| A Little Thin - but We
Bargaining? Depression? Acceptance? (well, it's
called a "deadline")
The San Jose Sharks' players, according to
"insider" Kevin Kurz, spent this Sunday doing some team building. Great idea, I
was hoping General Manager Doug Wilson might do something similar: grab a
flight down to Scottsdale for some golf with Jeremy Roenick. On the way to the
course drop off his phone and roster sheet with Oakland A's GM Billy Beane and
leave him charge of the team over the trade deadline.
All right, that
didn't happen. But the idea of the team being turned over, killed and then
rebuilt from scratch in a few weeks, as Billy Beane likes to do twice a year,
still has a certain appeal. Wilson instead shipped off James Sheppard, Tye
McGinn, Andrew Desjardins, and Tyler Kennedy from the current roster and
garnered Blackhawks center Ben Smith, a 4th round pick, and two 7th's.
Hearing all the noise about second and third line players going for first-round
picks makes this look like small returns. On the other hand, the people in the
stands who want to trade the whole Sharks' bottom end bench for a bag of pucks
and two rolls of stick tape should be happy. You can read these slim pickings a
First is that Wilson may have tried for more value but with
underperforming older players not being scarce, and none of these guys having
undiscovered potential, he took what he could get. This does sort of admit that
the Sharks' are following the Kubler-Ross model in their rebuild, but that's a
hard sell with season ticket deposits due in about ten days.
that Wilson may have been ordered to get draft picks for these guys no matter
how small the return in order to prepare for next season's full rebuild.
Reading some of Dean Lombardi's recent comments about the trades he was told to
make in his last few months with the Sharks gives this a little credibility. It
also suggests that Doug Wilson may have finally worn out the owner's patience.
A third scenario is that Wilson is simply gathering picks to stack
together, expecting to make some deals in the off-season, when roster players
are available to continue the "rebuild on the fly". It is expected that several
teams will finish this season with serious salary-cap problems. The Sharks
could take advantage of this, as they did in 2010 when they signed defenseman
Niklas Hjalmarsson off the Blackhawks' roster. This exploit resulted in the
Blackhawks matching the deal but forced them to give up goaltender Antii Niemi
who promptly signed with the Sharks.
Whichever, it all means more ice time for the young
forwards which is a good thing. With Sheppard and Desjardins gone, Tomas Hertl
gets a more extended audition at center. My personal take is that he looks more
involved in play when he's been at that position, as opposed to floating about
someplace when he's on a wing.
Although the Sharks' most obvious need
is defense, the only move there was acquiring AHL defenseman Karl Stollery in
exchange for AHL forward Freddie Hamilton. Minor surprise is that Scott Hannan
is are still on the roster. There was also large speculation about Antii Niemi
being traded, instead he remains a Shark.
This team still needs a
reboot with a real boot, not just a reshuffle of supporting players. All of you
who lamented about how the Sharks were so much more fun when they needed to
scrap and fight to make the playoffs must be rejoicing about the prospects for
the rest of this season. But looking at the Pacific Division, they're in little
danger of dropping below 5th place in the standings as Arizona and Edmonton
solidified their own weakness in the great race for draft pick supremacy. Billy
Beane may yet be called for some advice in July.
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