With the 17th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, their highest selection since drafting Logan Couture 9th overall in 2007, the Sharks picked center Tomas Hertl from HC Slavia Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Coincidentally (or because the franchise bases all their moves on this blog), Hertl is also who we here at Fear The Fin picked on behalf of San Jose in the SB Nation Mock Draft. Hertl was ranked 22nd in Derek Zona's final top 100 consensus rankings, which weighs the opinions of various scouting services and experts, was 5th among European skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings, 18th overall by Corey Pronman at Hockey Prospectus, 23rd overall by The Scouting Report and 32nd by ISS. Once again, here's what Pronman had to say about Hertl:
Hertl is a gifted puck-handler who is above-average to plus in that area with good creativity and hand-eye coordination. He has a nice frame and is pretty hard to strip the puck from in the cycle game due to his hands and puck protection abilities. Hertl's physical game is pretty solid all-around as he is strong, with a good sized frame, will go to the net, and doesn't mind getting a little chippy. He thinks the game at an above-average level as he's a gifted playmaker who is instinctual with his vision, and his off-the-puck instincts. He's also a pretty sound defensive forward. Hertl certainly needs work on his skating as he's below average on a good day, but that part of his game usually looks replacement level—especially his first few steps—although his standstill agility and balance are solid. If he cleans up his skating, his raw possession skills are first-line worthy, so if his development goes well, he could be a nice value pick.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Hertl from a statistical perspective is that his points per game rate playing against men in the Czech Republic's best pro league last season translates (using Gabriel Desjardins' NHL equivalencies) to the highest points-per-game rate among 2012 first rounders outside of first overall pick Nail Yakupov. Knowing what we know about the Sharks organization, I wouldn't be surprised if they use a similar formula to evaluate prospects' offensive outputs.