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Who Are Some Sleeper 1st-Round Picks for Sharks? NHL Scouts Talk



Credit: Ryan Chesley via USA Hockey

There are three types of prospects that the San Jose Sharks appear to be looking at in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft.

That’s San Jose Hockey Now’s educated guess, at least, after chatting with two NHL scouts from outside organizations about the No. 11 pick.

There are six prospects that these two scouts both agreed wouldn’t be there for the Sharks at No. 11 as of now: Forwards Shane Wright, Logan Cooley, Juraj Slavkofsky, and Cutter Gauthier, and defensemen Simon Nemec and David Jiricek.

Beyond that, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. Keep in mind that not all of the following prospects will be available to the Sharks.

There’s the high-skill, offense-first forward: Joakim Kemell, Brad Lambert, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Frank Nazar, and Matthew Savoie could help the San Jose Sharks score some goals.

There’s the two-way, do-everything forward: Conor Geekie, Marco Kasper, and Danila Yurov should excel in all situations.

Finally, there’s the playmaking defenseman: Kevin Korchinski, Pavel Mintyukov, and Denton Mateychuk head the layer of blueliners who could be available at No. 11.

But before we get to the favorites for No. 11 – SJHN talked to the scouts about all of these prospects, and we’ll get to all that in the coming days – the scouts also offered their thoughts on some sleeper picks.

Here’s what they had to say about forwards Jiri Kulich, Rutger McGroarty, Noah Ostlund, and defenseman Ryan Chesley.

Jiri Kulich

Scout #2: Great speed, great shot, led the U-18’s in goals.

If they want to get a speedy goalscorer, he might be up there with Lekkerimaki and Kemell as far as the best shooters and scorers in this Draft. He’s a little bit bigger and he’s faster than those two guys.

Rutger McGroarty

Scout #1: His skating is so bad. It’s awful. He might be the worst skater out of everybody in the first round. Worse than Geekie. Troublesome. Like it could keep him from playing [in the NHL].

McGroarty being a winger, he can’t get there at F1. He has trouble getting through the neutral zone. Guys catch him.

He’s got a great shot, works hard. Physical.

Mark Stone’s skating is god-awful. But he’s such a smart player. It’s a similar thing with Geekie. Geekie is a smart enough player to know his limitations, where he needs to position himself to be effective.

I like McGroarty, but you’re taking a big risk that you figure his skating out.

Noah Ostlund

Scout #2: He was on the line with Lekkerimaki and [Liam] Ohgren in the U-18’s, but he was the one that was driving the play. He had the puck the most. He was setting guys up left and right.

In my own mind, I’m like if an organization loves William Eklund, then they’re gonna love this kid too.

Ryan Chesley

Scout #1: He’d be a reach. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong.

If you’re going in the top half of the first round, I want a little more wow factor.

He’s a really, really good defensive defenseman. He’s very good defending the rush. Really good in his own zone. Great kid, leadership stuff, culture stuff, he’s kind of the leader there.

But the offensive game just isn’t natural. I can never see him running like a first power play or even like a second [unit]. But he’s the first guy over the boards on a penalty kill.

Scout #2: He’s skill-deficient. And he’s like 6-foot-0. Ryan’s a phenomenal skater, a phenomenal defender. I think he’s gonna be a good pro.

But high in the draft, No. 11, you gotta get offensive impact from that pick if you’re the San Jose Sharks. Ryan just doesn’t have that. If they had a second first-round pick? I think he’s gonna be more of a late first-round guy or early second.

Yeah, [it’d be like drafting a Mario Ferraro at No. 11]. LA took Brock Faber a couple of years ago in the mid-second. There’s some similarities there. If Ryan was six-foot-five, then yeah, but he’s 6-foot-0.

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