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New Sharks GM Grier Shows Trust in Scouts, Trading Back, Picking Bystedt



MONTREAL — Do you trust Tim Burke and Doug Wilson Jr.?

If you do, then keep the faith. Draft picks take a while to develop, so there’s no telling what Filip Bystedt will become.

“Doug and his staff did a good job of identifying players that we wanted, and the [11th] pick was coming around,” new San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier said. “Those players were starting to become not available. We thought it was best to move back, get some value.”

Kevin Korchinski, Marco Kasper, Matthew Savoie, and Pavel Mintyukov went right before San Jose was slated to pick – so the Sharks traded No. 11 to the Arizona Coyotes for No. 27, 34, and 45. That’s a high first-rounder for a low first and two seconds.

I’m not here to tell you that the Sharks made a great pick at No. 27 – I’ve never seen Bystedt play, so I have no opinion of him.

“Maybe a reach?” one NHL scout mused. “Kind of Nathan Gaucher-like, but not as competitive. But big, skates well, can shoot it, good defensively. Don’t love his hockey sense and is a little soft for his size.”

This scout offered a B-/C+ grade for the pick.

Both Gaucher, who went No. 21 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Bystedt are 6-foot-3 centers.

Another scout offered: “Big center. Great skater. Looks like a stud. Has underachieved a bit.”

“He’s a 6-foot-3 center who’s one of the smoother skaters in the whole Draft,” Wilson Jr. told local media. “He’s won a [U20 league] championship and he won [the U18 World Juniors] gold medal. That’s a pretty good place to start, including the upside that he has offensively.”

This is how Bystedt described himself: “I can play in both ends, but pretty much more on the offensive side. I like to watch Jonathan Huberdeau a lot, and I try to mirror my game after him.”

If you like how Burke and Wilson Jr. have steered the Sharks’ Drafts since 2017 – that’s the first year that Wilson Jr. ran the Draft – then you have to, like new GM Mike Grier did, trust your scouts.

“I thought Mike made a gutsy move there,” Burke said. “I really did. That’s not an easy move to make, especially in your first NHL Draft. He didn’t hesitate. I was really impressed.”

Trading the No. 11 pick also, obviously, isn’t just about No. 27 Bystedt. Let’s see what the Sharks do with No. 34 and 45 in Day 2 of the Draft.

Now if you’re not a fan of Burke and Wilson Jr.’s work, fair enough, complain away about passing on Joakim Kemmell or Jonathan Lekkerimaki or Frank Nazar or Brad Lambert or whomever.

Otherwise, let’s see how it works out in about five years.

Wilson Jr. said that the plan is to have Bystedt attend San Jose Sharks development camp next week.

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