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Sharks narrow choice to three players

By
WILLIAM D. MURRAY UPI Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Quebec Nordiques certain to select Eric Lindros with the top pick, the first mystery in Saturday's NHL draft revolves around who the San Jose Sharks will take second.

The Sharks have three options, according to director of player personnel Chuck Grillo.

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'There are really three ways we can go,' Grillo said. 'All three players would be excellent picks and will have lengthy NHL career. We'll likely pick the one who has the best upside.'

Will it be defenseman Scott Niedermayer, Boston College's Scott Lachance or prolific right wing Pat Falloon?

If Grillo knew for sure, he refused to reveal his choice less than 24 hours before the draft.

Niedermayer, 17, ranked second among all scorers in the Western Hockey League last year with 82 points. He's considered a Paul Coffey- type rusher, but still has a few things to learn defensively.

'He has a tremendous amount of offensive ability,' said Sharks General Manager Jack Ferreira, who concentrated on aggressive defensive players in the expansion and dispersal drafts. 'He's got a few drawbacks defensively.'

Lachance intrigues the Sharks not only because of his playing abilities, but also for his public relations value. As one of the best young American-born players, Lachance has a good shot at making the 1992 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

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The 18-year-old defenseman starred last season at Boston University where he scored five goals and picked up 19 assists.

'He's a true thoroughbred as a defensive player,' Grillo said. 'We also feel it would be an excellent experience to have a kid play for his country before playing for us.'

Falloon, a 5-10, 192-pounder, scored 64 goals and had 74 assists in just 61 games as he led the Spokane Chiefs to the WHL Memorial Cup last season. And he also could be an Olympian except he would play for his native Canada.

'He's really the most creative passer in the entire draft,' Grillo said. 'The guy can produce points and create scoring opportunities for everyone around him.'

In Friday's supplemental draft -- a selection of players who have turned 21, completed their college eligibility, have never been drafted or have previously played professional hockey -- the Sharks selected All America forwardJeff McLean and Northern Michigan University center Mark Beaufait.

McLean scored 45 points in 42 games last season for North Dakota while Beaufait, who currently is participating in the U.S. Olympic team training camp, had 49 points for the Huskies.

'Jeff McLean is an extremely quick player with ability to control the puck,' said Bob Gernander, Sharks Western region scouting supervisor. 'He goes hard to the net and is overall a very versatile forward.'

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