The 31-in-31 Offseason Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in November we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up, the December 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs until the season begins!
When the NHL decided to suspend play on March 12, the San Jose faithful were unaware that they would not see the Sharks on the ice again in 2020. After a disappointing regular season, the Sharks were one of seven teams that were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and therefore were not invited into the bubble. This marks only the seventh time in the franchise’s 28 year history in the league that the team has missed the playoffs. Needless to say, fans and players alike were left with a very bitter taste in their mouths. Now, with rumors swirling around return to play in January, Sharks fans are “chomping” at the bit to see their team in action again.
The off-season departure of fan-favorite veteran, Joe Thornton, for the bright lights of Toronto should be enough to indicate that the Sharks aren’t planning on competing for the cup next season. But what exactly have they got planned? Let’s recap the Sharks 2020 draft class to get an idea of what they have up their sleeve.
The Sharks entered the draft with seven picks but walked away making nine selections thanks to some crafty pick trading. Unfortunately for fans, the No. 3 overall picks used to select Tim Stutzle was no longer owned by the Sharks, as it was traded to the Ottawa Senators in a deal that brought in Erik Karlsson. Nevertheless, San Jose still had a first-round pick they acquired from Tampa Bay in a deal that sent Barclay Goodrow to the Lightning.
31st Overall, Round 1: Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW
In a touching moment, Sharks’ director of amateur scouting, Doug Wilson Jr., used ASL (American Sign Language) to spell out Ozzy’s name and select him 31st overall. Wiesblatt’s mother, Kim, has been deaf since birth and has taught and used ASL with all five of her children. Heartfelt moment aside, let’s talk hockey!
Ozzy is known best for his playmaking abilities and never say die attitude. The 5-foot-10 winger buzzes around the ice every single shift, wreaking havoc for opponents and opening up extra ice for his teammates. With 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists) in 64 games during the shortened 2019-20 season, Wiesblatt ranked 17th in points among all skaters in the WHL. It also made him the highest-scoring draft-eligible player on his team. Certainly, nothing to sneeze at.
Unlike most pint-sized wingers who get drafted, Wiesblatt’s frame isn’t his biggest criticism. He plays the game with such tenacity and determination that many scouts have compared him to successful NHL standouts like Brendan Gallagher. In fact, it’s Ozzy’s shot that hasn’t dazzled many scouts yet. We did see a note-worthy improvement in his goal-scoring numbers during his draft-eligible season, but not enough to consider him a threat as a pro. His focus over