Boston University product Daniel O’Regan made his NHL debut last night, becoming the 23rd college player drafted by the Sharks to play in the NHL and the third Terrier. He’s the first since former (and now current) teammate Matt Nieto, who was drafted by San Jose in the second round of the 2011 draft.
Joe Pavelski is (obviously) the leader in the clubhouse in points (578), goals (272) and assists (306) out of the University of Wisconsin. He is one of six to score at least 100 points and one of 12 to play at least 100 NHL games. Of the 23 players, only nine played fewer than 82 NHL games.
So the Sharks have enjoyed some success drafting players out of college. Guys like Matt Carle, Justin Braun, Tommy Wingels, Douglas Murray ... you get the idea. Eight of these players are still in the NHL and four of them are still with the Sharks. Those guys average 0.52 points per game thanks (mostly) to Pavelski.
The first college player drafted by the Sharks to play in the NHL, Brian Swanson, played in 70 NHL games. San Jose selected the Colorado College product in the fifth round of the 1994 draft. He never played for the Sharks, instead making his debut with the Edmonton Oilers where he spent three partial seasons before wrapping up his NHL career in Atlanta in 2004.
The majority of San Jose’s college draftees have been selected in later rounds. Only five were taken in the first two rounds, leaving 18 taken between rounds 4-8. The Sharks have taken four players in the fifth and seventh rounds — for the visual learners... here’s a chart:
San Jose has drafted two goaltenders (Alex Stalock and Nolan Schafer) and seven defenders; for the mathphobic, that leaves 14 forwards. Four of the 11 draftees to play more than 100 NHL games are defenders. Carle has played 730, six of which have come with the Predators this season.
A third Boston University product, John McCarthy, has played 88 games with the Sharks and is still a member of the San Jose organization. He spent about half a season with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL, the only time he’s played professional hockey outside of the San Jose organization.
San Jose had the most success in the 1999 and 2007 drafts in terms of number of players to make it to the NHL for at least a game. The 1999 draft class played 816 game, led by Douglas Murray with 518. The Sharks draft class has played 731 games led by Justin Braun and Nick Bonino.
College hockey doesn’t produce near the number of players that junior hockey does, and I certainly don’t see that changing anytime soon. But the Sharks have enjoyed some success drafting college players, particularly in later rounds. This doesn’t mean anything for the future of O’Regan, of course, but it’s always cool to see a guy make the NHL through a road slightly less traveled.