ANA | BOS | BUF | CAR | CBJ | CGY | CHI | COL | DAL | DET | EDM | FLA | LAK | MIN | MTL || NHL UFAs | NHL Draft

NJD | NSH | NYI | NYR | OTT | PHI | PHX | PIT | SJS | STL | TBL | TOR | VAN | WSH | WPG || Kelowna Connection | Shea Weber | Leadership

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dangerous Sharks still have More Moves to Make

(Note: latest updates below.)

With close to $4M in cap space after the Dany Heatley trade, Doug Wilson has several options to add to the roster. The top six looks solid. The returning player in the trade, Martin Havlat, brings speed as well as goals.

If he can bring his level of speed and offensive production to the the playoff run  (despite it being inferior to Heatley's regular season totals), he'll be a more meaningful contributor for the Sharks. And at his cap hit, much better value. Injuries notwithstanding, Heatley was a dud during the post season for the San Jose Sharks.

Now if Wilson wanted to make yet another big move in the trade market, up front, he may consider swapping one of his surplus top six centers, (either Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture) for another speedy winger with 30 goal capabilities. As for the blueline corp, it looks fairly deep but could possibly be improved with the acquisition of another top four, left shooting d-man. That would shift Douglas Murray to the bottom pair (making Vandermeer the spare), where Murray's somewhat slow feet wouldn't be as exposed. Below is a look at what the roster looks like as of today:

San Jose Sharks
Left WingCenterRight Wing
Patrick Marleau ($6.900) Joe Thornton ($7.000)Joe Pavelski ($4.000) 
Ryane Clowe ($3.625)Logan Couture ($1.241)Martin Havlat ($5.000)
Jamie McGinn ($0.680)Michal Handzus ($2.500)Torrey Mitchell ($1.366) 
John McCarthy ($0.575*)Andrew Desjardins ($0.540)Brandon Mashinter ($0.719) 
Frazer McLaren ($0.575)Tommy Wingels ($0.875) 
Left DefenseRight DefenseGoal
Douglas Murray ($2.500)Dan Boyle ($6.666) Antti Niemi ($3.800)
Marc-Ed. Vlasic ($3.100)Brent Burns ($3.550) Antero Niittymaki ($2.000) 
Jim Vandermeer ($1.000)Jason Demers ($1.250) 
Justin Braun ($0.875) 
Cap Payroll$60,339,168(Bonuses: $925,000)
Salary Cap$64,300,000
Cap Space$3,960,832(23-man roster)
Courtesy | * estimate

Another option is for San Jose to wield all of that cap space by reaching again into the free agent market to grab a bottom six forward or top six d-man. Up front, the key need is likely for a winger that can play a solid two-way game, and play on the third line. Ideally this player could play left wing with some speed, chip in with some points, and kill penalties.

At the top of that list is yet another player with roots in the Minnesota Wild organization. I'm thinking of UFA LW Antti Miettinen.

He pretty much fits the bill with regard to the criteria just mentioned. If he is not available however for whatever reason, others that would be worth consideration include, Jamie Langenbrunner RW, Chris Drury LW (RHS), Brendan Morrison C (LHS). Of this group, Langenbrunner is the most desirable since he can chip in at both ends of the ice (scoring points during even strength while also putting in big minutes on the penalty kill). Drury comes with a major injury risk concern while Morrison isn't ideally suited to a grinding third line style though he does play a lot on the PK.

As for the blueline, there is not much left on the market that would be considered top six material except for Tomas Kaberle. I have my doubts though, that Kaberle would actually choose to play on the west coast. After that, there are left handed blueliners Mike LundinShane O'Brien, and Scott Hannan.

Each of them are able to contribute on the penalty kill and eat 15 to 20 minutes a game in a pinch. On SJ, they would likely only need to play 12 to 15 TOI on average which would undoubtedly help them maintain the integrity of their play.

Whether Wilson decides to go with adding up front or on the back end, he has the cap space to consider many recognizable names that have some history of production at the NHL level. Any of the above names mentioned, would fit well within the remaining cap space framework.

The highest salary for any one of them would probably be in the $3M range (except for Kaberle). That would still leave SJ with a million in cap space to bank during the regular season -- allowing them to add even more impact players (in the form of rentals) at the trade deadline (including possibly Shane Doan, pictured right). 

Even if Wilson does nothing else this season, this lineup should have no problems making the playoffs. With the cap space remaining to add even more though, San Jose is no doubt a top contender for the Stanley Cup this coming season.

Aug 1/11 Update:
@RealKyper Nick Kypreos#Sharks Burns new 5 year deal is confirmed at 28.8M

Brent Burns was going to be a UFA at the end of the coming season. The Sharks have ostensibly committed to building the d-corp with Burns as the corner stone as he is under contract now for the next six years. Dan Boyle has three more years left, while Murray, Vlasic and Demers each have two years remaining.

As for this season, the Sharks still have plenty of cap space to add to their group of forwards, particularly the third line despite today's other bit of Sharks news, the bonus overage:

@capgeek CapGeekPer David Pollak of the Mercury News, the #NHL #SJSharks have a ~$545,000 bonus overage counting against 2011-12 cap

Forwards Miettinen, Morrison, Lagenbrunner, and d-men Lundin, O'Brien, Kaberle all end up eventually signing elsewhere. Nevertheless, there are still a few names out there in the UFA market, including Joe's old pal Sergei Samsonov and former Shark Scott Hannan.

Aug 3/11 Update:
With San Jose signing recent UFA defenseman Colin White, the Sharks may be looking at getting in on the Blake Comeau sweepstakes. They can now peddle one of their existing top five defensemen to land the top nine winger from NYI. It's the same scenario I laid out for the Canucks if they sign Campoli and trade Ballard. SJS may be looking to deal blueliner Douglas MurrayMarc-Edourd Vlasic or Jason Demers to NYI.

Aug 7/11 Update:
Yesterday San Jose traded for former Minnesota first rounder, James Sheppard, whose NHL career has spiraled downward after his second year in the league. Of the 2006 top 10 picks, Sheppard has had the poorest development thus far (see table below).

1STLD Erik Johnson22523781011630.44937
2PITC Jordan Staal369951031981930.53744
3CHIC Jonathan Toews3021151522671680.88472
4WSHC Nicklas Bäckström323872363231601.00082
5BOSRW Phil Kessel3741281172451010.65554
6CBJC Derick Brassard20137731101260.54745
7NYIF Kyle Okposo19244721161120.60450
8PHXF Peter Mueller2224879127720.57247
9MINF James Sheppard2241138491080.21918
10FLAF Michael Frolik2415373126950.52343

Sheppard has yet to take the next step in his development. In fact, in his third year, he regressed hard. And last season was a complete write off after an off-season ATV accident that wrecked Sheppard's knee. In fact, its unknown if he'll be ready for the start of the season (see Sheppard's career stats below).

Doug Wilson is obviously banking on a change of scenery to spark Sheppard's development. The cost for acquiring this project was modest -- a 2013 third round draft pick. Sheppard also received a two-way contract at ~$700K.

Tom Olmscheid - AP
Some may say that's throwing away a decent pick and money down the drain on a bust. However, there is room for Sheppard on the third line as a left winger along side Michal Handzus, considering Jamie McGinn is currently slotted in that position (see projected lineup above).

Sheppard may never get to the offensive level of the other top ten picks from his draft. Nevertheless, he's shown enough to prove he can play in the league.

Firstly, he has good size at 6'2" 210 lbs, and he's not afraid to use it: he was among the hit leaders for MIN during his final season despite missing almost twenty games. And each season he has progressed in that department: going from .5 hits per game in his first NHL campaign, to .8 in his second year, and finally 1.4 Hits/GP in his most recent season (the same season McGinn averaged 1.5 -- though this past season the latter was well over 2 hits/GP).

Secondly, Sheppard is an adequate defensive player never having a season where he was a minus with regard to the give away to take away ratio. He can play both the PK and PP where as McGinn doesn't really play either. Thirdly, Sheppard's most recent shooting percentage, though lower than his first season, is still much higher than that of McGinn (whose S% projects better as a fourth liner).

If SJS can get top nine production out of the talented left handed shooting forward, this deal would be a big win. And if Doug Wilson believes in Sheppard enough, this move may have taken SJS out of the Blake Comeau Sweepstakes (who would cost Wilson one of his starting d-men).

No comments:

Post a Comment