San Jose Sharks
Fitzgerald Says Sharks Looking for ‘Competitive Skill’ in Draft
San Jose Sharks fans got a peek at what the team’s braintrust is thinking going into the 2023 Draft.
This afternoon, the Sharks’ 1991 Club hosted a members-only town hall featuring director of player personnel Scott Fitzgerald, director of player development Todd Marchant, and director of amateur scouting Chris Morehouse taking questions.
For example, what does Fitzgerald want most from a prospective San Jose Sharks player?
“You want competitive skill. And character, right? Obviously, character goes without saying. But competitive skill, because it’s such a competitive league, you watch these playoff games, it’s a different kind of game than Game One through 82,” Fitzgerald, who focuses on scouting for the first two rounds of the Draft, said. “The teams who can win puck battles and make plays in small areas, and that’s just drive and competitiveness and will.”
The Sharks have the No. 4, 26, and 36 picks in the first two rounds.
Moderator Dan Rusanowsky followed up, asking Fitzgerald what he looks for after compete and skill, if he had to choose between hockey IQ or speed or size?
“I like smart players,” Fitzgerald replied. “Smart players, just work smart. Play the game differently. Probably more efficient. See the game a little differently.”
Matvei Michkov, Leo Carlsson, and Will Smith appear to be the favorites to be selected by the San Jose Sharks at No. 4 – which of these top prospects best checks off the compete, skill, and hockey IQ boxes?
We’ll find out on Jun. 28 in Nashville!
Scouts Talk Michkov, Carlsson, Smith’s Strengths, Weaknesses
Fitzgerald, Marchant, and Morehouse spoke for about 45 minutes on a wide range of Draft and prospect-related topics, touching on how the Sharks are scouting Russian prospects (like Michkov) with less in-person access to them this season, how 2022 fifth-rounder Jake Furlong is coming along, and more.
Morehouse, for example, shared this great Joe Pavelski story, when asked about the most rewarding part of the job: “We had our amateur meetings in San Jose.
“We were out as a group after getting a bite to eat. Joe Pavelski was coming in with Dallas the next night, and he was in the same hotel. Pat Funk has been with the organization since day one, had a big part to do with drafting Pavelski out of Wisconsin.
“The reaction of those two when they hugged each other and met each other and saw each other again after I don’t know how many months, that’s a really cool thing.”
The 1991 Club is the Sharks’ official global fan club, sign up here to listen to the entire town hall.
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Ryan leonard checks all those boxes matthew tkachuk like, another possibility is Dvorak ,Leo may be gone at 3… compete with skill is what seems a must with MG
I like Leonard a lot but he continues the trend of drafting small players. Tkachuk is 6’2” while Leonard is 3 inches shorter.
Sounds like a way to blow the pick. Isn’t that how jay o brien went in the first round? Isn’t that how we ended up with this roster this year was this same mentality? You need ELITE or Reeally good players with skill to pair with that compete. if you need just-a-guy with compete then go to the Ahl. A team with compete and no skill to score goals is…exactly what last year was.
I think that’s why they said competitive skill. The poster above referenced Matthew Tkachuk which is accurate. Is that how a guy like Leonard projects? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s the type of player the scouts are describing. A guy that can put up 80-100 points that’s willing to battle at both ends of the ice shift after shift.
This translate to what your scout contacts are always calling “a motor”?
No, I don’t think so. It translates pretty literally, I think, as compete + skill. Motor can be a part of that, but I think that’s associated more with energy.
Call me crazy but I’d hesitate on Leonard. His brother did not impress during his time in SJ.