The 2013 NHL draft took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Two trades during the day and a first-round pick later, they managed to trade up and still surprise.
It is important to be clear: Doug Wilson knows hockey better than almost anyone in the entire Bay Area. But just two hours into the draft, one must wonder what he is thinking.
Last Monday, Wilson told NHL.com why he could not wait for the draft—so much that the piece was repeated on the team website Saturday. Yet here is a step-by-step examination of why it appears Wilson has squandered all of that extra talent:
Wilson started the morning by trading the 50th pick in the 2013 NHL draft to the Pittsburgh Penguins in return for restricted free agent (RFA) forward Tyler Kennedy.
Perhaps he felt sorry for the highway robbery of getting two second-round picks for Douglas Murray. Kennedy is not even guaranteed to be under contract next season, and he had played himself off the active roster for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who bowed out early in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
However, RFAs do not have much leverage unless they are stars. Kennedy is not that and can thus probably be re-signed. He also plays with the skill and speed the Sharks need. He has plenty of experience but is still young enough to be part of their future.
Thus, this move looks like it brings them the extra scoring line forward they need. That would be worth a late second-round pick.
Unfortunately, it likely signals the team cannot re-sign T.J. Galiardi, a better defensive forward who would probably be more affordable. That leaves them one forward short, even if they could count on Martin Havlat.
This is only a good move is if they shed that contract. That would allow them to re-sign Galiardi and leave more than $2 million to replace Havlat.
The San Jose Sharks then gave the Detroit Red Wings a gift they used to select Anthony Mantha of Val-d'Or Foreurs of the Quebec Junior Hockey League.
To move up a mere two places in the 2013 NHL draft, the Sharks surrendered the 58th pick. There is no need to state how little difference in success the 18th and 20th picks have. But if we are to take Wilson at his word, the sacrifice in this draft is higher than most.
Perhaps Doug Wilson feels sorry for the way his team beat up on the Wings anytime they meet. Perhaps he just got anxious. Either way, he gave up too much for too little.
The 2006 NHL draft was long enough ago to see who is going to be a successful player long term, filtering out the likes of Steve Mason as flashes in the pan. It has four significant players taken between that pick the Sharks gave up and No. 75: Jamie McBain, Brad Marchand, Cal Clutterbuck and Theo Peckham.
By that ratio, there is a 22 percent chance he gave up a difference-maker to move up two spots. The second-best player in the 2006 draft was Claude Giroux, selected two spots later than San Jose would have. (Jonathan Toews was selected third overall that year.)
What is more puzzling is why Doug Wilson would draft a player that patrolled the back end for the Everett Silvertips. The San Jose Sharks are deep on the blue line at the NHL level and adequate in their prospect pool.
Mirco Mueller is probably a steal for most teams at No. 18. He has skill enough to be compared by the draft telecast to Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators. He can move his skates and the puck and bears a striking physical resemblance to Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
That is why the European's stock had risen from the 12th-rated prospect to the ninth leading up to the draft. But he is thin at 176 pounds, meaning he is likely more than two seasons away from helping the team and plays the position they have the most chance of getting help for elsewhere.
The selection the Detroit Red Wings made two places later (a 6'4" winger weighing more than 200 pounds) would have made more sense for a team lacking forward depth at the NHL and prospect level. If you are going to move up, it should be to get someone who will have impact before you give up on your core.