The NHL draft takes place in Nashville in just a few weeks and the draft order is officially out. Earlier today, the league announced all seven rounds of the 2023 NHL Draft. Here’s are all of the Sharks’ picks as of this afternoon:
- No. 4
- No. 26 (received from the New Jersey Devils in the Timo Meier trade)
- No. 36 (Round 2, Pick 4)
- No. 94 (Round 3, Pick 31) – This pick traded a few hands before landing in San Jose. It was originally the Florida Panthers’ pick but it moved from Florida to Philadelphia to Carolina before arriving in San Jose.
- No. 100 (Round 4, Pick 4)
- No. 123 (Round 4, Pick 27) – This pick once belonged to the Colorado Avalanche but came to the Sharks from the Seattle Kraken in the Jaycob Megna trade.
- No. 130 (Round 5, Pick 2) – Columbus wanted more draft capital last year, so it swapped its 2023 fifth round pick for a fifth round pick in 2022. This is the end result of the trade.
- No. 132 (Round 5, Pick 4)
- No. 164 (Round 6, Pick 4)
- No. 196 (Round 7 Pick 4)
- No. 203 (Round 7, Pick 11) – The Coyotes wanted more picks in the 2022 draft, so the team swapped seventh rounders with the Sharks. This pick was originally Vancouver’s.
- No. 206 (Round 7, Pick 14) – This pick came from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Tony Sund.
The hole in the draft board
There are a few gaps that San Jose needs to fill. For example, it’s a long time to wait between pick number 36 and pick number 94. A lot can happen in that span of time. If San Jose wants to pile up prospects, then filling that hole is essential.
Now might be the time to shop Kevin Labanc or Alexander Barabanov or sign and trade Noah Gregor to see if the team can acquire some picks to fill the void. The team could also package some of its later draft picks to move up in the draft.
Is a trade in the works?
Another way to fill the hole may be via a straight trade of picks.
Rumors are flying that the fourth pick might be in play. It’s hard to see the Sharks trading too far outside of the top five, but several reporters, including The Athletic’s Arpon Basu, have said that the Montreal Canadiens are looking to move up in the draft.
The Canadiens have the fifth overall pick, so it would not be a huge stretch for the Sharks to trade down a spot. If, for example, the Canadiens swapped the fifth overall pick and the team’s second round pick (no. 37 overall), it could be a difficult deal for the Sharks to pass up. It would definitely make that gap between the second round and the third round a little easier to swallow.
Who to pick at number 4?
Of course, all this relies on who the Sharks plan to pick at number 4. Fear the Fin will take a close look at the options in just a few days, but it looks like there are three players that it comes down to – Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michkov and Will Smith.
If San Jose has its sights set on Carlsson or Smith, it’s hard to see the team willing to trade down to five. Four is the only way to guarantee that the team gets one of those two centers. Columbus picks third and does not look like the Blue Jackets plan to pick Michkov, which means it’s either Carlsson or Smith. Leaving just one of the two left for the team picking fourth.
However, if San Jose knows that it’s going to pick Michkov or if the team really doesn’t care which of the top five players in the draft it gets, then trading down would be a great deal for General Manager Mike Grier to make.
7th round magic?
Another note about the draft order, the Sharks have piled up picks in the seventh round. The team currently has three seventh round picks. Seventh rounders, by nature, rarely make the NHL. Only about one in four play a single game at the highest level. The odds are even worse that the player plays more than 100 games.
Knowing that, San Jose could parlay all three of its seventh round picks into one or two higher picks in the draft. Some teams are looking for quantity, others are looking for quality. I think the Sharks are looking for quantity at this time, but who knows.
If the Sharks are simply looking to deepen the prospect pool, keeping the seventh rounders would be a good plan. It wouldn’t be a bad gamble. Historically, when the Sharks hit on a seventh rounder, the team hits big. San Jose drafted Joe Pavelski in the seventh round of 2003 and he is arguably the most successful of the seventh round picks.
Other seventh round or later picks included Evgeni Nabokov, drafted in the ninth round of 1994; Douglas Murray, drafted in the eighth round of 1999; Justin Braun, drafted in the seventh round in 2007; and Jason Demers in the seventh round of 2008.
Murray turned into two second round picks for the Sharks after a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Braun became a second round and third round pick in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. Demers was traded along with a third round pick for Brenden Dillon.
In other words, the Sharks have managed to find value in later round picks and may want to roll the dice.
The NHL Draft happens on June 28 and 29 this year. Round one is on Wednesday. Rounds two through seven are on Thursday.