Wilson, Burke talk draft strategy

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Wilson, Burke talk draft strategy

PITTSBURGH Theyve hit their fair share home runs.

Recent draft picks like Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the early rounds, coupled with late finds like Justin Braun and Tommy Wingels has given the Sharks top-end, impact players as well as some rapidly developing youngsters.

There have been strikeouts, too. In 2003, the Sharks took Steve Bernier 16th overall, just ahead of players like Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Mike Richards and Ryan Kesler.

Recently, 2007 first round pick Nick Petrecki (28th overall) has spent the last three seasons in the minors, and a pair of NHL scouts recently told me he shouldnt even be considered an NHL prospect anymore.

Such is the nature of the NHL Entry Draft, which takes place over a two-day span beginning on Friday at Pittsburghs Consol Energy Center.

Theres always a degree of luck, but I think you create some of your luck, too, said Sharks scouting director, Tim Burke. I think its more our staff. Some scouts dont see everybody, but sometimes when they see a guy in their area theyre pushing hard for him, we have to go back out and look at him so they get some more support. Its more that, than anything else.

Doug Wilson said: Everybody works hard in this business, but what I like about the scouting staff is the healthy discussion. Burkie deserves the credit for that. Scouts have the opportunity to stand up and fight for their people.

With the pool of players so vast and so young, opinions can change almost overnight. Burke mentioned one player in this years draft, without using his name, as an example. Early on, the Sharks scouts were sky high about this particular player, but their evaluation of him quickly went the opposite direction.

RELATED: NHL Entry Draft need-to-knows

We got so excited on the guy early, it was like, how did you get to this point? Burke said. Youve got to look at the peaks and youve got to look at the valleys a little bit closer, or you get fooled. Theyre only 18 years old. There might have been something going on in his life.

The Sharks will stick with their philosophy of taking the best player available, as it's pretty unlikely the guy they take at 17 overall is ready to jump into the NHL right away. It typically takes three or four years of seasoning in junior hockey or the AHL before a draft pick is ready for The Show.

The kids are so young, by the time they are ready youve got a different need," Burke said. "It's different looking at it in hockey. In football, the kids are 22 years old. In hockey, not many guys play right away. Needs could change every year.

Since Wilson took over the Sharks just prior to the 2003 draft, the organization has had a generally strong run of success. In fact, Sharks selections have played more than 3800 combined games in the NHL (either for San Jose or another club), which is the most among Pacific Division teams and second only to the Chicago Blackhawks in the conference.

The club lists a staff of 11 scouts, several of whom scour North America and Europe looking for amateur talent. They file reports back to Burke, who oversees the operation and is the principle decision-maker when it comes to the draft.

We keep track of all the reports, where everybodys going and who theyre seeing and we cross check and have people go to tournaments, Burke said.

For the potential high round choices, Wilson is brought into the process.

Were looking at guys all year for different reasons to see if they keep improving or theyre going backwards. But certain guys that are important Wilson sees, and were all in it to make the decision. Some of the decisions, especially in the first round, you better be sure that everybodys on board about it.

That includes the interview, which takes place mainly at the scouting combine in early June and continues in the days leading up to the first round. Burke, 57, is in 15th season as head scout of the Sharks, and experience has served him well when it comes to that part of the process.

The interview, youve got to be careful sometimes, he said. The kid could come off as a real quiet, reserved kid, nervous around adults. Hasnt been in that environment before. And, he could fool you because hes a great interview but its all a bluff. You have to go back to who he is and what he does.

Wilson said: You have some players that are trained for the interview, or packaged for the combine. The work that really carries the most weight is what they see during the season. How players have played maybe in a tough situation.

The draft has become even more of an event recently than the NHL trade deadline, in terms of the opportunity to make drastic changes. So many teams are up against the salary cap in late February, or, with the recent penchant for parity, are still in the hunt. The past two NHL trade deadlines have been relatively quiet as a result.

If youre the GM of an NHL team looking to make a potentially extreme modification to your roster and there are several reports out there that the Sharks are trying to do just that theres no better time than now to do it.

Wilson, who admitted that hes in trade discussions, wont confess to any added pressure, though.

You want to start building your team in the offseason. It takes two sides to make a deal, obviously.

I think a lot of attention comes to today and the trade deadline, and a lot of attention on free agency beginning on July 1, but every day is an opportunity, and you plant seeds. Some deals and discussions take a long time to bring to fruition, but youre always looking at what your needs might be.

Youre trying to put your best team on the ice, and keep an eye on the future to refresh and replenish.

Sharks trade Tommy Wingels to Senators

Sharks trade Tommy Wingels to Senators

Tommy Wingels has been traded to the Ottawa Senators for a pair of depth forwards and a seventh round draft pick in 2017, the Sharks announced on Tuesday.

Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, both right wings, will be assigned to the AHL Barracuda.

Robinson, 25, has 12 points (7g, 5a) in 33 AHL games with Binghamton. In seven career NHL games with Ottawa, the six-foot-six, 230-pound New Jersey native has one goal and one assist. He is a pending restricted free agent.

Stortini, 31, has three points (2g, 1a) in 22 games for Binghamton this season. The six-foot-two, 220-pound Ontario native has appeared in 257 career NHL games with Edmonton and Nashville, posting 41 points (14g, 27a) and 718 penalty minutes. He is a pending unrestricted free agent.

The move clears the way for the Sharks to activate injured forward Tomas Hertl, who is day-to-day with a right knee injury that required surgery in mid-November.

According to a source, there is a very good chance Hertl returns to the Sharks on Thursday against the Oilers.

San Jose will retain 30 percent of Wingels’ $2.475 million salary, according to the Senators, which comes out to $742,500.

Wingels, 28, posted 122 points (51g, 71a) and 197 penalty minutes in 337 career games with San Jose over parts of seven seasons. He was originally drafted by the Sharks in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

He is the second player that has essentially been pushed off of the Sharks’ roster as they incorporate younger players like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier into the fold. Matt Nieto was waived in early January, and claimed by the Avalanche on Jan. 5.

"Tommy has been a valuable member of our franchise for many years, a phenomenal teammate and a true role model on and off the ice for our organization and the NHL," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "As a team evolves and younger players push for roster spots, unfortunately tough decisions have to be made. We wish Tommy and his wife, Molly, nothing but success in the future.

"We also want to welcome Buddy and Zach to our organization. They add size and depth to our reserve list and we look forward to having them in San Jose.”

NHL Gameday: Streaking Sharks roll into Winnipeg, can reclaim first place

NHL Gameday: Streaking Sharks roll into Winnipeg, can reclaim first place

Programming note – Sharks-Jets coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 30-16-2, 62 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Jets: 22-24-4, 48 points, 5th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks won their fifth straight game on Monday in Colorado, 5-2, thanks to four goals from Patrick Marleau. San Jose is 7-2-0 overall in its last nine games, and can move back into first place in the Pacific Division ahead of idle Anaheim with a win tonight.

Winnipeg will also be playing the second of a back-to-back, after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Ducks at home on Monday. The Jets are 2-4-1 in their last seven, including a 5-2 loss to the Sharks at SAP Center on Jan. 16.

***Winnipeg should be getting impressive rookie Patrik Laine back for the game, according to local reports. He’s missed the last eight games with a concussion suffered on Jan. 7. The 18-year-old Calder Trophy candidate has 21 goals and 37 points in 42 games.

San Jose could be without Joonas Donskoi, after the winger was unable to finish the game against Colorado after taking a heavy hit from Andreas Martinsen in the first period.

***Brent Burns scored another goal last night, reaching 20 on the season. He’s the fastest defenseman to reach that mark since Kevin Hatcher in 1992-93. In his last 10 games, the Norris Trophy favorite has 15 points (5g, 10a).

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Patrick Marleau. It was a historic night on Monday for the Sharks’ all-time leading scorer, as he became the first NHL player in nearly 20 years to score four goals in a single period. He struck for three in a row to start the final frame, upping the San Jose lead to 4-1, and capped it off with a late breakaway conversion. His 16 goals suddenly puts him in a tie with Joe Pavelski for second on the team.

Jets: Mark Scheifele. The 23-year-old center is Winnipeg’s leading scorer with 46 points (21g, 25a), and he brings a five-game point streak into tonight’s game (2g, 5a). He had a late goal against San Jose on Jan. 16 (thanks to Martin Jones’ ill-advised decision to try and shoot the puck into an open net), as well as an assist on an early score by Josh Morrissey.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Ryan Carpenter – Barclay Goodrow

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones
Aaron Dell

Jets
Nic Petan – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Patrik Laine
Shawn Matthias – Adam Lowry – Joel Armia
Brandon Tanev – Andrew Copp – Chris Thorburn

Josh Morrissey – Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom – Jacob Trouba
Mark Stuart – Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavalec
Connor Hellebuyck

INJURIES

Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body) is questionable. Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Jets: Patrik Laine (concussion) and Drew Stafford (lower body) are day-to-day. Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body), and Ben Chiarot (lower body) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“For a while there we were up and down, winning some games, losing some games. Now we’re putting some wins together and separating ourselves from the teams behind us.” – Marc-Edouard Vlasic