and take home a Cup. It’s because of this that I don’t know what to give the Sharks on their draft picks- I love Nickolay Goldobin, but I also don’t understand why they chose to take home Swede Julius Bergman almost forty spots before he was projected to be chosen. I think that San Jose needs to make clean, talented, risk-free picks for a while, and I didn’t see that per se this year.
That being said, though, I give them a B because Goldobin has the potential to bring a lot to the table in the coming seasons. They added a multitude of rich offensive talent to their lineup in coming seasons, and for a team that already has quality defense, this was a smart move. It will be interesting to see how San Jose handles these prospects coming into their development.
I was disappointed to see Sam Bennett fall to the fourth pick overall after his pull-up stunt at the Draft Combine, but I applaud the Flames for being the ones to take a chance on him. They followed him up with some bigger-bodied players on the second day, adding Hunter Smith and Adam Ollas Mattsson to their prospect roster, making the team look much more promising in the future. My only complaint was their selection of Mason McDonald in the second round. The goaltender wasn’t one of the top-ranked prospects on Central Scoutings netminder list, so it seems strange that the team would not only use a second round pick to obtain him, but that they would select him first overall out of goaltenders. He even went ahead of American goalie Thatcher Demko, which seemed like a poor move for a team that isn’t particularly known for hosting Vezina finalists. The only seeming explanation for McDonald’s final ranking would be his steady improvement over the past few seasons- if Treliving sees potential, it could pay off with the right mentorship and development.
St. Louis Blues
St. Louis baffled me. They used their first of ten picks to select center Robert Fabbri 21st overall, matching his Central Scouting ranking exactly. They followed that relative steal up by picking left winger Ivan Barbashev early in the second round, though, which was rounds before anyone had expected the Russian junior player to be picked up.
Fabbri has been compared to Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw for his quick puck-handling skills and ability to keep getting back up during a game, which is the type of player that many teams are trying to add to their arsenals. This pick was pretty valuable, especially for a team that seemed to sort of give up in their final game against the Chicago Blackhawks during the playoffs this postseason. A player like Fabbri will be able to prevent eliminations like the one that hurt Blues fans so much this year.
They rounded off the first four rounds of the draft with another second-round pick- center Maxim Letunov, who was drafted 52nd overall- followed by Jake Walman, Ville Husso, and Austin Poganski. Not the kind of dynamite showing made by the Stars, but not bad.