Sharks trade Ozzy Wiesblatt for Egor Afanasyev from the Nashville Predators

SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks traded their 2020 first-round draft pick, Ozzy Wiesblatt, to the Nashville Predators on Sunday in exchange for forward Egor Afanasyev.

Afanasyev, 23, led the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals in scoring last 12 months with 54 points, including 27 goals, in 56 regular-season games and nine points in 15 playoff games. He has one goal in 19 profession NHL games, most recently playing in two games with the Predators in February.

A restricted free agent, the Russian-born Afanasyev stands 6'4″ and weighs 205 pounds. He was selected by the Predators in the second round of the 2019 draft and just completed his third season of North American professional hockey. He has 113 career points in 187 regular-season games in the AHL.

Wiesblatt, 22, spent most of the last two seasons with the Barracuda, scoring just 11 points in 34 AHL games. With him potentially slipping down the team's rankings and the Barracuda having no chance of making the playoffs, Wiesblatt was loaned to Milwaukee in March to gain postseason experience.

For Milwaukee, Wiesblatt scored six points in 16 regular-season games and nine points in 15 playoff games. He has one year left on his entry-level contract and has yet to play an NHL game.

“He plays a really high-energy, high-intensity game, but he hasn't gotten quite a lot of playing time,” one NHL scout said of Wiesblatt's time with the Barracuda. ​​”He's aggressive about it.”

Wiesblatt is the fourth player the Sharks have taken in the first round and traded away by general manager Mike Grier in the last 18 months.

Most notably, Timo Meier, drafted ninth overall in 2015, was traded to the New Jersey Devils in February 2023, and Tomas Hertl, drafted 17th overall in 2012, was sent to the Vegas Golden Knights in March of this year. Both transfers created salary cap space and brought draft picks and young players to San Jose.

Defenseman Ryan Merkley, who was selected 21st overall in 2018 and was unhappy with his role, was traded to the Colorado Avalanche along with Matt Nieto in January 2023.

Wiesblatt was selected 31st overall by the Sharks in 2020, and the way San Jose drafted the forward made headlines.

In making his selection, Doug Wilson Jr., the Sharks' former director of scouting, said Wiesblatt's name and used sign language for his first name. Wiesblatt's mother, Kim White, has been deaf since birth and has always used sign language to communicate with her children – four boys and a daughter.

“This means so much to me, especially to my mother and the deaf community generally,” Wiesblatt said on the evening of October 6, 2020. “It's just a really nice gesture and my mother will always remember it.”

The Sharks acquired the first-round pick they used for Wiesblatt from the Tampa Bay Lightning in February 2020. The other way went for forward Barclay Goodrow, who won two Stanley Cups with the Lightning before being traded to the New York Rangers in July 2021.

Goodrow then signed a six-year, $21.85 million contract with the Rangers. Three years before the contract expired, the Rangers placed him on waivers last Tuesday. The Sharks signed him the next day.

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