Three Candidates for the San Jose Sharks’ 14th overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft

A photo of Calgary Hitmen defenseman Carter Yakemchuk. Yakemchuk is a prospect in upcoming NHL Draft in Las Vegas.
Photo Credit: Jenn Pierce, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

Fans of the San Jose Sharks can finally anticipate a brighter future. Following a disheartening season where San Jose finished at the bottom of the league (19-54-9), the Sharks won the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, allowing the team to draft projected first-overall pick Macklin Celebrini during next month’s NHL Draft in Las Vegas.

Though Celebrini is garnering the majority of attention, the Sharks will also have the opportunity to select another top prospect with the 14th pick in the draft, acquired from last summer’s Erik Karlsson trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the draft quickly approaching, here are three candidates that the Sharks might consider.

Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary Hitman (WHL)

Yakemchuk, a 6-foot-3, 201-pound right-shot defenseman, is one of the most exciting prospects in the NHL Draft. With the Hitman this past season, he put up 30 goals — which led all WHL defensemen — and 41 assists for 71 points. Yakemchuk also improved his defensive game dramatically this past year by using his large frame and physicality to wrestle the puck from his opponents.

“Led by his instincts, plenty of confidence, and legit skill for a D his size, he has generated a lot from the back end for a Hitmen team that has generated little. While his game in the WHL does come with some give and take, he’s got pro size, a pro shot (maybe an understatement given his gaudy goal totals) and an attack mentality that is complemented by good instincts on when to eagerly jump off the line or into the rush and when to hold it or outlet it,” said Scott Wheeler of The Athletic.

Additionally, Yakemchuk would add additional size to the Sharks’ defensive prospects. Imagining Yakemchuk paired with 6-foot-4, left-shot defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin would be a nightmare for any opponent.

Adam Jiříček, D, HC Plzeň (Czech Extraliga)

The younger brother of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ top prospect, David Jiříček, Adam Jiříček, is a two-way defenseman who plays a simple but polished game. Unfortunately, a pair of knee injuries ultimately ended Adam’s season early. In 19 games with HC Plzeň, the 6-foot-2 defenseman only had one assist.

While the numbers this season weren’t eye-popping, the reason that NHL scouts so highly tout Jiříček was due to his play at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament last summer, where he was one of Team Czechia’s best players alongside Los Angeles Kings 2023 second round draft pick Jakub Dvorak.

“He’s an excellent skater with great agility, which should serve him well as a transition defender at the NHL level. He reads the play well and makes good decisions on when to jump up in the rush,” said Rachel Doerrie for ESPN.

Jiricek’s ceiling is that of a top-four defender in the NHL. If the other top defensive prospects are off the board at 14, don’t be surprised if San Jose picks Jiříček.

Cole Eiserman, F, USNTDP Juniors (USHL)

Cole Eiserman might be the best pure goalscorer in the 2024 NHL Draft Class.

Despite his draft stock falling from the start of his season due to criticisms of his play from scouts —including a perceived lack of roundedness — Eiserman had a remarkable season with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. The 6-foot left-winger scored 58 goals and 31 assists for 89 points.

Additionally, Eiserman broke former USNTDP and current Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield’s record for the most goals in the U.S. National Development program with 127 goals.

Another reason the Sharks might take Eiserman? Eiserman and Celebrini are close friends and former teammates from Shattuck-St. Mary’s. What better gesture to welcome your new franchise player than drafting his friend?

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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