Max Giese: 2009 San Jose Sharks Draft Synopsis
William Wrenn, 2nd round 43rd overall, D, 6-1/190, USNTDP
A steady stay-at-home defenseman with strong character, Wrenn is a smooth skater and while he’s most noted for his defensive play, he’s also efficient on the offensive side of the puck. Does a nice job jumping into the open seems when they are available and he owns a seeking right-handed point shot. Wrenn is a solid defenseman that makes a quick first pass and is very aware defensively, with his head on a swivel and rarely out of position. His game has a lot of positives and no real weaknesses except for not being a dynamic offensive talent. Will play for the University of Denver next fall and has excellent leadership intangibles, as he garners loads of respect by those he goes to battle with because he leads by example on the ice and can be vocal when needed in the room.
San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke on Wrenn: “We talked to all of his teammates and a lot of people about him, the universal answer was that he’s a great leader. We liked that he’s going to Denver next fall. He’s going to be a shut-down defender in our league but I believe he can do more too, he has good hands and he really began to come on late in the year and just kept getting better as the season progressed. Above all he’s a leader and a stopper”.Taylor Doherty, 2nd round 57th overall, D, 6-8/218, Kingston OHL The Sharks swung for the fences when they selected the colossal Doherty late in the second round and he should be seen as a project pick that will need to be coached up on many details of the game. Doherty has the type of size that is rare to find in a player that can skate and handle the puck as well as he can. On his good days Doherty can be a menacing physical presence and also push the puck up the ice with his skating ability. On his bad days Doherty struggles with his decision making and lacks confidence. He made a name for himself by shutting down and taking John Tavares out of the CHL Top Prospects game this past winter. If the Sharks can work with his decision-making and are patient, Doherty’s physical gifts are pretty good.
Sharks scout Jack Gardiner on Wrenn: “He’s an excellent skater that moves the puck quickly and makes good decisions. He does not shy away from physical confrontations and plays with good overall technique in his own zone”.
Redline Report ranked Wrenn 37th overall: “The U.S. team captain’s name never seems to come up when discussing this year’s better defence prospects, perhaps because his game is not about flash-‘n-dash, but we think it should. He’s the twelfth most underrated player of this draft”.
McKeen’s ranked Wreen 108th overall: “He has great desire, is a capable open-ice-hitter, and is a strong defender that can excel in a stay-at-home role.”
ISS ranked Wrenn 70th overall: “This solid two-way defenseman has proven to scouts that he is the real deal and is a smart and reliable defenseman who keeps his game very simple and effective”.
An anonymous Eastern Conference NHL scout whose priority was to scout the USNTDP told Sharkspage after the draft “I thought Wrenn went a little bit too early to be honest”.
An anonymous Michigan based NHL scout who has followed Wrenn since he was 15 years old told Sharkspage after the draft: “I really like Wrenn as a player and he reminds me a lot of Ian Cole. He’s not flashy at all but just quietly efficient everywhere on the ice. Will never be confused for an offensive defenseman, but he makes a very solid first pass, gets his head up quickly, and makes safe and smart and correct plays, which coaches appreciate. He’s at his best in his own end, where he uses a very active stick and a distinctly physical style to be a disruptive force in all important defensive areas”.
San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke on Doherty: “I don’t believe his hockey sense or confidence is an issue. We really watched him closely during his shifts against the top guys in the league and he did very well. We watched him in key divisional games and he shut their top players down. He’s a big kid and bigger guys take longer to develop. We believe eventually his athleticism is going to come through and I don’t mind that he’s facing some adversity right now with Kingston; I like to see how players handle it. Often times the kids that are on bad teams that are trying to do too much are often hungrier and turn pretty good because of it. I actually think Kingston will be a good team next year and they have a lot of returning players”.Philip Varone, 5th round 147th overall, C, 5-10/186, London OHL
Sharks scout Rob Grillo on Doherty: “Doherty has tremendous size and is a steady defender. He’s a stay-at-home defenseman that is a good puck mover and is strong in his own end”.
Redline Report ranked Doherty 113th overall: “List of attributes: he’s 6-foot-8 and… well, he’s 6-8”.
McKeen’s ranked Doherty 79th overall: “Doherty is the most noticeable player on the ice for his huge frame and his skating is decent considering his size but he lacks hockey sense and will make a lot of questionable decisions with the puck”.
ISS ranked Doherty 52nd overall: “A big player who has a physical presence when he is on the ice, Doherty gets around the ice fairly well considering his size and there is lots of potential with this young rearguard who already has extensive international experience. He’s the fifth best stay-at-home defenseman of the draft”.
Kitchener Rangers scout Ed Roberts on Doherty: “He’s a complete boom-or-bust proposition. He may have the absolute lowest hockey sense grade of any top 120 prospects. 6-7 defenseman who can skate like he does should be top 10 picks so there is a reason he fell to where he did and it’s a between the ears issue. I’ve seen him dominate shifts when he plays aggressively and with confidence, only to look like an idiot five minutes later when he coughs up the puck in a bad spot. He’s not getting developed well in Kingston, there is a losing culture and mindset there, not where a kid who lacks smarts and confidence will improve”.
A fast, abrasive forward with good hand skills, Varone is a streaky scorer with a goal scorer’s mentality that outperformed top-ten picks John Tavares and Naze Kadri in the OHL playoffs. He surprises defenseman with his determination and can also create plays off the rush. Varone lacks size and some wonder if his body will break down because of his feisty style of play, so he will need to bulk up to remain effective at the next level.
San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke on Varone: “We kept watching him get better and better this year and then he had a great playoff. He’s sturdy on his feet and makes a lot of plays. His size doesn’t concern me because he’s thick and is an offensive guy that can execute in traffic. We wanted him but didn’t want to reach on him either and we are happy with the value that we got by making a small move up to get him in the right spot. Because he’s a guy that spends a lot of time in traffic people come to the conclusion that he’s an abrasive guy, but he knows how to pick his spots. You watch he’s going to put up some big numbers in the Ontario Hockey League next year”.Marek Viedensky, 7th round 189th overall, C, 6-4/185, Prince George WHL
Sharks scout Rob Grillo on Varone: “Varone is a skilled two-way forward that can kill penalties and play in all-situations. He’s a good skater and has good hands. He plays with a lot of grit and had a great playoff”.
Redline Report Ranked Varone 55th overall: “He’s a true game and competes hard, especially in offensive situations”.
McKeen’s ranked Varone 90th overall: “He has a nice mixture of speed, skill, and grit. His individual skill set and creativity allows him to play either wing and make clever plays with the puck.”
ISS ranked Varone 107th overall: “He has the explosive speed to gain separation and demonstrates a willingness to take a hit in order to make a play”.
Kitchener Rangers scout Ed Roberts on Varone: “He’s a kid I like a lot, when he was in Kitchener he was no trouble off the ice and is a mature kid that looks you in the eye when he speaks. The only issue is how well his game will translate to the pro-level. He has very good puck skills, quick hands and very good release. Plays an agitating game, motor is always running and isn’t afraid to stick his nose into dirty areas. May end up being a solid organizational depth guy, who can put up good numbers in the minors, but with his determination and grit I wouldn’t put anything past him”.
A big and savvy centerman that does a great job at positioning himself on the defensive side of the puck, Viedensky is a useful penalty killer that suffocates his man with his defensive coverage. He endeared himself to scouts this past winter when he centered the overachieving Slovakian World Junior Championship team’s top line and then continued to battle hard on a bad team with the Prince George Cougars of the WHL. Viedensky skates with nice looking, long strides that eat up a lot of the ice once he gains a head of steam, although he will need to add more explosion to his first step which is a bit slushy. His puck skills are serviceable, as he can let go a crisp snap shot at full speed and he receives difficult passes well. Not a soft player and does own a long reach, but Viedensky will need to become more physical and continue to get stronger to play in the NHL.
San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke on Viedensky: “He’s more of a two-way guy and we actually had him rated highly in his original draft year. We really liked him at the World Juniors and we made our guys follow up on him in the WHL. We went in and saw him on the road and saw him in the playoffs with Prince George and there is definitely something there in Viedensky. He’s another guy that’s going to put up some more points in his league next year and really come on. He plays the whole sheet of the ice and we had him targeted so we made sure to get him”.Dominik Bielke, 7th round 207th overall, D, 6-3/190, Eisbaren Berlin
An anonymous Eastern Conference scout based in the Czech Republic on Viedensky: “A decent skater with agility for a player of his size that would be more effective if he would be more explosive. A decent stickhandler and a patient puck-possession player that could make better moves when pressured in traffic and be more of a force in one-on-one situations. Doesn’t shy away from traffic, but not a player who would initiate physical contact very often. Needs to bulk up so he won’t get pushed out of scoring lanes easily”.
McKeen’s chief scout David Burstyn on Viedensky: “Has size but lacks mass, as he is very wiry. Offensively he thrives in down-low situations where he uses his size to shelter the puck while getting closer to the net. He’s a good presence on the ice, constantly around the puck and has no problems engaging himself physically. On the downside he’s erratic handling the puck, he has long arms so in most cases he tends to skate with the puck far ahead of him only to pull it back in at any sign of a pokecheck”.
McKeen’s WHL scout Randy Gorman on Viedensky: “He has a lot of untapped potential, too much of a perimeter offensive player, big, and skates well for his size, needs to develop a better compete level and grit. He compliments WHL rookie of the year Brett Connolly well and did improve on his defense as the year progressed. He rotated between the 1st and 2nd line and was on the power-play unit”.
Bielke is miles away from playing in the NHL, but he has some natural instincts and tools that can’t be taught. His skating definitely will require some work. He’s stiff in his upright skating style and he lacks the agility to execute tight turns. Most of his problems stem from coordination issues and lack of strength. The Sharks have to be intrigued by his offensive tools, as he’s in his element inside the offensive zone where he will instinctively pinch into the attack and acts as a triggerman on the point. He has a blossoming presence with the puck and he shelters it well with his big frame. Defensively he gets himself into trouble trying to do too much, but he does control his gaps well and positions his long stick properly.
San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting on Dominik Bielke: “We really like his range, he has a good reach, has a good stick, and he can shoot the puck. You can say that he has a little bit of Ehrhoff in him. We liked him at the World Juniors and we had our guys follow him in the second half of the season. We saw him again at a Swedish tournament late in the year and all of our reports on him were very consistent. This is a kid that is in a good situation over there for his development. His skating need works, like all tall kids we need to get him to bend his knees more and get him stronger”.Sharks Notes
This coming September the San Jose Sharks will be hosting a three day tournament in which their prospects will be taking on those of the Anaheim Ducks. The event will be held in San Jose from September 7-9th. Currently the Sharks are in premature discussions with other Western teams about having a four team prospects tournament in 2010.
Doug Wilson and Tim Burke stressed that they didn’t want to cannibalize their 2010 draft picks for more picks in this years’ draft. Currently the Sharks possess their own first, second, and third round picks next year as well as a second round pick from the Buffalo Sabres. The Sharks were not happy about entering the 2009 draft with only four picks, but that is the result of trying to win so much now that eventually trading away those picks can come back to bite you. Doug Wilson wants to provide Burke and his staff with plenty of ammunition for the 2010 draft and likely won’t be trading away picks this time around.
The fact that the Sharks didn’t issue qualifying offers to former first-round picks Marcel Goc, Lukas Kaspar, and Mike Morris surprised some, but more than anything it had to do with the unsettling economic landscape that teams are weary of that prompted the Sharks to be frugal with their restricted free-agents. The fact that the salary cap is expected to drop quite a bit for the 2010-2011 season played a significant role in the decision not to qualify the players listed above. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, if a team qualifies a player and that player defects to Europe or doesn’t do anything with it, the qualifying offer still swallows up cap room. The Sharks also wanted to keep roster spots vacant for this year and especially next year to provide them with flexibility moving forward.
[Update] Getting To Know William Wrenn - Fear the Fin.
[Update2] Wrenn Goes 43rd Overall In NHL Draft - Doyle Woody for the Anchorage Daily News.
Defenseman William Wrenn of Anchorage was selected 43rd overall, the 13th pick of the second round, by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL entry draft today in Montreal. That makes Wrenn, who is headed to the University of Denver, the fifth-highest draft pick in history among Alaskans.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, who is 18, is viewed as a defensive defenseman with a bit of edge to his game. He has played the last two seasons in USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and captained the Americans to the World Under-18 championship earlier this year.
Anchorage native Matt Carle, now playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, was originally drafted by San Jose 47th overall in 2003. Former Sharks enforcer Scott Parker was a 20th overall selection in the first round by Colorado in 1998.
[Update3] Sharks bolster blueline at NHL Draft - SJsharks.com.