NHL Mock Draft 2020: San Jose Sharks select Zion Nybeck with No. 31 pick

The winger led the Swedish U20 league in point last season.

Well folks, we made it. It’s finally our turn to pick in the final selection of SB Nation NHL’s Mock Draft. Here’s where the draft board sits:

1. New York Rangers — Alexis Lafreniere
2. Los Angeles Kings — Quinton Byfield
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS) — Lucas Raymond
4. Detroit Red Wings — Tim Stützle
5. Ottawa Senators — Marco Rossi
6. Anaheim Ducks — Jamie Drysdale
7. New Jersey Devils — Cole Perfetti
8. Buffalo Sabres — Anton Lundell
9. Minnesota Wild — Alexander Holtz
10. Winnipeg Jets — Seth Jarvis
11. Nashville Predators — Dawson Mercer
12. Florida Panthers — Jack Quinn
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR) — Yaroslav Askarov
14. Edmonton Oilers — Jake Sanderson
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT) — William Wallinder
16. Montreal Canadiens — Mavrik Bourque
17. Chicago Blackhawks — Connor Zary
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARI) — Rodion Amirov
19. Calgary Flames — Jeremie Porier
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN-TBL) — Jacob Perreault
21. Columbus Blue Jackets — Kaiden Guhle
22. New York Rangers (from CAR) — Hendrix Lapierre
23. Philadelphia Flyers — Dylan Holloway
24. Washington Capitals — Marat Khusnutdinov
25. Colorado Avalanche — Noel Gunler
26. St. Louis Blues — Brendan Brisson
27. Anaheim Ducks — Jan Mysak
28. Ottawa Senators — Helge Grans
29. Vegas Golden Knights — Braden Schneider
30. Dallas Stars — John-Jason Peterka

On behalf of the San Jose Sharks, Fear the Fin is proud to select forward Zion Nybeck, out of the HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League.

Who is Zion Nybeck?

Zion Nybeck — who would immediately come into San Jose’s prospect pool full of cool names with the coolest name — is a Swedish winger who brings a creative touch to the game with a specialty that I think Sharks fans can appreciate: his passing.

In 2019-20, Nybeck racked up 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) in 42 games with HV71’s Juniors U20 squad, leading the league by six points. Representing Sweden, Nybeck has won a Hlinka Gretzky Cup Bronze Medal (2020), U18 WJC Gold Medal (2019) and U17 WHC Bronze Medal (2019).

Nybeck’s passing skills are sublime, with a type of precision that could probably wreck the NHL’s All-Star accuracy competition right now. His wrist shot has a lot of power behind it, but he’s also known to aim for rebounds when he doesn’t like his shot. Joe Thornton won’t be in San Jose forever, but I might give an appendage to see Thornton have just one camp with Nybeck.

He’s a bit of a raw player, though. He’s certainly not complete by any means and needs to develop his play away from the puck. And though he struggled in 15 games with the men’s league, he’s still young and small. He might not be ready yet, but few players in their draft year are.

Why not Nybeck?

I’m going to be honest here: when the Dallas Stars took my boy J-JP, I panicked a little and forgot that the Sharks will also picking at 34th overall, where Nybeck will likely still be available. It’s more than entirely possible Nybeck falls further into the second round.

I also think Jan Mysak — selected, also by yours truly, for the Anaheim Ducks — is very much a player that the Sharks would love to take. His ranking is uncertain, and if he were to be available at 31, it’s very easy to imagine the Sharks taking him. Mysak is perhaps the top defensive forward available this year.

Finally, he’s small, at just 5-foot-8: an uncommon, but also surprisingly decorated height among NHL players.

Why Nybeck?

Nybeck’s versatility at wing really intrigues and impresses me. The Sharks could use a full-time winger in their system and being comfortable playing off his side is like carrying around a multi-tool instead of the whole box. Everything about Nybeck reads to me like what we’ve come to expect in a San Jose draft pick.

This late in the first round, it’s rare to find NHL-ready talent. A player like Nybeck is risky, no doubt. But his skills are worth considering.