PHILADELPHIA –- The Sharks’ scouting staff wasn’t all that impressed with the group of high-end defensemen at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
As a result, the team traded up five places to 46th overall in the second round on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center to snatch defenseman Julius Bergman, an 18-year-old Swede that plays a complete game, according to Sharks scouting director Tim Burke.
“We thought the D market was a little bit slim, so we didn’t want to lose the kid; a defenseman that we wanted,” Burke said. He’s got a good blend to his game, offensively and defensively.”
[RELATED: Sharks draft Nikolay Goldobin 27th overall]
Bergman had 34 points in 43 games in the Swedish junior league last season, along with 54 penalty minutes, indicating he has some skill and isn’t afraid to use his six-foot-one, 187-pound frame.
When all was said and done, six of the eight players the Sharks chose at the draft were forwards, including first round pick Nikolay Goldobin. It would seem that position was a focus of the club headed into the annual event, but Burke said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
In 2013, the Sharks took just one forward –- second round pick Gabryel Boudreau -– in their first five selections. First round pick Mirco Mueller was among the Sharks’ three defenseman chosen in the first five rounds.
“You go for the best player available, but you want to balance out your team, too. You don’t want to take five goalies, so it varies,” Burke said.
“I think it was restocking, generally, just getting some more solid players. We got a few more players than we thought we’d get, and I think we had a little bit of luck, too.”
General manager Doug Wilson seemed pleased with his group, not surprisingly.
“We think we replenished very well all sorts of different ingredients,” he said. “These guys kind of identified the guys that we wanted, and all-in-all I think we pretty well accomplished that.”
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Burke was asked specifically about Bergman (mentioned above), but also second round pick Noah Rod and third-rounders Alex Shoenborn and Dylan Sadowy.
- On Rod, chosen 53rd overall, Burke said: “Very hard-nosed, competitive guy. He’s playing with men over there (in the Swiss league), and he did pretty well in a men’s league over there at a young age.”
- On Shoenborn: “Plays a heaver game. A big, strong kid. Very physical.”
- On Sadowy: “Feisty, competitive guy. He goes to the net and stays at the net. Relentless type of guy and plays above his size.”
The Sharks chose three Europeans with their first three selections, but that was just a coincidence, Burke said.
“We weren’t even thinking about that. I think there was a lot of Europeans drafted,” he said.