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yave1964

Shark bite- offseason primer

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FINAL RECORD 45-27-10 100 points, 3rd in division Swept Ducks in first round, lost in 6 games to the Knights in second round.

 

  Solid team, smart organization has done a better job than most of remaining relevant as the older stars have aged and fallen off, Marleau is gone, Jumbo Joe missed 35 games and is nothing like the player he once was but the team continues to chug along without slipping back as most teams (see Canucks, Wings, ect. all) do when the stars head towards the back nine.

  Brent Burns and Pavelski overcame sluggish starts to lead the team in scoring with 67 and 66 points, Couture led the team in goals scored with 34 an alarming 12 more than the next best total.Hertl had 22, Timo Meier began to tap his enormous potential with 21 and guys like Tierney, Boedker, Lebanc and Donskoi all contributed. In total 11 players had double digit goals scored and that is not counting Evander Kane who contributed 9 in only 17 games after joining the team. They do not rely on one guy or one line, they role 4 lines nightly that play well at both ends of the ice and give up few shots as the forwards help the defense as well as any team in the West.

  On defense Burns had a solid year if slightly off his norm it is still better than all but a few in the game. Vlasic and Braun continued to be minute munchers in all situations and Vlasic even found some offense with 11 goals. The rest of the defense is generic but Joakim Ryan and Demelo do have a bit of upside and Tim Heed can provide some secondary offense especially on the second unit power play. A vanilla but extremely competent group behind Burns.

  In net Martin Jones was solid but not as good as the year before but Aaron Dell picked up the slack, the two form a very good duo.Jones was huge against the Ducks in the first round.

  So every line, every defensive pair and the duo in net are a competent professional bunch. a well thought out organization.

 

FREE AGENTS 

Jumbo Joe is again an UFA and if he wishes to return he will need to take a hit in salary as the Sharks have only around 7 million in space to resign or fill out there roster.

  Other free agents are Eric Fehr, Joel Ward and Janick Hansen it is doubtful that any return. Evander Kane just resigned ahead of free agency on a long term deal at 7 million a year 

  The problem is the team has Hertl, Tierney and DeMelo as RFA all of whom will eat up a bunch of salary to resign them, so someone may be moved or bought out. Paul Martin may be buried in the minors to free up his 5 million in salary if they cannot find a taker for him. 

  And the REAL PROBLEM is next year, after the coming season both Little Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are UFAs and the odds are extremely high in todays cap age that one if not both will be playing their last season in San Jose this year. 

 

TOP PROSPECTS

The Sharks have done a solid job of drafting late and adding kids such as Meier, Tierney, Goodrow, Ryan, DeMelo, Donskoi and Lebanc in recent years to the mix has kept them afloat and set them up nicely for the future. It has left them a bit thin in terms of NHL ready talent however.

  Rudolfs Balcers is a forward who has middle six written all over him, he led the AHL Barracuda in scoring both regular season and postseason and has a nose for the net. Rourke Chartier got his first taste of AHL level and didn't embarrass himself and looks like he will be an NHL center, probably a third liner. That is about it really for forwards, some people like Marcus Sorenson but I don't think much of him. On defense Julius Bergman is being fast tracked for the NHL but was really not very good in the AHL but a defender who I like is Jacob Middleton who is a stay at home guy with a snarl. He is not a puckmover and his game probably wont translate to the new breakout fast pace NHL so he probably wont make it out of the AHL much but the few times I watched the Barracuda play he was very noticeable for finishing his checks and initiating contact. He would have been an NHL prospect in the game ten years ago.

  So a few player but not much in the immediacy.

  

  OFFSEASON QUESTIONS

DOES THORNTON RETURN? I would have to say yes, if he wants to. The loss of Marleau last season in a bit of an ugly divorce and he having a good year with the Leafs and looking like he rediscovered a love for the game hurt a bit but was necessary as the Sharks had a bunch of young wingers needing ice time. Thornton if he is willing to accept a role as a 2C or even a 3C who is kept fresh with lower minutes and willing to take a pay cut he would be ideal. I cannot imagine him finishing his career elsewhere.

 

NEXT OFFSEASON, WHAT TO DO WITH COUTURE AND PAVELSKI? IF YOU CAN ONLY RESIGN ONE, WHICH DO YOU KEEP? In a perfect world Couture and Pavelski play out their career where they started but the cap world forces teams and players to make tough decisions. I like them both quite a lot, both make 6 million this year, both will expect raises andlong term security. I personally if forced to make the tough choice would have to say goodbye to Couture and keep Pavelski as he plays center which is a difficult position to replace. The only thing that gives me pause is Pavelski is 33 and Couture is 28 which is a huge age difference. Glad I don't have to make the decision.

 

ARE THE SHARKS A CUP CONTENDER? 

Absolutely, no doubt about it. Kane brings a true goal scorer and a nasty fighting spirit to a team that has been known to be a bit soft. Meier is a favorite of mine, I see 30 plus goals and like Kane he doesn't back down from contact and indeed sometimes looks for it. The Sharks have literally rebuilt their top nine on the fly while staying a 100 point plus team and playing in a very winnable division there is no reason they cannot be in the thick of things for the coming season.

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So they go out and sign Kovalchuk to the team next year...or let their rival (Kings) go out and sign him???

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I think the Kane signing and the potential Cap issues rule out both Kovy and Tavares.    If they take care of what they have, they're pretty close with maybe some tweaks.  

 

If Kovy really was a binary choice between San Jose and Los Angeles and I'm the Sharks, I let the Kings take them.  In fact, if I really hate the Kings I suggest them to Kovy.  Some of that is obviously based on my dislike of the guy, but at 35 I'm not interested in the price tag.  The Sharks don't need him.

 

@yave1964  The choice between Pavelski and Couture is a tough one that I hope they don't have to make.  Pavelski actually turns 34 in July, if that changes the algebra any.   He'd be 35 before he'd play a game on his new contract (assuming the new contract starts before his 35th birthday, do the Sharks avoid the over-35 rule?   I'm not sure I remember how that works and I forget how the interpretation got screwed up with Pronger).  

 

I think given the ages, my priority is Couture.   If asked "who's the better player?" I think my answer is Pavelski.  I can't believe he's going to be 34.  I'm old!     But Couture will be 30 and still worthy of a $6-$7M contract (or $8M, but that's starting to push it for me).  I'd try to keep Pavelski but it would be a 1-2 year term and no more than his current figure.  If he can get someone to pay him more or longer, I think I let that team do it.   They seem willing to work with Thornton, though, so I have no idea what they actually do.

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13 hours ago, yave1964 said:

FINAL RECORD 45-27-10 100 points, 3rd in division Swept Ducks in first round, lost in 6 games to the Knights in second round.

 

  Solid team, smart organization has done a better job than most of remaining relevant as the older stars have aged and fallen off, Marleau is gone, Jumbo Joe missed 35 games and is nothing like the player he once was but the team continues to chug along without slipping back as most teams (see Canucks, Wings, ect. all) do when the stars head towards the back nine.

  Brent Burns and Pavelski overcame sluggish starts to lead the team in scoring with 67 and 66 points, Couture led the team in goals scored with 34 an alarming 12 more than the next best total.Hertl had 22, Timo Meier began to tap his enormous potential with 21 and guys like Tierney, Boedker, Lebanc and Donskoi all contributed. In total 11 players had double digit goals scored and that is not counting Evander Kane who contributed 9 in only 17 games after joining the team. They do not rely on one guy or one line, they role 4 lines nightly that play well at both ends of the ice and give up few shots as the forwards help the defense as well as any team in the West.

  On defense Burns had a solid year if slightly off his norm it is still better than all but a few in the game. Vlasic and Braun continued to be minute munchers in all situations and Vlasic even found some offense with 11 goals. The rest of the defense is generic but Joakim Ryan and Demelo do have a bit of upside and Tim Heed can provide some secondary offense especially on the second unit power play. A vanilla but extremely competent group behind Burns.

  In net Martin Jones was solid but not as good as the year before but Aaron Dell picked up the slack, the two form a very good duo.Jones was huge against the Ducks in the first round.

  So every line, every defensive pair and the duo in net are a competent professional bunch. a well thought out organization.

 

FREE AGENTS 

Jumbo Joe is again an UFA and if he wishes to return he will need to take a hit in salary as the Sharks have only around 7 million in space to resign or fill out there roster.

  Other free agents are Eric Fehr, Joel Ward and Janick Hansen it is doubtful that any return. Evander Kane just resigned ahead of free agency on a long term deal at 7 million a year 

  The problem is the team has Hertl, Tierney and DeMelo as RFA all of whom will eat up a bunch of salary to resign them, so someone may be moved or bought out. Paul Martin may be buried in the minors to free up his 5 million in salary if they cannot find a taker for him. 

  And the REAL PROBLEM is next year, after the coming season both Little Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are UFAs and the odds are extremely high in todays cap age that one if not both will be playing their last season in San Jose this year. 

 

TOP PROSPECTS

The Sharks have done a solid job of drafting late and adding kids such as Meier, Tierney, Goodrow, Ryan, DeMelo, Donskoi and Lebanc in recent years to the mix has kept them afloat and set them up nicely for the future. It has left them a bit thin in terms of NHL ready talent however.

  Rudolfs Balcers is a forward who has middle six written all over him, he led the AHL Barracuda in scoring both regular season and postseason and has a nose for the net. Rourke Chartier got his first taste of AHL level and didn't embarrass himself and looks like he will be an NHL center, probably a third liner. That is about it really for forwards, some people like Marcus Sorenson but I don't think much of him. On defense Julius Bergman is being fast tracked for the NHL but was really not very good in the AHL but a defender who I like is Jacob Middleton who is a stay at home guy with a snarl. He is not a puckmover and his game probably wont translate to the new breakout fast pace NHL so he probably wont make it out of the AHL much but the few times I watched the Barracuda play he was very noticeable for finishing his checks and initiating contact. He would have been an NHL prospect in the game ten years ago.

  So a few player but not much in the immediacy.

  

  OFFSEASON QUESTIONS

DOES THORNTON RETURN? I would have to say yes, if he wants to. The loss of Marleau last season in a bit of an ugly divorce and he having a good year with the Leafs and looking like he rediscovered a love for the game hurt a bit but was necessary as the Sharks had a bunch of young wingers needing ice time. Thornton if he is willing to accept a role as a 2C or even a 3C who is kept fresh with lower minutes and willing to take a pay cut he would be ideal. I cannot imagine him finishing his career elsewhere.

 

NEXT OFFSEASON, WHAT TO DO WITH COUTURE AND PAVELSKI? IF YOU CAN ONLY RESIGN ONE, WHICH DO YOU KEEP? In a perfect world Couture and Pavelski play out their career where they started but the cap world forces teams and players to make tough decisions. I like them both quite a lot, both make 6 million this year, both will expect raises andlong term security. I personally if forced to make the tough choice would have to say goodbye to Couture and keep Pavelski as he plays center which is a difficult position to replace. The only thing that gives me pause is Pavelski is 33 and Couture is 28 which is a huge age difference. Glad I don't have to make the decision.

 

ARE THE SHARKS A CUP CONTENDER? 

Absolutely, no doubt about it. Kane brings a true goal scorer and a nasty fighting spirit to a team that has been known to be a bit soft. Meier is a favorite of mine, I see 30 plus goals and like Kane he doesn't back down from contact and indeed sometimes looks for it. The Sharks have literally rebuilt their top nine on the fly while staying a 100 point plus team and playing in a very winnable division there is no reason they cannot be in the thick of things for the coming season.

I don't think the divorce was ugly, nor do I think he looked any different for the leafs. He scored near the exact same as the previous two seasons and left on good terms after thinking about it for awhile since Jumbo was willing to cut some of his pay to give it to patty.

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      I think the Kane signing and the potential Cap issues rule out both Kovy and Tavares.    If they take care of what they have, they're pretty close with maybe some tweaks.     If Kovy really was a binary choice between San Jose and Los Angeles and I'm the Sharks, I let the Kings take them.  In fact, if I really hate the Kings I suggest them to Kovy.  Some of that is obviously based on my dislike of the guy, but at 35 I'm not interested in the price tag.  The Sharks don't need him.   @yave1964  The choice between Pavelski and Couture is a tough one that I hope they don't have to make.  Pavelski actually turns 34 in July, if that changes the algebra any.   He'd be 35 before he'd play a game on his new contract (assuming the new contract starts before his 35th birthday, do the Sharks avoid the over-35 rule?   I'm not sure I remember how that works and I forget how the interpretation got screwed up with Pronger).     I think given the ages, my priority is Couture.   If asked "who's the better player?" I think my answer is Pavelski.  I can't believe he's going to be 34.  I'm old!     But Couture will be 30 and still worthy of a $6-$7M contract (or $8M, but that's starting to push it for me).  I'd try to keep Pavelski but it would be a 1-2 year term and no more than his current figure.  If he can get someone to pay him more or longer, I think I let that team do it.   They seem willing to work with Thornton, though, so I have no idea what they actually do.

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