2022 NHL Draft: Could Sharks trade up in first round?

Random percentages to hypothetical trades!

The 2022 NHL draft is a month away, and the San Jose Sharks are selecting at 11th overall, after failing to secure a lottery draw last month. But could the team make a trade to pick sooner than that?

Trading up is always fun for fans, but it’s easier said than done. The Sharks, of course, do not have their second-round pick, after trading it for Adin Hill last off-season. The team has not traded any picks in the 2023 draft, but unless becoming a Stanley Cup contender is a guarantee, trading a potential lottery ticket for Connor Bedard or Matvei Michkov shouldn’t be something that the Sharks would do.

San Jose could look at moving a player, but the potential trade pieces available — such as Kevin Labanc, Brent Burns, Radim Simek or whoever is the odd man out of the goalie ménage à trois —  would not command a top draft pick in return. Timo Meier is really the only high-caliber player who could fetch a top-tier pick, but why would the Sharks trade the team’s MVP? It would be counterintuitive to what the team has said and their actions.

The other half of the trade equation would be the 10 teams selecting ahead of the Sharks. Here’s a glance at why moving up may or may not work with each of those teams:

Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens went from Stanley Cup finalists to picking first-overall in just 10 months. Montreal already has a very exciting young core of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, and the thought of adding Shane Wright would be too much for them to pass up on. Not to mention the fact that the first overall pick hasn’t been traded since 2003.

0.0000001% chance of happening.

New Jersey Devils

Whispers of the Devils wanting to trade the second-overall pick have been around since the Draft Lottery. The team has a young core that is starting to add pieces to finally start contending for the playoffs. Dougie Hamilton was added to the ranks last off-season and now they’re looking to add another star to their core. Meier is the only Sharks player who is young enough to fit within the Devils’ timeline, but it just doesn’t make sense for San Jose to move Meier. A chance at Logan Cooley or Juraj Slafkovsky might be enticing to some teams, I just don’t think the Sharks have the ammunition or will to move up.

1.0% chance of happening.

Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes have decided to burn it to the ground and have been looking to acquire as many assets as possible (including the Sharks' second-rounder this year). Arizona currently holds seven picks in the first two rounds and the potential to add a player who some people consider the best in the draft in Logan Cooley — worth suffering through such a terrible season. While the Coyotes are in the asset collection business, they still have to draft good players at some point and Cooley is too good.

1.0% chance of happening.

Seattle Kraken

The Kraken may have gotten the best player in the draft (not named William Eklund) last season and now the team has a chance to get their pick of the best defenders in the draft. Beginning with Matty Beniers and adding either of David Jiricek or Simon Nemec isn’t the worst way to start a franchise.

1.5% chance of happening.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers made plenty of moves last off-season to “fix” their defense by trading for Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen while letting Cam York get some real ice time, but Philly still has issues. They might actually be in a worse cap situation than San Jose right now, with less talent. Look for the Flyers to continue to add to the pipeline as the rebuild gets underway.

1.5% chance of happening.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have done a great job of adding quality draft picks, including this one from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Seth Jones deal. Columbus is a sneaky smart team and could look to trade back, but holding the 12th-overall pick as well, it’s less certain the team would want to move back when they’ll already have an opportunity to get the guy they want mid-round. Plus, Frank Nazar III would continue the trend of University of Michigan prospects eventually moving to Ohio.

4% chance of happening.

Ottawa Senators

The Senators are always a wild card at the draft, so who knows. But with a core of Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris, Ottawa is probably looking for a more NHL-ready player to make an impact if they decide to trade the pick. Again, it’s unclear who fits the criteria other than Meier, and if the the second-overall pick isn’t enough to move him, it’d take a hefty package around the seventh pick.

4% chance of happening.

Detroit Red Wings

Stevie Yzerman is a man with a plan and while it may not make sense to the rest of us, it seems to be working out. Drafting Moritz Seider seemed like a reach at sixth-overall in 2019, but the younger defender is already panning out for the Wings. Lucas Raymond has taken an early claim to be the best player selected in the 2020 NHL draft. Some questioned Simon Edvinsson over William Eklund, but Edvinsson is well on his way to making an impact (Give me William Eklund, though). If you make a trade with Yzerman, you probably are going to lose the trade. Just don’t even try.

2% chance of happening.

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres were sneakily frisky this season despite trading away Jack Eichel. With first-overall selection Owen Power now in the fold, the Sabres are on their way to being fun again. The team is armed with three first-round picks this draft, at 9, 16 and 28. Buffalo might be one to package picks in exchange for adding a top-tier talent, but are less likely to trade backward. The Sharks might want to move up those two places though, if they are worried about the Ducks picking a player that they might love, like a Kevin Korchinski.

10% chance of happening.

Anaheim Ducks

This one is tricky. The Ducks are on the verge of being fun again with Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale, as well as Mason McTavish expected to join the fun this year too. But would Anaheim really trade with a division rival without charging 125 percent on the dollar for the trade? Seems like a lose/lose scenario for the Sharks to try to trade up. It’s more likely San Jose would rather leapfrog Anaheim than strike a deal with Anaheim.

3% chance of happening.

The Sharks are most likely to sit pat at 11, rather than try to move up, but if the team does look at a potential partner to leapfrog Anaheim, especially if they both love the same player, Buffalo may be a fit.

San Jose should still be able to get a quality player at 11 with the way the board could shake out. The team doesn’t really have the pieces to move up and have been willing to show plenty of patience in draft strategy.