The 2016 NHL Draft is being held at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo about one month from now. As of today, five teams do not have first round picks due to previous trades.While these teams are missing out on players that could play in the NHL as early as this upcoming season, they are not missing out on potential and talent. Here is a brief look at a team’s organizational need and a potential pick that meets that need. The selected player would be the team’s first pick but not a first rounder.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have a goalie of the future in Martin Jones. The former King has backstopped them to the Western Conference Finals. The Sharks youngest goalie prospect is Mantas Armalis who is under contract with the Sharks for next season. Another two players to keep an eye on are Aaron Dell who will be 27 next year and Troy Grosenick. The former Union goalie has one year left on his entry level contract while Dell is an unrestricted free agent. If the Sharks bring back Dell they will sign one more goalie to compete with the backup job with Grosenick and others competing for time in the minors. Since their youngest prospect is 23, the Sharks need a developmental goalie whom they can work with and still has time left to play for his junior team.
Pick-G Evan Fitzpatrick
The Sherbrooke Phoenix netminder is the number one ranked North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting. He helped Canada get to the bronze medal game and vastly outplayed his goalie partner Stuart Skinner in the tournament. Fitzpatrick is calm in the next and has outstanding rebound control. Throughout the U18 World Championships the netminder impressed with his calm demeanor, strong tracking skills, and ability to redirect the puck be it on superb toe saves, or through making a strong outlet pass. Fitzpatrick will take a few years to develop,and will have to earn a contract from the Sharks. He will. After two more years with the Phoenix the netminder will end up in San Jose, as a Barracuda in the AHL. In four years,given the right circumstances, Evan Fitzpatrick could find himself in the NHL.
If Fitzpatrick is taken,then the Sharks could take another goalie like Tyler Parsons of the London Knights or USA goalie Joseph Woll later in the draft and pick a defenseman with this late second round selection.