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Who’s the Highest Draft Pick the Sharks Never Signed?



Credit: Elliot

On Saturday, San Jose Hockey Now learned that the San Jose Sharks had declined to offer 2015 fifth-round draft pick Karlis Cukste an entry-level contract.

It got the wheels in my head turning — how often does a drafted prospect who has been passed up by his original NHL team eventually make the NHL?

I dug through 29 San Jose drafts and 232 Sharks picks to answer that question and others — like who was the highest draft pick that the San Jose Sharks never signed? Which was San Jose’s best and worst drafts, in terms of prospects signed?

If a team drafts you, then spends years evaluating you in college or juniors or in Europe, they should have a good sense what your hockey-playing capabilities are. When it comes time to sign you, if they let you go to unrestricted free agency, they likely don’t have high hopes that you’ll ever make the NHL.

And they’re probably right.

By my estimation, the Sharks — or the team that San Jose traded their prospect to — have signed 60 percent of their draft picks. That’s 138 out of 232 draft picks.

That leaves 94 draft picks unsigned.

Just four have made the NHL: Colin Blackwell (2011 Draft Pick #194), Philip Varone (2009 #147), Frazer McLaren (2007 #203), and Kris Newbury (2002 #139). Blackwell and McLaren, instead of signing with the Sharks, agreed to contracts with San Jose’s AHL team. Meanwhile, the Sharks let Varone walk and couldn’t come to terms with Newbury.

Four of 94: Yeah, it’s going to be tough for Cukste to make the NHL.

Angel Nikolov

There’s been just one “Angel” ever drafted by an NHL team.

Angel Nikolov was a Czech defenseman selected 37th by San Jose in the 1994 Draft.

“He impressed us the first time we saw him,” San Jose director of player personnel Chuck Grillo said. (Condon, Mike. “Sharks draft scoring whiz.” Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 29, 1994.)

How about after the first time?

Nikolov is the highest San Jose draft pick never signed by the Sharks, enjoying a long career in Europe before retiring in 2013.

Gabryel Boudreau (2013 #49), William Wrenn (2009 #43), Tero Maatta (2000 #41), and Alexander Cherbayev (1992 #51) were other high picks not signed by San Jose.

Best & Worst Drafts

For a prospect, getting drafted is one stepping stone. Getting signed is another stepping stone.

From an organization’s perspective, that stepping stone is critical. Offering an ELC is a sign that from the time of being drafted, the prospect has significantly advanced his game.

So looking at it that way, the 2001 Draft was a complete win for the San Jose Sharks — every draft pick was signed. That’s Marcel Goc (#20), Christian Ehrhoff (#106), Dmitri Patzold (#107), Tomas Plihal (#140), Ryane Clowe (#175), and Tom Cavanagh (#182). Goc, Ehrhoff, and Clowe also became impactful NHL players.

The 2013 Draft is on the opposite end of the spectrum: The Sharks signed just two of their seven draft picks. Mirco Mueller (#18) and Michael Brodzinski (#141) inked ELCs, while Gabryel Boudreau (#49), Fredrik Bergvik (#117), Gage Ausmus (#151), Jake Jackson (#201), and Emil Galimov (#207) were left in the cold.

The History

Anyway, those are just some of the interesting things I learned — there’s more coming from my research soon.

Here’s the complete list of San Jose Sharks draft picks and whether or not they were signed — obviously, some of the more recent selections are still in the wait-in-see category. Information before 1994 was spottier, so please feel free to correct me if I’ve made any mistakes:

San Jose Sharks Draft Picks, 1991-2019

2019 EntryArtemi Kniazev48x
2019 EntryDillon Hamaliuk55x
2019 EntryYegor Spiridonov108x
2019 EntryTimur Ibragimov164x
2019 EntrySanteri Hatakka184x
2018 EntryRyan Merkley21x
2018 EntryLinus Karlsson87x
2018 EntryJasper Weatherby102x
2018 EntryZachary Emond176x
2018 EntryJohn Leonard182x
2017 EntryJosh Norris19x
2017 EntryMario Ferraro49x
2017 EntryScott Reedy102x
2017 EntryJake McGrew159x
2017 EntrySasha Chmelevski185x
2017 EntryIvan Chekhovich212x
2016 EntryDylan Gambrell60x
2016 EntryNoah Gregor111x
2016 EntryManuel Wiederer150x
2016 EntryMark Shoemaker180x
2016 EntryJoachim Blichfeld210x
2015 EntryTimo Meier9x
2015 EntryJeremy Roy31x
2015 EntryMike Robinson86x
2015 EntryAdam Helewka106x
2015 EntryKarlis Cukste130x
2015 EntryRudolfs Balcers142x
2015 EntryAdam Parsells160x
2015 EntryMarcus Vela190x
2015 EntryJake Kupsky193x
2014 EntryNikolay Goldobin27x
2014 EntryJulius Bergman46x
2014 EntryNoah Rod53x
2014 EntryAlex Schoenborn72x
2014 EntryDylan Sadowy81x
2014 EntryAlexis Vanier102x
2014 EntryRourke Chartier149x
2014 EntryKevin Labanc171x
2013 EntryMirco Mueller18x
2013 EntryGabryel Boudreau49x
2013 EntryFredrik Bergvik117x
2013 EntryMichael Brodzinski141x
2013 EntryGage Ausmus151x
2013 EntryJake Jackson201x
2013 EntryEmil Galimov207x
2012 EntryTomas Hertl17x
2012 EntryChris Tierney55x
2012 EntryChristophe Lalancette109x
2012 EntryDanny O'Regan138x
2012 EntryCliff Watson168x
2012 EntryJoakim Ryan198x
2011 EntryMatthew Nieto47x
2011 EntryJustin Sefton89x
2011 EntrySean Kuraly133x
2011 EntryDaniil Sobchenko166x
2011 EntryDylan DeMelo179x
2011 EntryColin Blackwell194x
2010 EntryCharlie Coyle28x
2010 EntryMax Gaede88x
2010 EntryCody Ferriero127x
2010 EntryFreddie Hamilton129x
2010 EntryIsaac Macleod136x
2010 EntryKonrad Abeltshauser163x
2010 EntryLee Moffie188x
2010 EntryChris Crane200x
2009 EntryWilliam Wrenn43x
2009 EntryTaylor Doherty57x
2009 EntryPhilip Varone147x
2009 EntryMarek Viedensky189x
2009 EntryDominik Bielke207x
2008 EntryJustin Daniels62x
2008 EntrySamuel Groulx92x
2008 EntryHarri Sateri106x
2008 EntryJulien Demers146x
2008 EntryTommy Wingels177x
2008 EntryJason Demers186x
2008 EntryDrew Daniels194x
2007 EntryLogan Couture9x
2007 EntryNick Petrecki28x
2007 EntryTimo Pielmeier83x
2007 EntryTyson Sexsmith91x
2007 EntryPatrik Zackrisson165x
2007 EntryNick Bonino173x
2007 EntryJustin Braun201x
2007 EntryFrazer McLaren203x
2006 EntryTy Wishart16x
2006 EntryJamie McGinn36x
2006 EntryJames DeLory98x
2006 EntryAshton Rome143x
2006 EntryJohn McCarthy202x
2006 EntryJay Barriball203x
2005 EntryDevin Setoguchi8x
2005 EntryMarc-Edouard Vlasic35x
2005 EntryAlex Stalock112x
2005 EntryTaylor Dakers140x
2005 EntryDerek Joslin149x
2005 EntryP.J. Fenton162x
2005 EntryWill Colbert183x
2005 EntryTony Lucia193x
2004 EntryLukas Kaspar22x
2004 EntryThomas Greiss94x
2004 EntryTorrey Mitchell126x
2004 EntryJason Churchill129x
2004 EntrySteven Zalewski153x
2004 EntryMike Vernace201x
2004 EntryDave MacDonald225x
2004 EntryDerek MacIntyre234x
2004 EntryBrian Mahoney-Wilson288x
2004 EntryChristian Jensen289x
2003 EntryMilan Michalek6x
2003 EntrySteve Bernier16x
2003 EntryJosh Hennessy43x
2003 EntryMatt Carle47x
2003 EntryPatrick Ehelechner139x
2003 EntryJonathan Tremblay201x
2003 EntryJoe Pavelski205x
2003 EntryKai Hospelt216x
2003 EntryAlexander Hult236x
2003 EntryBrian O'Hanley267x
2003 EntryCarter Lee276x
2002 EntryMike Morris27x
2002 EntryDan Spang52x
2002 EntryJonas Fiedler86x
2002 EntryKris Newbury139x
2002 EntryTom Walsh163x
2002 EntryTim Conboy217x
2002 EntryMichael Hutchins288x
2001 EntryMarcel Goc20x
2001 EntryChristian Ehrhoff106x
2001 EntryDmitri Patzold107x
2001 EntryTomas Plihal140x
2001 EntryRyane Clowe175x
2001 EntryTom Cavanagh182x
2000 EntryTero Maatta41x
2000 EntryJon DiSalvatore104x
2000 EntryMichal Pinc142x
2000 EntryNolan Schaefer166x
2000 EntryMichal Macho183x
2000 EntryChad Wiseman246x
2000 EntryPasi Saarinen256x
1999 EntryJeff Jillson14x
1999 EntryMark Concannon82x
1999 EntryWillie Levesque111x
1999 EntryNiko Dimitrakos155x
1999 EntryEric Betournay229x
1999 EntryDouglas Murray241x
1999 EntryHannes Hyvonen257x
1998 EntryBrad Stuart3x
1998 EntryJonathan Cheechoo29x
1998 EntryEric Laplante65x
1998 EntryRob Davison98x
1998 EntryMiroslav Zalesak104x
1998 EntryBrandon Coalter127x
1998 EntryMikael Samuelsson145x
1998 EntryRobert Mulick185x
1998 EntryJim Fahey212x
1997 EntryPatrick Marleau2x
1997 EntryScott Hannan23x
1997 EntryAdam Colagiacomo82x
1997 EntryAdam Spylo107x
1997 EntryJoe Dusbabek163x
1997 EntryCam Severson192x
1997 EntryMark Smith219x
1996 EntryAndrei Zyuzin2x
1996 EntryMarco Sturm21x
1996 EntryTerry Friesen55x
1996 EntryMatt Bradley102x
1996 EntryMichel Larocque137x
1996 EntryJake Deadmarsh164x
1996 EntryCory Cyrenne191x
1996 EntryDavid Thibeault217x
1995 EntryTeemu Riihijarvi12x
1995 EntryPeter Roed38x
1995 EntryMarko Makinen64x
1995 EntryVesa Toskala90x
1995 EntryMiikka Kiprusoff116x
1995 EntryMichal Bros130x
1995 EntryTimo Hakanen140x
1995 EntryJaroslav Kudrna142x
1995 EntryBrad Mehalko167x
1995 EntryRobert Jindrich168x
1995 EntryRyan Kraft194x
1995 EntryMikko Markkanen220x
1994 EntryJeff Friesen11x
1994 EntryAngel Nikolov37x
1994 EntryAlexei Yegorov66x
1994 EntryVaclav Varada89x
1994 EntryBrian Swanson115x
1994 EntryAlexander Korolyuk141x
1994 EntrySergei Gorbachev167x
1994 EntryEric Landry193x
1994 EntryEvgeni Nabokov219x
1994 EntryTomas Pisa240x
1994 EntryAniket Dhadphale245x
1994 EntryDavid Beauregard271x
1993 EntryViktor Kozlov6x
1993 EntryShean Donovan28x
1993 EntryVlastimil Kroupa45x
1993 EntryVille Peltonen58x
1993 EntryAlexander Osadchy80x
1993 EntryAndrei Buschan106x
1993 EntryPetri Varis132x
1993 EntryFredrik Oduya154x
1993 EntryAnatoly Filatov158x
1993 EntryTodd Holt184x
1993 EntryJonas Forsberg210x
1993 EntryJeff Salajko236x
1993 EntryJamie Matthews262x
1992 EntryMike Rathje3x
1992 EntryAndrei Nazarov10x
1992 EntryAlexander Cherbayev51x
1992 EntryJan Caloun75x
1992 EntryMarcus Ragnarsson99x
1992 EntryMichal Sykora123x
1992 EntryEric Bellerose147x
1992 EntryRyan Smith171x
1992 EntryChris Burns195x
1992 EntryAlex Kholomeyev219x
1992 EntryVictor Ignatjev243x
1991 EntryPat Falloon2x
1991 EntryRay Whitney23x
1991 EntrySandis Ozolinsh30x
1991 EntryDody Wood45x
1991 EntryKerry Toporowski67x
1991 EntryDan Ryder89x
1991 EntryFredrik Nilsson111x
1991 EntryJaroslav Otevrel133x
1991 EntryDean Grillo155x
1991 EntryCorwin Saurdiff177x
1991 EntryDale Craigwell199x
1991 EntryAaron Kriss221x
1991 EntryMikhail Kravets243x
San Jose has signed 138, or 60%, of their 232 draft picks. Who haven't they signed?
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