NHL Draft

Grier explains why Sharks drafted Smith, Musty in first round

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Editor's Note: Sheng Peng will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports California’s Sharks coverage. You can read more of his coverage on San Jose Hockey Now, listen to him on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @Sheng_Peng.

NASHVILLE – There were almost as many Matvei Michkov questions as there were Will Smith ones in the San Jose Sharks’ post-first-round availability.

The Sharks picked USNTDP center Smith No. 4 and Sudbury Wolves winger Quentin Musty No. 26, but for GM Mike Grier, director of player personnel Scott Fitzgerald, and director of amateur scouting Chris Morehouse, those weren’t the only stories.

Before the Draft, Fitzgerald said the San Jose Sharks were looking, perhaps more than anything, for “competitive skill.”

It’s not about size, it’s not about grit – it’s about compete combined with skill.

“Regardless of size, we want all our players to have pushback, right?,” Fitzgerald said about the smaller Smith and the bigger Musty. “That’s the main component of what we’re trying to do here is that competitive skill, regardless of your size. It’s a prerequisite.”

To that end, in his pre-Draft availability, Grier went out of his way to praise the uber-skilled Smith’s “competitive fire.” For me, that was either a smokescreen or a telltale sign that the Sharks really wanted the 6-foot-0 Smith at No. 4.

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