Not content with any available players at No. 20, the San Jose Sharks traded down with the Chicago Blackhawks during the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday and wound up with the 27th overall pick.
They used that to select a dynamic, crafty Russian forward Nikolay Goldobin, who has lit the up the Ontario Hockey League the past two seasons.
Goldobin, 18, played on the wing for the Sarnia Sting, recording 38 goals and 56 assists last season for 94 points, good enough for second among draft-eligible players in the OHL.
In his first season with the Sting, Goldobin averaged a point per game and led all rookies in goals and assists.
Goldobin has been praised by scouts for his playmaking ability, high-energy level, and stick-handling skills. He models his game after Penguins’ star Evgeni Malkin, and that’s no surprise after a look at his highlights.
Goldobin — much like Malkin — is creative yet deceptive, and even at a young age seems to be the complete package offensively.
But like most NHL prospects, Goldobin still has some work to do before he can make the jump. Sharks scouting director Tim Burke said, via Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area:
“He’s got to get a little bit stronger. He’s got to play against men, and learn to play a little faster with men, like a lot of guys.”
Goldobin is six feet tall and weighs 185 pounds. He was ranked as the 37th best prospect in the draft by TSN, and could soon draw comparisons to Tomas Hertl, another European forward drafted by the Sharks, a first-round selection in 2012 who just wrapped up a superb yet injury-stricken rookie campaign in the NHL.
In the trade with the Blackhawks, the Sharks also acquired the 62nd pick and dealt away the 179th selection in addition to the swap of first round picks.
The second through seventh rounds of the draft take place on Saturday, and the Sharks will have six selections: two second-rounders, two third-rounders, one fifth-rounder, and one sixth-rounder.