The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is set to begin on Friday, and the Sharks hold the 28th overall pick in the first round. Now, to prefae this piece, the Sharks will probably take whatever they can get at 28. It very much is a BPA (best player available) drafting strategy. That's the one they should be going with, too ... the top-flight guys will all be gone, and the best a team can usually hope for when they're a perennial playoff staple like the Sharks are is a boom-or-bust kind of guy. That being said, all things being equal, where would they go?
Conventional wisdom says that the team would look to upgrade its defensive unit, currently led by Dan Boyle. It's the weakest aspect of their team, which doesn't mean it's bad by any stretch of the imagination (the Sharks are consistently one of the best teams in the league, after all) but a team looking to continue dominance needs depth and moving parts. So defense makes sense on just about every level, but given the potential lack of talent in that regard at 28, where would the Sharks then look?
Walter McLaughlin of The Hockey Writers insists that looking for depth at either wing position could be a good bet. He makes a good point when they note that, while the Sharks are as solid as any team at the position when it comes to the players who see the ice each game, their organizational depth leaves something to be desired. He also goes on to list the guys within the organization that the Sharks have up-and-coming, and it's not a very impressive list. It's a good read, so head over there.
It's a good point that he raises, the Sharks are as dominant as they are because of their wing play, they most definitely need to try and grow some more talent. Doug Wilson is active on the phones, and with a good amount of cap space to work with this offseason, the Sharks probably don't need to draft some wings this year, but it remains an intriguing option. The point might be moot though, considering the likely BPA strategy they'll employ. So really, toss a coin. A 28-sided coin.