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Sharks wheel & deal on draft day
Sharks send Toskala & Bell to Toronto
6/22/07 - By Mike Lee

Entering the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Sharks were expected to do little in the first round. When the smoke cleared on the opening round, the Sharks solved their goaltending platoon issue, rid themselves of an offensive headache and walked away with two 1st round draft selections. All is all, Sharks GM Doug Wilson and his scouting team had a pretty productive day.

The day's first salvo came when Wilson dealt goaltender Vesa Toskala and left Wing Mark Bell to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for what turned out to be the Leafs 1st round pick (13th overall), a 2nd round pick (44th overall) and a 4th round pick in the 2009 draft.

San Jose then shipped Toronto's 1st and 2nd round picks to St Louis in exchange for the 9th overall selection. The Sharks then used that pick to select centerman Logan Couture from the Ottawa 67's (OHL).

The 6-foot, 195 lb. Guelph, Ontario native recorded 78 points for the 67's in 2006-07, scoring 26 goals in 54 games. He was an OHL All-Star in 2007, where he won the shooting accuracy skills contest. Recorded 64 points (25G, 39 A) in 2006, earning him runner up for OHL Rookie of the Year.

Wilson continued his wheeling & dealing, by acquiring the 28th overall pick from the Washington Capitals in exchange for San Jose's 2nd round pick (41st overall) and the Sharks 2nd round pick in 2008. San Jose then used their 2nd 1st round pick to take defenseman Nicholas Petrecki from Omaha of the United States Hockey League.

The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau described Petrecki as, "A stay-at-home defenseman with excellent speed and lateral quickness… has a strong physical presence on the ice with the ability to make the big hit… is quick to the puck and makes hard and accurate passes… needs to improve the consistency of his decision-making and discipline."

The Schenectady, NY native was ranked 21st among North American skaters, 7th among defensemen by the CSB. He will attend Boston College in the fall.

While it will take some time for these acquisitions to pay dividends for San Jose, the Sharks find themselves free of their goaltending dilemma. Toskala was signed through the end of the 2007-08 season and was sure to command big money on the free-agent market. Rather than losing him for nothing, the Sharks parlayed his value into a top pick.

Toskala's 65-28-10 record with a 2.34 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 115 games played over the past 5 seasons will justify big dollars on the open market, and San Jose couldn't afford two top dollar net minders.

The bigger part of the deal may have been the elimination of Mark Bell's contract. The Sharks will reclaim the $4+ million they were scheduled to pay Bell over the next two seasons. The rugged forward started off his tenure in San Jose by slamming his car into another vehicle in San Jose last Summer after signing a three year contract with the Sharks. He was charged with drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

When the season started, he never seemed to get things into gear, and was benched for several games during the regular season. He appeared in 4 of San Jose's 11 playoff games, without recording a single point.

San Jose also fomally announced that they've re-signed defenseman Craig Rivet to a 4-year contract, which is expected to pay him $14 million over that period. The Sharks acquired Rivet from Montreal in a trade-deadline move last Spring.

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