PITTSBURGH Tomas Hertl was one of three players targeted by the San Jose Sharks, according to general manager Doug Wilson, who spoke with CSNCalifornia.com immediately following the conclusion of the first round of the NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on Friday night.
And before you ask, no, he wouldnt say who the other two were.
Hertl is a player that our guys really had a good read on, Wilson said. We saw him, obviously, at World Juniors. He plays in a men's league. Its not only his size, but we think his versatility, too. Just a good, good fit for what our needs are and where the game is at in the league.
"His upside potential is to be that centerman you can use in all situations," said Sharks scouting director Tim Burke.
NEWS: Sharks draft Hertl
Hertl, 18, spent the previous season in the Czech Extraliga, and is currently listed as the youngest player on a roster that has an abundance of 30-somethings. In 38 games, he had 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points and 22 penalty minutes. Prior to last season, Hertl played two years for Slavia Prahas junior team.
Hell likely return to the Czech Republic next season, but Wilson didnt want to rule out Hertl making a run at the opening night roster.
Well wait and see. Well get him to development camp and go from there. As I said, hes playing with men already, and performed very well with a high-end peer group at the World Juniors. Hes one of the more mature kids in this draft.
Although Wilson continued to repeat his mantra of taking the best player available regardless of position, it was thought that the Sharks needed a high-end offensive prospect after the club sent former first rounder Charlie Coyle to the Wild last season as part of the Brent Burns deal.
Somewhat surprisingly, eight of the first 10 choices in the first round were defensemen. The Washington Capitals picked Swede Filip Forsberg with the 11th choice, and it was all forwards from that point on until the Sharks were on the clock at 17 overall.
The phone started lighting up at the draft table at that point, but Hertl was the guy with the teal-colored bulls eye.
We got a lot of calls just prior to our pick, Wilson said. If Hertl had fallen out of there, we probably would have moved down.
Trades in general were few and far between. With big names like Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Suter all thought to be on the move, the only major deal was when Pittsburgh shipped center Jordan Staal to the Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter, the eighth overall pick, and prospect Brian Dumoulin.
The Sharks are still involved in plenty of trade talk, but Wilson said he wasnt surprised by the lack of activity.
A lot of the conversations will lead into the next week-and-a-half to two weeks, Wilson said.
Weve had a lot of discussions. We have a lot of centermen and defensemen, and thats what people are looking for, so we do get a lot of calls. I think that does set the table for more conversations the next couple weeks.
The draft resumes (and concludes) on Saturday with rounds two through seven, starting at 7:00 a.m. PST.