Sharks trade up in draft

Published: Monday, Jul. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C

The Sharks selected Mirco Mueller with the 18th pick in Sunday's NHL draft in Newark, N.J., trading up two spots to pick the smooth-skating defenseman.

The Sharks owned the No. 20 pick in the first round but traded that spot and the No. 58 pick in the second round to Detroit to move to No. 18 and grab Mueller, 18, who played for Switzerland at both the 2013 under-18 and under-20 World Junior Championships.

Thought of as an athletic and offensive-minded defenseman, the 6-foot-3, 176-pound Mueller had six goals and 25 assists in 63 games for the Everett (Wash.) Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Mueller was ranked ninth among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings before the draft. He is coached by former Sharks coach Kevin Constantine.

The Sharks likely will not need to have Mueller in a San Jose uniform this upcoming season. Although his skating ability may be close to NHL-ready, he wants to become a well-rounded defenseman and "get more physicality into my game," Mueller said. "Play hard and be tough to play against."

The Sharks had not selected a defenseman in the first round since they took Nick Petrecki in 2007.

The trade with Detroit was the second of the day for the Sharks, who traded another one of their three second-round picks to acquire sixth-year winger Tyler Kennedy from Pittsburgh.

The Colorado Avalanche made 17-year-old Nathan MacKinnon of Nova Scotia, Canada, the first pick.

The Avalanche won the draft lottery and Joe Sakic, the man in charge of Colorado's rebuilding project, had made it clear that MacKinnon, a 6-foot, 182-pound center, was going to be the top pick.

The Florida Panthers took center Aleksander Barkov, the top-ranked European skater, at No. 2, and Tampa Bay picked forward Jonathan Drouin, also out of Nova Scotia, with the third pick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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