| Sharks move up to land Czech
San Jose takes Lukas Kaspar with 22nd
6/27/04 - By Mike Lee
in the 28th position in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft didn't sit well with Sharks
brass on Saturday, so they worked a three for two deal with the Dallas Stars,
moving up to the 22nd spot in order to land forward Lukas Kaspar. San Jose sent
the 28th, 52nd and 91st pick to their division rivals in exchange for the Stars
first round draft spot and the 153rd overall pick. The Sharks felt they had to
move up to land Kaspar, a native of the Czech Republic. San Jose also drafted
goaltender Thomas Greiss with the 94th overall pick after exchanging a set of
picks with the Boston Bruins.
Kaspar is a 6'2", 202 pound right wing
that has spent parts of the past two season with Litvinov of the Czech
Extraleague. The native of Most, slipped in the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau
rankings from 8th to 14th among other European forwards after struggling this
past season. He put up decent numbers for the Litvinov under 18 team the past
four seasons, but his struggles in 2003-04 cost him on draft day.
"What we've done in the past is identify what we wanted and gone after it,"
said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. "We were
very aggressive in trying to position ourselves to acquire him and were willing
to move up much higher to get him. Another team was trying to move up to get
him as well. We were very pleased."
Scouting reports praise his soft
hands and hockey sense, but questions on his consistency and commitment to
defense were big enough flags to have him move down in the draft.
think he showed he can play the physical game," said Tim Burke, the Sharks
Director of Amateur Scouting. "The way his team trains, the winger tends to be
high, but we feel we can work on that with him to bring him back defensively."
Kaspar hopes to join Litvinov natives Robert Reichel, Robert Lang and
Martin Rucinsky in the NHL.
"I feel I am strong offensively and that I
have good hockey sense," said Kaspar through a translator. "I can make passes
and finish. I'm always working to improve my defense."
The first thing Shark fans will notice about the
newest member of the organization are his long blonde locks. The scruffy
forward slipped on a Sharks jersey after it was announced that San Jose had
selected him, and the first thing that popped out of the jersey was shoulder
length hair, ala Mike Ricci.
By dealing picks to land Kaspar, the
Sharks were left without a second round selection and were forced to wait until
the end fo the 3rd round before grabbing Greiss. San Jose feels they're getting
a solid prospect in Greiss, an 18 year old netminder who has spent last season
with the Cologne Sharks of the German Elite League.
"We didn't want to
wait until tomorrow," said Burke. "We feel the kid has the potential to be a
number one goalie. We thought he might not be there at 126 tomorrow."
Burke alluded to the fact that like all other Sharks netminders, he wants to
get Greiss exposed to Wayne Thomas and Warren Strelow soon, but he also hinted
that Greiss may be asked to stay in Germany to continue his development.
"He is in a top league and if he is playing a lot, we might keep him
there," said Burke.
San Jose will continue its quest to build its pool
of prospects with seven picks on Sunday in rounds four through nine.
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