The 2014 NHL draft was completed before noon PDT Saturday, June 27. The photo list of selections by the San Jose Sharks give their birth nation, where in the draft they were picked and subsequent official grade.
Overall, it was a good draft for the Sharks. In the end, they parlayed their late sixth-round pick into an extra selection in the third and fourth rounds. In exchange, they did move back seven spots in the first but up five in the second round.
No one can really judge the draft until many of its players have made the NHL. Central Scouting is considered the preeminent, publicly-available rating system, but according to their rankings at draft time general manager Doug Wilson does poorly most of the time.
The reality is that despite trading away several picks to add pieces, Wilson deserves credit for having quite a bit of homegrown talent. Joe Thornton, Brent Burns and Antti Niemi are the only key players left that were not drafted by San Jose. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Jason Demers, Tommy Wingels, Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto are his picks set to skate for more than 15 minutes a night in the 2014-15 NHL season.
Thus while Central Scouting ranking does factor into Wilson’s marks, it can only be a part of the grade. A good examiner also considers San Jose’s need at the position and how that player fits in with the style the team is committed to.
Most hockey followers believe that the North American game is tougher. If so, drafting six of eight players from North America would fit with Wilson’s goal of becoming a tougher team. However, it would be inappropriate to judge individual players on such assumptions and they are not objective enough to factor into grading the individual marks.
One disappointment right out of the gate is that not one goalie was selected. The Sharks are not in dire need of goalies but probably will be soon.
Either Antti Niemi or Alex Stalock will be gone from the team over the next two years and the other will be signed to a contract that at least takes him into his thirties. Behind them, Harri Sateri is running out of time to show he is capable of playing a significant NHL role (the team still owns his rights when he returns from the KHL) and Troy Grosenick has just one good year in the minors.
San Jose also picked up just two defensemen: Julius Bergman (6′ 1″, 187 lb.) was taken 46th and ranks 19th among European skaters and Alexis Vanier (6′ 4″, 215 lb.) was taken 102nd and ranked 112th among North American skaters.
Since the latter category constitutes over half of the entire draft, it would seem both might have been incrementally-increasing, modest reaches. The Sharks are actually deep on the blue line, so it is understandable they drafted little and both players could contribute on both ends of the ice.
San Jose is currently deep at center and added just one this draft—Rourke Chartier (5’10”, 173 lb.) with the 149th pick. He may have been a bit of a reach considering he was ranked 136th among just the North American skaters, but Elite Prospects calls him “a skilled forward with a great work ethic” and goes on about his skating. That means pretty good value for this team that may lose a couple centers over the next year.
Dylan Sadowy (6′, 183 lb.) was the only left winger chosen and looks like Wilson’s biggest steal of the 2014 NHL draft. The 81st pick in the draft was rated 33rd among North American skaters.
The Sharks focused a lot of their attention on the right wing. That does not mean those players might not be switching sides in their path to the NHL, so the most important distinction among forwards is between center and wing. Those that can only play the latter cannot add value to the franchise based on position, only on what they provide in talent and how they fit its approach.
Nikolay Goldobin (6′, 178 lb.) is a left-handed right wing taken 27th and ranked 24th among North American skaters. He plays well on both ends of the ice and functions in traffic despite his modest size. He passes and shoots well and is an excellent skater, so he will fit in with what San Jose is doing. Having experience in North America could also help the Russian make it to the NHL faster.
The physical Noah Rod (6′, 188 lb.) is from Switzerland, was the 27th-ranked European skater and thus might be a slight reach at 53rd. American Alex Schoenborn might also be a reach at 72nd as the 78th-ranked North American skater. However, fellow countryman and final pick Kevin Labanc was decent value 171st overall as the 115th-ranked North American skater.
That leaves one pick that was a steal, one about right and six slight to moderate reaches among the eight picks. All fit San Jose’s style but few play premium positions of need. However, given the seven selections Wilson started with and that he traded no future picks, prospects or current players to get eight, he did better than expected.