Ozzy Wiesblatt had a memorable introduction to San Jose Sharks organization when he was selected under the 31st election in the 2020 NHL Draft. When it came time to announce the selection, Shark Scout Director Doug Wilson Jr. announced the selection of Sharks in American Sign Language, noting Visblatt’s parents, who are both deaf.
The gesture was nice, but Visblat was almost not on the radar of the fans. He may not have the hype caused by prospects such as William Eklund and Thomas Bardell, but all indications are that Wiesblatt is a major player in the NHL and a key cog in the future of Sharks.
Selected in the second round of Prince Albert Raiders in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, Wiesblat made his debut for the Raiders that season after mainly playing with the U18 AAA Calgary Buffaloes, where he was a teammate with St. Louis Blues Jake Neighbors Avenue. The following season, Wiesblat became a regular figure in the “Raiders”, scoring 15 goals and 24 assists. However, only in the campaign of 2019-2020 the forward really started to turn heads.
“If you’re looking for dynamics, this is the place to start,” said Mitchell Brown of Elite Prospects. his first report on the game on the Visblat. In this first game, Wiesblat and the Raiders faced the Americans “Tri-City” at the beginning of the WHL season. Brown particularly noted Wisblat’s game against Tri-City: “Several times Visblat managed to find a seam to the middle, often jumping through two opposition sticks.”
In February 2020, Brown further praised Visblatt against the Calgary Hitmen, describing it as a “human cheat code in transition”. That season, Wiesblat finished second in the Raiders, scoring 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists).
After the Sharks were drafted, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the start of the WHL season, postponing the game until March 2021. Thus, despite being only 18 years old, he started the 2020-21 season with “San Jose Barracuda” in the AHL. Wiesblatt played six games for Barracuda, scoring two goals and one assist before being reappointed by Prince Albert when the WHL season was able to resume.
Wiesblat scored 28 points (7 goals, 21 assists) in the 2020/21 short season, returning to the Barracuda after the Raiders season. In the 2021-22 campaign with Prince Albert, Wisblat’s season ended in mid-March after 43 games due to a shoulder injury, but he still scored 10 goals and 31 assists in what is likely to be his last season in the WHL.
What we like
Visblat is dangerous in the transition game. He combines his cunning abilities to skate with a great game in a hurry and easily falls into the attack zone. Visblat’s game is especially impressive. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic ranks 52nd in its 2020 Top 100 list NHL Draft prospects, noting that “Wysblat is strong in size, plays through contact to maintain control and save the game when defenders rely on it.”
Areas for improvement
Surprisingly, the Scouts had very little negative to say about Visblat. One of the challenges for him now is his offensive ability when he is in the offensive zone. Wiesblatt can easily get into the offensive zone, but there’s something to be desired if he’s really in the hit zone, which isn’t really that special. He needs to be more aggressive with the puck.
Weighing in at 5 feet 10 and 183 pounds Wiesblatt can also benefit from gaining muscle mass if his belt and bright play succeeds at the NHL level.
Here’s an example of Wiesblat’s game of transition and professional-level play, weaving through a neutral zone to the ice before giving a great pass to Scott Reedy, who hides it past the Oscars of Denmark.