With the 31st overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks have selected right winger Ozzy Wiesblatt from the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. The Sharks acquired this pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 24, 2020, along with forward Anthony Greco, in exchange for forward Barclay Goodrow and the Flyers’ 2020 third-round pick.
The Calgary, Alberta native tallied 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists) for the Raiders over 64 games in the shortened 2019-20 season, ranking second on the team to Alexei Protas, a 19-year-old forward drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2019. He ranked 17th in points among all skaters in the WHL.
At 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds, Wiesblatt’s skillset lies in his passing ability. He’s an aggressive player, compared to forward Brendan Gallagher and Maple Leafs prospect Nick Robertson by our friends over at Eyes On The Prize.
I think we expected Doug Wilson to go off the board with this pick. The value of the 31st overall pick is much closer to a second-rounder than it is to a top-10 pick, but where did the experts have Wiesblatt landing? Mostly the second round:
- Elite Prospects — 33
- Future Considerations — 40
- Craig Button, TSN — 37
- McKeen’s Hockey — 29
- NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters) — 19
- Dobber Prospects/Robinson — 34
- Bob McKenzie, TSN — 40
While there’s a possibility that the winger would be available tomorrow, it’s not unreasonable to think the draw of being the highest-scoring draft-eligible player on his team certain meant someone was eyeing him for a later round. I also think 19th among North American skaters isn’t nothing.
A lot of the concerns about Weisblatt are echoed in the profiles of near every player projected to go somewhere in the last first round, early second round: he needs to grow into his body, his game is still raw. Here’s what Eyes On the Prize said in response to that:
What most analysts are drawn to is his ability to blend speed with intensity, providing opponents with an everlasting nuisance as soon as he’s on the ice. Combine this with a terrific sense of playmaking, loads of intelligence and a fair bit of deception and you have yourself a prospect to look out for, both now and in the future. [...]
Wiesblatt is more of a passer than he is a shooter. Even if he did improve his goal-scoring numbers during his draft-eligible season, his quick release doesn’t show up often enough for it to be considered a current asset of his. [...]
There are players like Carter Savoie who can amaze you with their raw talent and make you wonder what would happen if one day they could put it all together. Then there are players like Wiesblatt who are just really good across the board. The negatives I have listed here are basically his size and that he hasn’t shown off his shot enough.
The story left is whether or not the Sharks took the best player on the board. Here are a few who are still left:
- John-Jason Peterka
- Noel Gunler
- Helge Grans
- Jeremie Poirier
- Theodor Niederbach
- Thomas Bordeleau
Of course, the Sharks might take any of them at pick no. 34 tomorrow morning, but it just seems silly to take them in that order if that’s the play.
Round 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft starts tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET.