2015 NHL Mock Draft: San Jose Sharks First Round Selection


Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of the complete draft board after the completion of the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL division for FanSided continues with the 2015 NHL Mock Draft.

With the ninth overall selection in the 2015 NHL Mock Draft, the San Jose Sharks select….

Pavel Zacha, Center, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

San Jose would gladly take a player with Zacha’s size-and-skill falling into their laps at pick number nine. Zacha is seen as an intriguing prospect as Hockey Prospect ranks him as the fourth overall draft prospect, NHL’s Central Scouting ranks Zacha number eight, while ESPN’s Corey Pronman ranks him number 11. As you can see, the talent is there with Zacha but there seems to be some debate on where he should go in the first round.

Here’s a breakdown from Curtis Joe of EliteProspects.com on what to expect from Zacha:

"“Pavel Zacha is an offensively dynamic center with the size, speed, and skill to make a significant impact on the game. He can play physical, but is at his best when using his high-end offensive abilities, such as his shot, stickhandling, and footspeed, to generate numbers in the opposition’s end of the ice. All-in-all, Zacha is a lethal weapon that can be depended upon to create, and finish, dangerous scoring chances whenever he is on the ice.”"

Why Pavel Zacha?

Zacha is a high-end offensive talent who could see himself cracking the Sharks lineup fairly quickly, similar to fellow countryman Tomas Hertl. Zacha is a big-body, standing six-foot-three and 210 pounds. He already possesses NHL-type size and should be able to adapt well in the NHL.

While Zacha was limited this season in Sarnia due to a shoulder injury and the World Junior Championships, he did produce nearly a point-per-game, posting 16 goals and 18 assists in 37 games this season. Also, Zacha brings a physicality to his game, something that was missing in San Jose, as he registered 56 penalty minutes.

Perhaps the most important aspect of why the Sharks select Zacha is he brings a unique blend of size and speed. Zacha can create offense in a multitude of ways, whether with his size, or creating with his foot speed. There aren’t many prospects in this draft class who can match Zacha’s offensive playmaking ability.

As Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards points out:

"“He’s got high-end skill and is an excellent competitor; he plays an excellent two-way game. He’s physical and solid on his skates and can separate guys from the puck.”"

How He Fits

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Zacha is a perfect fit in San Jose because they covet his size and speed to be able to control the puck. New head coach Peter DeBoer said he likes to play pressure hockey and Zacha should fit right in with that style.

Furthermore, Zacha is an offensive talent that should help bridge the gap when Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau eventually move on. Zacha can play either center or wing, but the Sharks would probably envision him as a center down-the-line due to his size and playmaking ability. Similar to Hertl, he might get his first shot in the NHL on the wing, but he seems to be too gifted an offensive talent to keep away from the center of the ice.

Finally, in the Western Conference, big bodies who can skate are needed to compete. With San Jose playing the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings on a regular basis, the Sharks need size up front to be able to control the puck and withstand the physical toll that those teams can bring. Zacha’s size and physicality fits right into that brand of hockey and he should thrive with San Jose if he continues to develop.

Next up, with pick number 10, is the Colorado Avalanche.

Previous FanSided 2015 NHL Mock Draft Selections:

8. Columbus Blue Jackets (Union and White) – Zach Werenski

7. Philadelphia Flyers (Broad Street Buzz) – Lawson Crouse

6. New Jersey Devils (Pucks and Pitchforks) – Mathew Barzal

5. Carolina Hurricanes (Cardiac Cane) – Noah Hanifan

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (Editor in Leaf) – Mitch Marner

3. Phoenix Coyotes (Howlin’ Hockey) – Dylan Strome

2. Buffalo Sabres (Sabre Noise) – Jack Eichel

1. Edmonton Oilers (Oil on Whyte) – Connor McDavid

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