Doug Wilson is now in his 13th year as Sharks general manager, and over that time the Sharks have had some huge hits and significant misses in the NHL Entry Draft over that span. Such is the nature of the business.
To Wilson and 19-year scouting director Tim Burke’s credit, Sharks draft picks have played an NHL-best 7,232 games since 2003, whether for San Jose or other clubs. That’s a pretty good indication that the organization is usually pretty good at this, as is their 10-year run of making the playoffs before the disappointment of 2014-15.
Here are the team’s six worst draft picks since Wilson took over as the top hockey executive:
6. William Wrenn, 2nd round, 2009
The 43rd overall pick never made it to the NHL, but is still in the Dallas’ Stars minor league system. Last year, he split time between the AHL Texas Stars and ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads.
5. Gabryel Boudreau, 2nd round, 2013
Injuries hindered Boudreau last season, but the winger was declining in production even before that. Further exacerbating the pain of taking Boudreau is that San Jose had two other second round picks in 2013, but one went to Pittsburgh for Tyler Kennedy and another to Detroit to move up two places to choose Mirco Mueller. Boudreau will re-enter the 2015 draft after the Sharks let him walk.
4. Lukas Kaspar, 1st round, 2004
The 22nd overall pick, Kaspar played 16 total NHL games, all with San Jose. The Czech right wing totaled two goals and four points before going back to Europe, where he is still active.
3. Ty Wishart, 1st round, 2006
Another defenseman that the Sharks struck out on was Wishart, chosen 16th overall. Fortunately for San Jose, the club was able to deal him to Tampa Bay with Matt Carle in the trade for Dan Boyle, who is arguably the best blueliner in Sharks franchise history. Wishart played 26 NHL games for the Lightning and Islanders, but has since gone to Europe.
2. Nick Petrecki, 1st round, 2007
The NHL was already moving away from big defensemen with limited offensive ability by the time the Sharks took Petrecki with the 28th overall pick. San Jose promoted him to the NHL club in the 2013 shortened season, and he suited up for exactly one game before the Sharks cut ties with him last summer.
1. Steve Bernier, 1st round, 2003
It’s not that Bernier has had a bad career, posting 224 points in 609 NHL games with San Jose, Vancouver and New Jersey. It’s that the Sharks passed over so many elite players in a stacked 2003 draft to snag the right wing. Here are some players taken after Bernier (16th overall) later in the first and second rounds: Zach Parise (right after Bernier at 17), Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber. Ouch.