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Armchair GM: The San Jose Sharks


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Well folks, a few tidbits are out and "No option should be off the table" according to Doug Wilson. Meaning everyone may be available for trade for the right price. Talks about going 1 step back to go two steps forward.

 

I have this impending sense of uh oh that one or both of Thornton/Marleau may be on the way out. I am just trying to figure out how since both have full No movement clauses on their current contract and it rolls right into their new ones. But Wilson is hard to figure out since he is so vague and gives mixed signals. On one hand, he claims he is not sorry to have resigned them to those contracts. On another, he is talking about big moves, and building a harder younger team that will stay with it and hoping the younger guys learn from this loss and say "Never again". WIlson says he is not too handcuffed with the contracts and indicated they may have had some stipulations/Flexibilities/Windows we do not know about(I.E Void if lose first round, etc). Talking about giving the younger guys the opportunities because they will not have the same amount of baggage of "Not getting it done"

 

On the other hand, Pavelski and Couture have limited no trade clauses that have not kicked in yet. But he makes it sound like he wants to give the younger guys the team.

 

The evidence is staring me in the face, but I am just in denial. I strongly believe having watched all 7 games that the culprit here was defensive depth and shoddy goaltending. Marleau and Thornton played through some rough injuries and to lay ALL the blame on them is just ridiculous. Wilson occasionally makes bright moves as a GM, and gets guys signed on to good contracts at lower than Market value, but then he leaves gaping holes in other areas and makes puzzling signings like Burish and Kennedy. Yes Stuart and Hannan were former sharks, but it was clear their best days were behind them and they were merely a band aid.

 

Wilson came out the gates with 3 things I had suggested and wanted to hear.

#1 Burns is moving back to defense.

#2 Dan Boyle is being let go

#3 Havlat will not be back next year.

 

Wilson also said he wanted to keep the coach..........Which i can see to a degree, but I would be soooo yelling at him for continuing to ice the same failing powerplay that went 0-16 and continuing to not use home ice advantage to get the matchups we wanted. Why the hell was Thornton/Burns being iced against Kopitar/Williams on home ice? Why not Marleau/Couture's line?

 

#1 was a no brainer. Burns only looked effective that one time he played point on the powerplay on his off side. Otherwise he looked like a raging wookie. NEVER follows the coaching system and nobody knows what he is doing up front. It had its charm, but he is only effective when on Thornton's wing and only because Joe can make quick decisions to pass and does not need to read him to react.

 

#2 Thank goodness. Love you Dan, but your days will end as a powerplay specialist on another team with sheltered offensive zone icetime. Defensively since returning from the concussion, your reaction time and ability to be fooled and look lost defensively and unable to keep up started to rival Bryan Berard. P.S your hesitation in shooting until the lanes closed on the PP after JT sent you beautiful saucer passes tells me you have lost your edge.

 

#3 Well duh. Bye Havlat. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. You might get injured again. Thanks for freeing up 5 million by being so bad we buy you out.

 

That said, we replace Dan Boyle effectively by merely moving Burns back to his original position(Our forward depth can easily handle it). On the other hand, Vlasic's injury woefully exposed our weakness on left defense. Stuart has been playing on his off side and, well, 90% of defensemen agree it is easier to move from defense to forward than it is to shift sides. All your instincts are wrong. Irwin is servicable as a 7th D, but not much more. Hannan I hope does not get offered a new contract. Demers actually has a decent excuse as to why he looked like crap in the playoffs. He was getting shots because he had a broken foot.

 

Alright folks, on to the meat and potatoes. In my personal opinion, this situation requires a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. I know the usual bunch will jump on the "GET RID OF THORNTON/MARLEAU" train, and this time, it may be justified(But they have NMC's.....), so I will listen to all proposals to get better.

 

Losing Boyle and Havlat opens up around $10.6 million in cap space. Is they are smart and buy out Kennedy, that's another 2.35m. If they are really smart and trade Burish for a bag of pucks, it opens 1.8m. And good god, either move Stuart back to his right side, or trade him because he is CRAP on the left side for 3.5m.

 

P.S Niemi should be gone. You might actually get a decent pick for him from a team in need of a goaltender at his price. Stalock IMO, could be our starter and we can get a cheap #2 to platoon him.

 

RFA's and UFA's we have that we want to keep.

Stalock, Sheppard, Wingels, Demers. It is likely Demers and Wingels are getting nice raises. Likely into the 3 million range given their point output. Sheppard on the other hand, might get laughed out of the office if he asks for more than 1.5 million. Wilson already said he reached out to Stalock and talks have been positive and told him he can earn the #1 job in camp this year. I suspect Stalock will get around $1.5-2mil

 

For the record, Wilson has mentioned Vlasic, Nieto and Hertl are untouchable and said Mueller was too.

 

Things the sharks need. Ummm. Maybe 2 wingers Definitely a Left side defenseman. Maybe even two. I do not think Mirco Mueller will be ready for a year or two, and unless he has an amazing camp and jumps in like Vlasic did at 19.....

 

After working it out on Capgeek, With raises to 3 million for Wingels, Demers. Stalock getting a contract + another UFC goalie to platoon him(Both Goalies together only cost $3.7 million). Sheppard resigned at 1.5 million. Buying out Havlat/Kennedy, unable to trade Stuart, trading Burish for nothing.

http://www.capgeek.com/armchair-gm/roster/15600

 

The Sharks have 14 million in capspace with the current cap. More if it goes up. 14 million is a LOT of money. They could in theory put money into free agency. or take on bigger contracts in trade if the price is right.

 

14 million is two different 7 million dollar contracts. Or almost three 5 million dollar contracts.

 

Suggestions everyone?

Edited by J0e Th0rnton
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Great read Joe.  

 

First question - Why keep Burns as a forward all season if it was so obvious he should return to playing defense next season?  I'm having a hard time rationalizing that if he wasn't good enough to be a a top 6 d-man on the team last season then why are the Sharks better next season with Burns playing defense?

 

Two - Stalock is a Free Agent. I'm shocked that the Sharks couldn't sign him to a contract during this past season which sends the big red flag that he is looking for better options.  I would guess that if he isn't signed sometime soon he will be looking for a starter role elsewhere.  If Stalock leaves the Sharks then you guys pretty much have to keep Niemi for another year.  

 

It all becomes rather interesting if the rumors that Miller wants to play in California are true because then it looks as if a significant portion of that cap space will be used to sign Miller.  

Which leads me to my next question -  Would you  rather have Miller in net over Niemi?  

 

Three - With Thornton and Marleau both now 34 and signed for the next 3 seasons I think the Sharks should take their best offer to trade one of them for your depth in the organization is at center and what the team needs is speed at the wing.  So if I were GM I'd trade Thornton for the best offer possible.  And yes sell Kennedy for a bag of pucks.

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Great read Joe.  

 

First question - Why keep Burns as a forward all season if it was so obvious he should return to playing defense next season?  I'm having a hard time rationalizing that if he wasn't good enough to be a a top 6 d-man on the team last season then why are the Sharks better next season with Burns playing defense?

 

Two - Stalock is a Free Agent. I'm shocked that the Sharks couldn't sign him to a contract during this past season which sends the big red flag that he is looking for better options.  I would guess that if he isn't signed sometime soon he will be looking for a starter role elsewhere.  If Stalock leaves the Sharks then you guys pretty much have to keep Niemi for another year.  

 

It all becomes rather interesting if the rumors that Miller wants to play in California are true because then it looks as if a significant portion of that cap space will be used to sign Miller.  

Which leads me to my next question -  Would you  rather have Miller in net over Niemi?  

 

Three - With Thornton and Marleau both now 34 and signed for the next 3 seasons I think the Sharks should take their best offer to trade one of them for your depth in the organization is at center and what the team needs is speed at the wing.  So if I were GM I'd trade Thornton for the best offer possible.  And yes sell Kennedy for a bag of pucks.

Burns had an injury which made skating backwards a big pain. Thus they decided to give him some time as a forward. Less skating backwards, etc. It was working so well and unpredictably that they decided to keep him there. He has a great point shot, first pass and skates the puck like a dream. He does make some boneheaded defensive mistakes, but no more than Dan Boyle did 3 years ago(Dan Boyle now is horrible)

 

Stalock is in talks currently and it seems favorable according to DW.

 

Miller would just be a more expensive version of Niemi. Unless he signs for way less than the reported 7 million he wants, hell no.

 

I still disagree with Trading Jumbo Joe. But even if I did not, both of them have full No movement clauses

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Outside looking in I believe the forwards are fine, more than fine, incredible in fact. Stanley cup quality easily. Niemi is fine, Stalock is the perfect backup.

The defense is ordinary, boring and needs a complete revamp. I agree (health permitting) with moving Burns back there, they have the forwards to make up for it and Burns essentially is an upgrade over 2013-14 Dan Boyle as long as he can handle it.

We disagree on Vlasic, he is a fine five on five player, maybe he can pair with Burns to make up for Burns obvious shortcomings, but he provides minimal offense and is fairly one dimensional.

Demers and Braun have talent. The bottom pair, Hannan and Stuart are done, stick a fork in them and move on.

So essentially the trick is to keep the forwards together sans Burns and replace half of your defense with burns, plus _____ and ________.

Who are the two bodies and how do you add them without breaking up your forwards?

Markov from Montreal would be very nice here.

So would Marek Zidlicky

Matt Niskanen's combo of age and talent would make him ideal.

One of these three, in order IMHO Niskanen, Markov, and in a pinch Zidlicky has to be signed.

From there one of the many choices as a stay at home d-man that are out there needs signed. Ron Hainsey maybe, boring but very dependable. the type every team needs.

And whatever you do avoid the temptation to bring Stuart or Hannan back, or to give Douglas Murray (UFA- Montreal) another chance.

So Burns for Boyle, Niskanen for Stuart and a solid non flashy but dependable body for Hannan. Keep the forwards and simply retool the back end. THAT should be enough to get this team to the finals.

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@yave1964

 

I agree Yave. Scalpel, not sledgehammer time.

 

However, the strong words of Wilson indicate he was only able to convince the owners to keep him and the coaching staff by indicating a change in culture and of the guard. Taking 1 step back to go two steps forward, etc

 

I strongly suspect one of Marleau or Thornton, or maybe even both will not be with us this season. I don't agree with it, but it seems likely as heck.

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@hf101

@yave1964

 

CAPGEEK.COM ARMCHAIR GM ROSTER
San Jose Sharks 14/15 Minor tweaks all needed. Stalock Starter, Niemi traded, defense upgraded.
FORWARDS
Mike Cammalleri ($4.000m) / Joe Thornton ($6.750m) / Joe Pavelski ($6.000m)
Patrick Marleau ($6.667m) / Logan Couture ($6.000m) / Matt Nieto ($0.759m)
Tomas Hertl ($0.925m) / James Sheppard ($1.500m) / Tommy Wingels ($3.000m)
Raffi Torres ($2.000m) / Andrew Desjardins ($0.750m) / Pierre-Marc Bouchard ($2.000m)
DEFENSEMEN
Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($4.250m) / Brent Burns ($5.760m)
Matt Niskanen ($5.300m) / Justin Braun ($1.250m)
Nikita Nikitin ($2.150m) / Jason Demers ($3.500m)
Matt Irwin ($1.000m) /
GOALTENDERS
Alex Stalock ($1.625m)
Jonas Gustavsson ($1.500m)
BUYOUTS
Martin Havlat ($0.000m)
Tyler Kennedy ($0.000m)
RETAINED SALARIES (1.01% of upper limit)
Brad Stuart ($0.720m—20.00%)
------
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(estimations for 2014-15)
SALARY CAP: $71,100,000; CAP PAYROLL: $67,405,833; BONUSES: $590,833
CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $3,694,167

 

How's this fellas?

I realized after publishing that I had a lot more capspace than I thought. What is the cap increasing to this year anyways? I heard it was going up

 

Stalock starting. Gustav brought in to platoon. Extensions to Demers and Wingels(Think it is fair Market value or no?), For defense, Niskanen signed. Nikitin signed. Have the capspace, but did not want to get too ambitious and sign both Markov and Niskanen. unrealistic

 

Pierre-Marc Bouchard signed for RW on the lower lines. Cammalleri signed for top line? I kinda just chose them based on need to fill winger spots and tons of capspace. Can you think of better fits?

 

3.7 million leftover in space just in case.

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@J0e Th0rnton

I think Nikitin will get more than that on the open market. Plus, he is a bit of a head case, he has not learned even the most basic English, saying he is going back to Russia when his career is over. With no Ruskies on your roster I cannot see him signing there.

Stalock to me is a fine backup, Gustafsson is as well but neither is the guy I would hand the keys to the Mercedes to. Niemi, if he is bought out or let go will likely be replaced by Miller.

I like Cammalleri, in the right setting and San Jose very well might be the right setting. I think his cap hit might be a bit more but he is still easily affordable if you want to go that route.

So Cammelleri, Niskanen, and a veteran stay at home blueliner all seem very possible. I don't see Niemi going anywhere tho.

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@yave1964

 

You are probably right. Doug Wilson made it pretty clear Stalock is going to have his chance to steal the starters spot. Not sure what that means for Niemi.

 

On the right side, our defense is set. more than set in fact. Burns, Braun and Demers, is great to look at. SJ rolls defensive lines pretty evenly for icetime, but gave Boyle the majority of PP time, even though Demers had better PP converstion the past year. I am not crazy about Demers on the PP as he tries the "fake shot/Pass" way too much and it is obvious even to me(Definitely no Ray Bourque), but I suspect him and Burns will be fighting for PP time on the right side, as they tend to ice Pavelski on the left point(but hopefully, our PP gets a full revamp) On the left side, I wish they would give Vlasic more PP time. He can both pass and skate the puck in and can easily handle up to 23 minutes of icetime a game as he has in the past(They rolled so evenly this season that they only gave him 20)

 

I am all for Braun getting a ton of ES time and PK time, but Why they continually ice him with Stuart on then left playing the same amount of time is beyond me. Stuart has to go. Irwin is still a project #7

 

Niskanen and Markov would be dream signings for our left side Defense, but Wilson tends to avoid UFAs.......A lot of people think they should try to trade to get Ehrhoff back.....

 

If Braun gets locked up early, which I hope happens, it might create the need for a bit of buffer cap space.

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Hertl is looking damn good playing alongside Jagr right now lol. And he is just a fun loving kid. Huge Smile on his face here

 

20140523_hertl.gif

 

So he likes playing with Jagr? He can go east and play with him and the ever growing collection of Czechs on the Devils. :P

 

On a more serious note, would you be interested at all in a deal around Nieto for Gelinas? The Devils have several really good young defensemen, but are sorely lacking in young forwards. Gelinas is still pretty raw defensively, but if anybody can teach him how to play defense it's Larry Robinson (I really miss that man). He's got really good mobility for a guy his size and has a cannon of a shot. The Devils PP was ridiculously better with him in the lineup this year. And Nieto I think would fit in really well with the Devils. I'll admit I don't really know what Nieto's value is to the Sharks, as I don't really follow them all that closely. Just throwing it out there.

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So he likes playing with Jagr? He can go east and play with him and the ever growing collection of Czechs on the Devils. :P

 

On a more serious note, would you be interested at all in a deal around Nieto for Gelinas? The Devils have several really good young defensemen, but are sorely lacking in young forwards. Gelinas is still pretty raw defensively, but if anybody can teach him how to play defense it's Larry Robinson (I really miss that man). He's got really good mobility for a guy his size and has a cannon of a shot. The Devils PP was ridiculously better with him in the lineup this year. And Nieto I think would fit in really well with the Devils. I'll admit I don't really know what Nieto's value is to the Sharks, as I don't really follow them all that closely. Just throwing it out there.

The kids on entry level contracts are untouchable, as are most of the younger core like Couture. or so Wilson tells us.

 

Nieto's speed is second only to, or equal to Marleau's. Speed is what they want up front and he really hit a groove towards the end of the season and in the playoffs, so I suspect Wilson is telling the truth when he says untouchable.

 

Too many guys Wilson traded for crap and then they turned out very good elsewhere. At this point, I suspect our picks and homegrown youth are the last thing he would trade by the sounds of it.

 

In fact, I have this feeling he is going to pick up NOBODY to shore up our defense and try to force the kids to develop faster by giving them big minutes. He made it sound like Mueller is a lock to make the team and he is 19....ugh.

 

Tierney might make the team right away too.

 

Marleau/Thornton/Pavelski/Burns might be up for grabs if he has windows on their contracts. I hope not. I think Wilson needs a few pieces and it looks good. But using the word "Rebuild" all the time has me worried.

 

Guys we almost certainly want gone are Kennedy, Stuart, Niemi

Edited by J0e Th0rnton
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