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Scouts on Nugent-Hopkins, Danault, Granlund, Wennberg & More | SJHN+

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Credit: NHL

“There aren’t a lot of bona fide [No. 2 centers] but there are plenty of No. 3’s that are out there.”

That’s one NHL scout’s assessment of the UFA landscape for centermen this off-season.

This is especially relevant to the San Jose Sharks, as Doug Wilson’s top priorities this off-season are addressing his goaltending and adding a third-line center.

Exit Interview: Doug Wilson Plans to Add 3C, Address Goaltending | SJHN+

“A good third-line center,” another NHL scout opined, “you have to be able to take the other guy’s game away.”

So who might help the San Jose Sharks in that department?

We took a first look at some of the UFA candidates for San Jose’s 3C role last week, some more unlikely than others — David Krejci, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Phillip Danault, Mikael Granlund, Alex Wennberg, Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, Tyler Bozak, Nick Bonino, Barclay Goodrow, Paul Stastny, Ryan Getzlaf, Carl Soderberg, Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan, Travis Zajac, Derek Ryan, and Brandon Sutter.

Which UFA Centers Should Sharks Target?

San Jose Hockey Now spoke with three NHL scouts about these 18 pivots. Let’s get their thoughts about the cream of the crop first: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Phillip Danault, Mikael Granlund, Alex Wennberg, David Krejci, and Nick Foligno.

Can the San Jose Sharks fit any of these centers with their salary cap restrictions?

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Scout #1: I’m starting to appreciate more and more how hard a guy is to play against. If you’re lining up against this guy versus this guy. Who would you rather play in a seven-game series?

I don’t think Nuge is very hard. So if he’s not producing at a high rate, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the player, given what you’re going to be paying him.

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