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NHL Mock Draft 2017: San Jose Sharks select Michael Rasmussen with No. 19 pick

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The Sharks can’t pass up the opportunity to add a huge, young center to the organization.

Tri-City Americans v Vancouver Giants Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images

San Jose finds itself in a familiar place in the draft order once again: the bottom half. This comes as no shock to anyone as the Sharks are a perennial playoff team (except 2015 shudders) and have gotten used to drafting late.

Over the years, the results outside of the lottery have been varied. There are clunkers like Nick Petrecki and Lukas Kaspar, and some jury-is-still-out-guys like Nikolay Goldobin. Of course, San Jose aced late pick Tomas Hertl, drafting him 17th in 2012.

So without further ado, the San Jose Sharks (aka Fear The Fin) are proud to select from the Tri-City Americans, center Michael Rasmussen.

This is a big pick for San Jose, which I mean literally. Rasmussen is 6-foot-6, 220 lbs, and uses every inch and pound to his advantage. Here are his basic stats, courtesy of eliteprospects.com.

Peeking behind the curtain a bit, the 19th selection offered us a few options. On the short list were Rasmussen, center Martin Necas, and defenseman Cal Foote, all of whom we deemed to have fallen in the draft. In various mock drafts, all three are lottery selections with Necas having rocketed up into the top 10 recently. Rasmussen has the biggest variance, with some mocks taking him top 5 and others having him fall into the 20’s.

This started a debate among the writers, where we were basically split between Rasmussen and Necas. Foote seemed to be the third option, as it is an organizational priority to fill the center position as Thornton nears the end of his career.

We also contemplated trading back a few picks. The idea was to try and trade back so that any of the three were still available to us, or go back even further and hope Ryan Poehling is available. San Jose has a lack of picks coming up (Editor’s Note: At least prior to yesterday) so replenishing the war chest was seen as a valuable potential option.

Inevitably, this didn’t work out, so the conversation refocused on Rasmussen and Necas and who would be a better fit going forward. Everyone agreed however, that either one would be a steal this late in the round.

Rassy won the debate, and San Jose would be thrilled to get a big, prototypical power forward. He finished in the top 10 in the WHL in goals per game, with everyone ahead of him being older than he is. Rassy was also 37th in primary points in the WHL, which is pretty good no matter what league you’re in.

Besides goals, Rasmussen has also seemingly improved his skating, his playmaking seems to be underrated at the junior level. This could bode well for him at the NHL level if his goal scoring doesn’t stay at the same clip he produces in junior. Finally, he is effing huge and he uses his size to his advantage. He knows how and when to use his big body to win in the corners and get in front of the net to bang in goals.

The main drawback to Rasmussen seems to be that his point production is fueled by the power play. He scored 15 of his 32 goals there, and picked up 14 of his 23 assists on the man advantage. This drops him to 138th in even strength primary points per game. All of this ties in to the fact that 5v4 production is less indicative of future play compared to 5v5 production.

On the flip side, San Jose’s power play was atrocious last season, and has declined over the last few years. A big-bodied power play scorer could be extremely valuable to San Jose. Rasmussen can also be sheltered in his younger years with Couture, Hertl, Carpenter, Tierney, and O’Regan doing the heavy lifting as he adjusts to the pro game.

Rasmussen seems to be the ultimate high variance, boom-or-bust guy. Picking 19th, it’s unlikely there are any superstars in waiting, ready to contribute on day one. Generally, these picks need more time and it is more common to see them not live up to their initial ceiling. Taking a swing at a guy like Rasmussen could unearth a potential longtime center for the Sharks and, at the very least, an excellent power play specialist. Rasmussen seems like the best choice here, so here’s hoping he develops into the devastating power forward he has shown glimpses of becoming.

SB Nation’s 2017 NHL Mock Draft

  1. New Jersey Devils, via All About The Jersey, select center Nico Hischier.
  2. Philadelphia Flyers, via Broad Street Hockey, select center Nolan Patrick.
  3. Dallas Stars, via Defending Big D, select center Casey Mittelstadt.
  4. Colorado Avalanche, via Mile High Hockey, select defenseman Miro Heiskanen.
  5. Vancouver Canucks, via Nucks Misconduct, select forward Gabriel Vilardi.
  6. Vegas Golden Knights, via Knights On Ice, select forward Owen Tippett.
  7. Arizona Coyotes, via Five For Howling, select defenseman Timothy Liljegren.
  8. Buffalo Sabres, via Die By The Blade, select defenseman Cale Makar.
  9. Detroit Red Wings, via Winging It In Motown, select center Cody Glass.
  10. The Florida Panthers, via Litter Box Cats, select winger Kristian Vesalainen.
  11. The Los Angeles Kings, via Jewels From The Crown, select center Nick Suzuki.
  12. The St. Louis Blues*, via St. Louis Game Time, select winger Lias Andersson.
  13. The Winnipeg Jets, via Arctic Ice Hockey, select defenseman Juuso Välimäki.
  14. The Tampa Bay Lightning, via Raw Charge, select winger Kailer Yamamoto.
  15. The New York Islanders, via Lighthouse Hockey, select center Elias Pettersson.
  16. The Calgary Flames, via Matchsticks & Gasoline, select winger Klim Kostin.
  17. The Toronto Maple Leafs, via Pension Plan Puppets, select winger Eeli Tolvanen.
  18. The Boston Bruins, via Stanley Cup of Chowder, select defenseman Nicolas Hague.
  19. The San Jose Sharks, via Fear The Fin, select center Michael Rasmussen
  20. The Carolina Hurricanes, via Canes Country, are now on the clock.