Nashville – When asked about Matvei Michkov, San Jose Sharks General Manager Mike Grier paused, smiled, and said, “We are really happy with Will.”
Many Sharks fans clamored for the uber-talented Russian winger, whose selection would be the dominant conversation leading into draft night. The Sharks went a different route with USNDTP Will Smith. The Massachusets native is heading to Boston College this fall after breaking Jack Hughes’s scoring record for the USNDTP. In most drafts, Smith would be the first or second overall pick; the Sharks snagged him at number four.
With Smith, the Sharks are getting a dynamic playmaker who can create offense out of thin air. Smith’s elite passing, vision, and ability to create in the offensive zone are traits that the Sharks need more of as they start their rebuild.
After the Smith pick, Grier followed it up by taking Quentin Musty, the big winger from the Sudbury Wolves. Musty has shown flashes of being a potential top winger but struggled with mononucleosis and consistency issues last season. Musty adds some much-needed size to the prospect pool that has drafted skilled yet smaller forwards over the last few seasons. Many public scouts had Musty as a potential top-15 pick but fell because of those consistency issues.
Musty has shown elite skills and traits; his ability to create plays for his teammates with slot passes and cross-lane plays should work well for the Sharks, who have become more of a rush-based offense with David Quinn in charge.
Grier needed to take a swing on this type of player, someone who fell but has insane upside for a team lacking elite talent in the prospect pool. Musty has the profile of the “how did that guy fall” in a few seasons. A fully healthy offseason combined with a coaching staff that trusts him in Sudbury has the makings for Musty to have a monster season in the OHL.
With guys like Smith and Musty, Grier has infused the Sharks’ prospect pool with much need high-end talent; the job isn’t done yet for Grier, as this will be a long and slow rebuild. But the foundation is sturdy and better days are coming for Sharks fans.