Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25: Number 10 Ozzy Wiesblatt Goes Under The Radar
Ozzy Wiesblatt had a memorable introduction to the San Jose Sharks organization when he was selected with the 31st pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. At the time of announcing the pick, Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr., announced the Sharks’ pick in American Sign Language, a nod to Wiesblatt’s parents, who are both deaf.
The gesture was sweet, but Wiesblatt was barely on fans’ radar. He may not have the hype that prospects such as William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau have, but all signs point to Wiesblatt being a solid contributor at the NHL level and a key cog in the Sharks’ future.
A second-round pick of the Prince Albert Raiders in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, Wiesblatt made his Raiders debut that season after playing primarily with the U18 AAA Calgary Buffaloes, where he was a teammate with the St. Louis Blues Jake Neighbors. Wiesblatt became a permanent fixture in the Raiders’ roster the following season, scoring 15 goals and 24 assists. However, it wasn’t until the 2019-20 campaign that the striker really started turning heads.
“If you’re looking for momentum, this is the place to start,” Elite Prospects’ Mitchell Brown explained in his first game report on Wiesblatt. In that first game, Wiesblatt and the Raiders faced the Tri-City Americans at the start of the WHL season. Brown particularly noted Wiesblatt’s play against Tri-City: “Several times Wiesblatt managed to find a seam in the middle, often skating straight through two opposing sticks.”
Brown gave Wiesblatt even more praise against the Calgary Hitmen in February 2020, describing him as “a human cheat code in transition.” That season, Wiesblatt was second in Raiders scoring with 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists).
After being drafted by the Sharks, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the start of the WHL season, delaying play until March 2021. So, despite being just 18, he started the 2020-21 season with the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL. Wiesblatt played six games with the Barracuda, scoring two goals and an assist before being reassigned to Prince Albert when the WHL season was able to resume.
Wiesblatt had 28 points (7 goals, 21 assists) in the truncated 2020-21 season, returning to the Barracuda after the Raiders’ season ended. During the 2021-22 campaign with Prince Albert, Wiesblatt’s season ended in mid-March after 43 games due to a shoulder injury, but still scored 10 goals and 31 assists in that which will likely be his last season in the WHL.
What we like
Wiesblatt is dangerous in transition play. He combines his shrewd skating ability with excellent rush play and easily enters the offensive zone. Wiesblatt’s game, in particular, is impressive. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic ranked him 52nd in his list of the top 100 2020 NHL Draft prospects, noting that “Wiesblatt is strong for his size, playing contact to maintain control and keep the game alive when the defenders lean on him.”
Areas of improvement
Surprisingly, the scouts had very little negative to say about Wiesblatt. One of the issues for him right now is his offensive ability when he’s in the attacking zone. Wiesblatt can easily get into the attacking zone, but there’s something to be desired when he’s actually in the zone with a shot that isn’t exactly special. He needs to be more aggressive with the puck.
At 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds, Wiesblatt can also gain muscle if his spirited passing game is to succeed at the NHL level.
Here’s an example of Wiesblatt’s transition play and play at the pro level, crossing the neutral zone on the ice before delivering a great pass to Scott Reedy, who buries it past Oscar Dansk.