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2011 NHL Draft Grades: Sharks' ESPN Grades With A Grain Of Salt

The 2011 NHL Draft is in the book, and the San Jose Sharks came out of it ... a much better team. Not for anything that they actually did when it came to making selections, but for how they traded one of them (along with Devin Setoguchi and Charlie Coyle). Their first-round pick went to the Minnesota Wild, along with the aforementioned players, and received Brent Burns in return. The move strengthened a weak defensive unit, a unit that has sorely needed somebody like Burns for quite some time now.

It's no surprise that this doesn't really come into play when the Sharks get their draft graded. ESPN put out some grades yesterday, and without factoring in Burns, but with factoring in the lack of a first round pick, they ended up with a C+. It's an understandable grade based on the players drafted, but they all have a lot of tools and a good base to work with, so it's not like it was a lost cause. They do mention Matt Nieto and how the pick could pan out considering his vaunted status at point, but he remains boom or bust, and there definitely will not be any kind of boom for a few seasons.

Either way, check out what they had to say about the Sharks and their draft, and if you had questions about other teams, here's a link first.What do you think about ESPN's ranking, was it fair to leave off Burns, and if not, is C- fair based on the haul in rounds 2-7?

San Jose Sharks: C-

Befitting a team that senses the championship window closing, the Sharks dedicated their draft resources to getting help for next season. A great defense prospect wouldn't be as valuable as Brent Burns, so don't read too much into this grade. Matt Nieto in the second round is an interesting pick. Like a lot of the younger kids who go from the USNTDP to college, he had his struggles as a freshman, but the smooth-skating winger raised his play by late season.

Sonier's Prime Picks: Like Nashville, with no first round pick, they found a player who at one time was considered a top prospect. After what many call an average freshman year, Nieto will bounce back and his skills and scoring touch will become more noticeable as he does have a solid work ethic to his game. Sean Kuraly from the USHL has big upside with size, skating and net-drive all a part of his game.