| Cap creating some
Wilson has several holes to fill
If money is the name of the game, San Jose
recouped $4.7 million on Friday by shipping Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich
to the Vancouver Canucks in a trade that netted the Sharks two prospects.
Its doubtful that the either of the players San Jose received will see
the light of an NHL arena in the near future, if at all, but the move provides
much needed cap space. With 17 regular players under contract, Doug Wilson
still has some work to do.
And you can forget about Dany Heatley,
whose $7.5 million cap hit would require the Sharks to purge another $2 million
just to put them in line with the leagues $56.8 million salary limit.
That of course also means theyd need to play games six shy of a full
roster, which isnt going to happen.
Wilson alluded to the fact
that hes not done dealing after the Vancouver deal by saying that the
deal was done to "create some flexibility in our team payroll for potential
future transactions as the season progresses."
One name that has
popped up over the weekend is Boston Bruins centerman Phil Kessel, who remains
an unsigned restricted free agent. Kessel had a breakout season, but the Sharks
would need to pony up something significant to land the number five overall
pick from the 2006 NHL entry draft.
Given that the season isnt
going to progress anywhere until Wilson figures out to get Torrey Mitchell and
five other players under contract. San Jose has prospect options available to
fill the void, but the likes of Tom Cavanagh and Ryan Vesce werent world
beaters last season.
Wilson has done a nice job in purging lots of
dead weight, but the additions have been limited to centerman Scott Nichol and
journeyman winger Jed Ortmeyer. That means that Wilson is likely to give
prospects more opportunity to play at the NHL level.
Couture is the one blue chip prospect in the Sharks system that could make the
jump and provide the same type of impact that Mitchell made in his rookie
season, but the Sharks will most likely commit at least one season in the AHL
before trying to bring the 20-year old centerman to the NHL. Couture was
promoted to Worcester last spring after concluding a 4-year stint with the
San Jose is already committing the backup goaltending
spot to Tomas Greiss after former backup Brian Boucher signed with Philadelphia
during the summer, so at least one Worcester Shark will be with the big club
come training camp.
Left wing Jamie McGinn split time between
Worcester and San Jose last season and is likely to be a regular with the big
club because of his $700k salary. Defensemen Derek Joslin and Mike Moore will
also have a shot at earning roster spots. The Sharks did re-sign Rob Blake and
Kent Huskins, but with the departure of Alexei Semenov, Ehrhoff and Lukowich,
the blueline has at least two spots to fill.
Wilson is burned by the
fact that he doesnt have much bargaining power left in the trade market,
unless he were to pull off a coup by dealing either of Jonathan Cheechoo or
Milan Michaleks hefty contracts. You have to give to get, but Wilson
doesnt have much to give, unless he wants to start breaking up his core.
In any case, the clock is ticking. Training camp starts in less than
two weeks and hes yet to fill out his roster.
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