San Jose Sharks Draft: The Ninth Overall Pick – Part Six


Next week, the San Jose Sharks will likely select a promising prospect with their ninth overall pick at the 2015 NHL Draft. There are high expectations set on the top-end prospects, but if history is anything to go by – the Sharks are in a good position to land a solid player.

Over the past few weeks we have been reviewing the worst-to-best ninth overall selections from the past 24 NHL Drafts. This article is the penultimate part of the series, but if you have missed any of our previous selections – click on any of the following links: part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five.

Today we unveil some of the best ninth overall selections, and if the Sharks will manage to land a prospect like any of the players below, I believe one can consider the draft to be a success. None of the three players below are of generational caliber, but have been or are a great addition to their respective teams.

6. Ruslan Salei – Defenseman

NHL Stat Line: 917GP / 45G / 159A / 204P / 1065PIM

One of the best ice hockey players hailing from Belarus, Ruslan Salei certainly left his mark in the NHL, always being one of the fan favorites wherever he played. Salei, also known as Rusty, appeared in 917 games in the NHL and played for four different teams. He will most be remembered for his time with the Anaheim Ducks. Unfortunately, he left the organization one season too early as the Ducks won the Stanley Cup the very next season.

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Salei was strong and tough, and he was never afraid to lay down punishment on any opponent. He was a defensive defenseman, so production was never that high on his priority list.

Tragically, Salei was one of the 44 people taken away from this world due to the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster, the tragedy that touched many people inside and outside of the hockey world.

5. Bo Horvat – Forward

NHL Stat Line: 68GP / 13G / 12A / 25P / 16PIM

Apr 25, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (53) skates against the Calgary Flames during the first period in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

There are certainly high hopes for someone who cracks the line-up and becomes a regular on their NHL team at the age of 19. Bo Horvat did just that when he became a full time Canuck late in 2014. He will need to produce a solid sophomore campaign if he is to live up to the high standards that he has set during his junior career in the OHL and internationally. During his time with the London Knights, Horvat was heralded for his body of work on face-offs, and his ability to get in the lane and block shots. Internationally, he received praise from Brent Sutter for his defensive plays.

Horvat was picked by the Canucks in what was originally the draft pick belonging to the New Jersey Devils before they traded it to Vancouver in exchange for Cory Schneider. There will no doubt be further comparisons of their individual performances. The Canucks fans, and many others around the league will keep a close eye on Horvat come October, but for now, during the dog days of summer one is left only to speculate how much Horvat’s game will improve.

4. Jacob Trouba – Defensman

NHL Stat Line: 130GP / 17G / 34A / 51P / 89PIM

Mar 17, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) during the first period against the San Jose Sharks at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

There is so much potential in Jacob Trouba. With decent size for today’s NHL, good skating, and a respectable right handed shot – Trouba should see many minutes as a top-four defenseman on most teams in the NHL for the next decade or so. After a very minor slump during his sophomore year, Trouba is bound to produce a nice bounce back season.

Trouba featured extensively for Team USA internationally, including winning Gold at the World Junior Championships and claiming Bronze at the Ice Hockey World Championships in the same year. Trouba played a significant part in the resurgence of the Winnipeg Jets during the past season. Resigning this American at the end of his entry-level contract is a definite priority for Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.

Who will be in the top three of our list? Which players are the outstanding examples of ninth overall selections? What names from the past drafts will inspire the hope for Sharks fans? Be sure to check back next week as we reveal the three best ninth overall selections from the past 24 years.

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