Despite a Stanley Cup Final appearance and heavy talent around the roster, the San Jose Sharks can improve their prospect pool with their second-round pick.
On Monday, we discussed the San Jose Sharks being able to find a future NHL player with their first pick of the draft at No. 60, and yesterday, we talked about what type of player team teal should target. Here are three players who could be available when San Jose is on the clock and would fit well into their future system.
1. Andrew Peeke, D, 6’3″, 205 lbs, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Peeke is a physical, aggressive defenseman who, at this point of his career, is better without the puck than with it. He is considered one of Team USA’s U19 team’s best defenseman, yet did score 26 points in 60 games for the Gamblers.
He has a powerful shot, and draft analyst Steve Kournianos says, “the steady and clean manner he can switch from shut-down to up-ice transition is reminiscent of (former No. 4 pick in 2015 NHL Draft) Noah Hanifin.”
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As a big defenseman who contributes on both ends on the ice even if it doesn’t show on the stat sheet, Peeke reminds me of a Justin Braun-type player from watching a few clips and studying him up.
According to hockeysfuture.com, the Shark’s youth system lacks true defensive-defensemen, but it is hard to draft those type of players since they don’t have much offensive skill yet. Peeke is someone who plays better in his own zone, but is very aware all over the ice and can score at a decent pace for a defender.
The Floridian will enroll at Notre Dame this fall and play for the Fighting Irish under head coach Jeff Jackson, and where he will exactly be chosen is still completely up in the air. He’s not a first-round talent, but his size, physicality and two-way capabilities at the age of only 18 makes for a future NHL player and someone who figures to go in the mid-second to early-third round. He may not be on the board when the Sharks are on the clock, but it’s not out of the question at all.
2. Jacob Cederholm, D, 6’3″, 187 lbs, HLV 71 J20 (Sweden)
This is another tall defenseman, but Jacob Cederholm isn’t as highly touted as Peeke due to his limited offense and being a one-dimensional defensive player at this point. He hasn’t ever really put up impressive scoring numbers, but the Sharks are looking for more reliable defensemen outside of their top four as their organization lacks in that area.
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Cederholm has a limited ceiling – he’ll never be an All-Star player just because he wouldn’t be able to produce the scoring numbers necessary. However, the Sharks must be ecstatic with what they got in fellow Swede Melker Karlsson, and apparently Nik Lidstrom inspired every young Swedish hockey player in the 2000’s to be an amazing defenseman, because the NHL is loaded with them (Karlsson, Hedman, Klingberg, the list goes way on).
Cederholm was considered a “shut-down” defenseman in the Sweden by eliteprospects.com, and he was great in one-on-one situations. This may be a bit of a reach, but an interesting selection nonetheless and one that could produce a bottom-pairing NHL defenseman.
3. Otto Makinen, C, 6’1″, 179 lbs, Tappara U20 (Finland)
The Sharks lack center depth in their system, and the determination and great play of Finn Joonas Donskoi this year made him one of the team’s most well-liked players. Win or lose, Donskoi was one of the hardest-working Sharks on the ice, and that bodes well on Finns for the Sharks front office.
Makinen is projected to go in the late-second to mid-third rounds, and scored 30 points this season for Tappara being teammates with the projected second overall pick, Patrik Laine.
Perhaps most importantly, he’s been touted as very good in the face-off circle and is good enough back checking to be considered a two-way player. The Sharks face-off struggles were certainly well documented in the playoffs, especially against the Penguins. He’s a player who seems to have very few weaknesses with good size and is a playmaker for others with room to improve in some areas. That compares strongly to Donskoi.
It may take a couple years for him and the two players listed above to develop, but they could benefit the squad in a specific area and all excel in a different aspect of the game.