With their own sixth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks selected left winger Liam Gilmartin at 167 overall.
Gilmartin’s team history reads like a path straight to the NHL; starting with the Washington Little Caps and Shattuck St. Mary’s AAA teams, the Heidlberg, Germany native joined the United States National Team Development Program in the 2019-20 season.
In both the United States Hockey League and United States Development Program over the last two season, Gilmartin hovers right around a half a point per game (ppg). His USHL totals are slightly less, with 13 goals and 11 assists over 52 games (.46 ppg), while he scored 23 goals and 27 assists in 98 games (.51 ppg) in the USDP. He’s by no means a stand-out star, but he still plays a large role on the team quite well.
The highest pre-draft ranking was Smaht Scouting, who ranked him at 55, while the lower end was 126 among just North American skaters from NHL Central Scouting. Dobber Prospects’ Hadi Kalakeche, a scout in the USHL, had this to say about the forward back in April:
Gilmartin is yet another underrated forward from the Program; he understands his responsibilities at the right of Red Savage and Jeremy Wilmer (52nd), and can keep up both physically and mentally with the game to the point of almost never being at a positional disadvantage. He seems like a very coachable player, and FC Hockey’s USHL scout Dylan Krill had nothing but great things to say about him in a recent discussion following the game: “I think Gilmartin has proved to me that he is a top 50 [NHL Draft] player. He is so reliable and plays his role perfectly. Playing a responsible defensive game, bringing physicality each shift and understanding where he needs to be and what to do very consistently.”
Expect Gilmartin to show up higher than expected along with the rest of this list, as Stan Bowman and the many important NHL Draft scouts present likely noticed what we both saw of him.
If Gilmartin continues to improve — and he’s taking the leap into Canadian juniors next season, rather than the NCAA, a great sign for his development — this pick will feel like a steal. It’s up to the young skater to continue with the hard-working reputation he’s earned thus far. His ceiling is probably that of a fourth-liner in the NHL, but the power of hard work has done more with less before.
Among his teammates on the London Knights next season will be center Max McCue, who the Sharks drafted 11 picks ahead of Gilmartin.