Sharks vs Canadiens 160229

Leap Year.  Trade Deadline (noon PT).  And hockey at the Tank.

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Former Sharks on opponent: Torrey Mitchell

Sunday’s night game was a dead first period (teams testing each other?), Vancouver made some noise in the second, but the Sharks took over the third and emphatically shut the door on the Canucks’ hopes for a couple of points.

Montreal is making a California swing.  Mitchell might be feeling it’s like a bit of a homecoming. The Canadiens’ season headed the wrong way when G Price went down with an injury; he’s still out and unclear when/if he’ll return.

As of 6am, Reimer was still in Toronto waiting for immigration paperwork.

Jones announced as starter for Sharks.  Brown claimed by Montreal and expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Sharks @ Canucks 160228

Meeting for the first time this season, the Sharks and Canucks will battle THREE times in the next week!

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On Friday, the Sharks took the lead, but could only get one past the Sabres’ Johnson.  Meanwhile, Jones let two in (plus an empty netter).  Close game.  DeBoer was non-commital over the starting goalie in the next two games before Friday’s game.

The Canucks are looking for their first three-game winning streak this season, when they host the Sharks on Sunday evening.  Canucks won Thursday against the visiting Senators.

On Saturday, the Sharks traded backup Stalock (and Ben Smith, pick) to Toronto for James Reimer and prospect Jeremy Morin.  Morin is reporting to the Barracuda, but it’ll be a couple of days for Reimer’s work visa to be arranged for him to join the team, so Aaron Dell has been recalled from AHL Barracuda. DW says “never say never” that he’s done trading (prior to TDL), but he has addressed the three areas they needed help in the most.

The Canucks’ may be distracted by upcoming TDL:  Hamhuis is rumored to be on the move.

Guessing Jones will get the start vs Miller.

Barracuda @ Gulls 160227

And down to San Diego to face more birds.

Gulls won 5-1 over the Rampage Friday night.

Smith has been traded to Toronto; Dell has been recalled to NHL (to back up Jones with Reimer needing to get work visa in order).  So, expecting Grosenick to start.  (Morin should be reporting to the Barracuda; probably mid-week planned arrival Monday).

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Matthew White signed as (emergency) backup goalie.

Gulls took the lead and the Barracuda just seemed to be attempting to catch up.

Next up: home game on Tuesday.

Barracuda @ Condors 160226

Barracuda continue their road trip in Bakersfield.

Goodrow was recalled (for injured Wingels) on Sunday, but sent down before playing due to acquisition of Polak and Spaling via trade.  Torres was involved in that trade, but remains with Barracuda (now property of NHL Toronto); but his future with the Barracuda (on the ice) is unclear.  UPDATE: Torres shuts it down for season.

Goldobin is on a 17-game goaless drought, but he is on a 6-game point streak; meanwhile Trevor Parkes is an under appreciated player.  Nabokov is having a great time staying with hockey in his post-playing career by mentoring and coaching the Barracuda goalies; they have benefited from having a dedicated coach to work with this season.

Barracuda radio voice Eric Lindquist out for the weekend after losing his father.  Condolences to the Lindquist family

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Barracuda got behind, but tied it up and won in regulation 4-3.

Sharks vs Sabres 160226

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Former Sharks on opponent: Jamie McGinn, Josh Gorges; Seamus Kotyk, scout

Sharks are back home after their 3-1-1 five-game road trip.  They had the lead twice, and tied it up to force OT, but no shooter was able to get past Pickard in the shootout, and Jones couldn’t keep the ones he faced out. Polak and Spaling made their Sharks debuts; Dillon returned to the lineup.

This week, Scott Hannan officially announced his retirement.  Played for the Sharks last season.

Next up, the Sabres, on a one-game homestand.  They were shutout 0-1 by the Ducks Wednesday night.  The Sharks hope that their previous meet up against the Sabres this season is a precursor to breaking a home losing streak.

The Sabres backup goalie Johnson may be on the trade block and is expected to be the starter either Friday or Saturday.

With the  recent acquisitions and good health of the team, DeBoer has more options/depth to put a roster on the ice that is matched for each opponent.

More after morning skates.

Sharks @ Avalanche 160224

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Polak and Spaling are expected to have their work visas and join the team before Wednesday’s game. (Not clear if they’ll be in the lineup.)

Sharks took an early 3-0 lead and pushed back every time the Blues scored, with three players each scoring two goals, and Thornton added two assists to have four points (including an AMAZING no look back hander empty net goal). Tennyson was injured early in the first period with a suspected concussion, and had a nasty over-eye cut.  No update on his condition Tuesday.

The Avs are looking ahead to their next game on Saturday, outdoors at Coors Field. They lost in Vancouver on Sunday. On Tuesday, their alumni goalie (and head coach) Roy filled in for an ill Varlamov at practice; MacKinnon also missed Tuesday practice with illness.  Coach Roy knows he has to focus his team on Wednesday’s game.

So the question of who will start on both sides should be known after morning skate Wednesday.

Update: Jones starting. Polak and Spaling in the lineup.

Cap casualties or trade bait?

It’s that time of year.  Not when young men dream of love, nor the winter weary of the blooming spring.  But the approach of the trade deadline and the preparation for what a team will do in the off season with re-signing and fitting under the cap.

The Sharks have 15 players currently on the NHL roster signed for next season.  $34.45m for 9 forwards, $21.93m for 5 defensemen and $3m for one goalie.  (Not including recent recalls.)  Of the seven expiring contracts, 3 are UFAs (Brown, Zubrus, Stalock), four are RFAs (Hertl, Nieto, Demelo, Tennyson) — perhaps deserving a raise. Expiring ELS deals for Hertl and Nieto.  (In the rest of the organization, six RFAs and six UFAs with expiring NHL contracts.  And six expiring AHL contracts.)

With the buyout of Burish on the books for one more season, the Sharks have $60m (less $200) allocated against the cap for the 2016-17 season, with five+ more contracts to (re-)sign and/or prospects to promote for the NHL roster.  The NHL minimum contract for 16-17 is $575k.

The 15-16 cap is $74.1m.  There is some speculation that the 16-17 cap could be reduced by up to $4m due to reduction in Canadian dollar which decreases revenue (HRR is calculated in US dollars). Which gives the Sharks about $10m for those five contracts/promotions.

Now comes the hard part: which players with expiring contracts will be retained/re-signed, and which won’t.   Plus who gets the $$s.  And, are there players with remaining term on their respective contracts that no longer fit in the Sharks roster? (Any players “out there” that the Sharks might want to acquire?)

First things first. Potential trade bait at the trade deadline. Which expiring contracts probably won’t be re-signed/retained?  Any players with term (or RFAs) that would make sense to trade? My partial list:

  • D Matt Tennyson (RFA) – a good player, a sentimental choice as the first Jr Shark to make the NHL Shark roster, but he’s been in the press box for more than half the games this season. UPDATE: With the injury 2/22 (likely a concussion), it’s unlikely he’ll be traded.  (Although it would have been weird as the AHL Barracuda are having his Bobblehead night 3/5.)
  • F Mike Brown (UFA) – utility 4th liner, pinch fighter. Changing culture means his role is disappearing.
  • F Ben Smith (UFA) – demoted to AHL, he has found his scoring touch, again, but just does not seem to fit into DeBoer’s plans.
  • G Al Stalock (UFA) – seems to have a confidence issue; good enough for a little work, but team has not been able to rely on him to take some load off Jones.
  • F Raffi Torres (UFA) – demoted to AHL, has lost a lot of speed and strength from multiple surgeries/procedures and no durability (playing perhaps 1 game in 3). Update: Traded 2/22 as part of cap differential for Polak/Spaling acquisition. Torres waived his NTC, but remains with the AHL Barracuda.
  • F Ben Smith (AHL, UFA) – has rediscovered his offense in the AHL after clearing waivers and being demoted. Does not seem to fit in with DeBoer’s coaching; could use a new home.
  • F Frazer McLaren (AHL, UFA) – has been out (what seems like months) since a fight. Concussion is suspected but has not been confirmed.
  • G Aaron Dell (AHL, UFA VI) – has actually outplayed Grosenick this season. Have to wonder if the organization might retain him instead.
  • G Troy Grosenick (AHL; one more year) – has been decent; might end up being a throw in if the Sharks acquire a goalie (otherwise seems to be penciled in as the NHL backup for 16-17).

Zubrus has played well under DeBoer, so I think it unlikely he’ll be traded (and could even get an extension).  Marleau has another year under contract; but I don’t think the Sharks would be able to get fair value nor replace the role/offense he brings. Hertl and Nieto are RFAs, but most likely to be re-signed. Demelo is coming off his ELS, and I expect him to be re-signed. Thornton leads the team in offense; no way to get fair value in a trade.

Stollery, Lerg, McCarthy, Haley have been good vets in the AHL.

Carpenter, Cundari, Emanuelsson, Doremus and Langlois have all played well and will probably be retained.

If the Sharks do make a trade, will it be to pare down the roster, or shore up a need?  Or both? Various pundits have postulated that the Sharks “need” more D depth (like 5th defenseman) and/or a better backup goalie.

UPDATE: Sharks acquired D Roman Polak and F Nick Spaling. Addresses their D depth and forward depth.

That trade may answer the depth issue, but not a better backup goalie.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson indicates that the organization plans to “replace” those two picks given away in the 2017 and 2018 draft for Polak and Spaling in the future.  So, even if the needs are filled, some of the “trade bait” players may wind up getting a few more draft picks (or prospects) down the road.