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Fitzgerald Says Sharks Looking for ‘Competitive Skill’ in Draft

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Credit: IIHF

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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