Summer thoughts: defensemen

What roster moves might be wanted/needed this summer to bolster the blueline? What impact will the expansion draft have on the defensive depth?

Let’s look at the defensemen in the organization.

The Sharks/Barracuda nominally have about 20 D-men under contract: 7 in NHL, 7-8 in AHL and 1-6 in ECHL for depth call ups.

Sharks/Barracuda have the following blueliners under contract (in approximate depth chart order) for 2016-17 (with shooting side and year(s) remaining):

  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Left, 2 years; NTC)
  • Brent Burns (Right, 1 year)
  • Justin Braun (Right, 4 years)
  • Paul Martin (Left, 3 years)
  • Brendan Dillon (Left, 4 years)
  • Michael Brodzinski (Right, 3 years, ELS)
  • Mirco Mueller (Left, 1 year, ELS)
  • Julius Bergman (Right, 2 years, ELS)
  • Tim Heed (Right, 1 year, ELS)
  • Joakim Ryan (Left, 1 year, ELS)
  • Patrick McNally (Left, 1 year, ELS)
  • Cavan Fitzgerald (Left, 3 years, ELS)
  • Jeremy Roy (Right, QMJHL/ELS)

Pending UFAs/RFAs

  • Dylan DeMelo RFA (Right)
  • Roman Polak UFA (Right)
  • Karl Stollery UFA (Left)
  • Gus Young UFA/AHL (Left)
  • Rick Pinkston UFA/AHL (Left)
  • Mark Cundari UFA (Left) – signed in Europe
  • Danny Federico UFA/AHL (Left)
  • Matt Tennyson UFA (Right)

Unsigned draftees

  • Gage Ausmus (Left, ’17 grad)
  • Karlis Cukste (Left, ’20 grad)
  • Adam Parsells (Left, ’20 grad?)
  • Clifford Watson (Left, ’17 grad)

Draftee Alexis Vanier (Left) was not signed by 6/1 deadline.  Guessing that’s a case of too many lefties in the organization and he fell down the depth chart after getting a bonafide offer last spring.

NHL coach DeBoer likes to match left/right in pairs for his blue line.  Vlasic-Braun, Martin-Burns, Dillon-Polak were the pairs during the Stanley Cup Final.  Some lefties have played their off side, especially in the AHL.

I don’t see any buy out candidates. There are 12 defenseman signed I expect to play for the Sharks or Barracuda next season; Roy should be heading back to the Q as a 19 year old.  I expect the Sharks to re-sign DeMelo, and maybe Tennyson.  That would mean 2-5 blue liners should be signed from the pending UFA guys in the organization last year, and or free market for depth.  Stollery was a good veteran D for the Barracuda and I hope he’s re-signed.

In the expansion draft, the Sharks will be able to protect three defensemen. Teams have to expose (at least) two defensemen signed through 2017-18 (who played 40+ games in 15-16 or 70+ games in 14-15 and 15-16).

Defensemen exempt from expansion draft include: Ausmus, Watson, Cukste, Parsells; Bergman, McNally, Pinkston, Ryan; Brodzinski, Fitzgerald, Roy, Heed.  (Plus 2016 draftees and other prospects signed.)

Even though Burns is a pending UFA in advance of the expansion draft, it’s expected that he’ll be signed to an extension this summer.

My guess on who’s protected:  Vlasic, Burns, Braun

That would leave Martin and Dillon exposed.  Now, the Sharks may even want to ensure Mueller and DeMelo  stay in the organization by making a “future considerations” trade so that they would not be picked up.

The Sharks seem defensively well positioned for the 2016-17 season.  I see a handful of re-signings to bolster depth in the AHL and/or NHL.

Summer thoughts: goalies

OK, we’re in the off season.  Time to think about what the roster moves might be.

First up: the goalies.

This is a key position for any team.  The Sharks historically have 5-6 goalies under contract for depth: 2 in NHL, 2 in AHL and 1-2 in ECHL.

Sharks/Barracuda have the following goalies under contract (in approximate depth chart order) for 2016-17 (with year(s) remaining):

  • Martin Jones (2 years left)
  • Troy Grosenick (1 year left)
  • Mantas Armalis (1 year ELS)
  • Jamie Murray (1 year, AHL)

In the depth chart (not signed):

  • Frederik Bergvik (defected)
  • John Kupsky (college; scheduled graduation ’19)
  • Mike Robinson (college; scheduled graduation ’20)

UFAs include:

  • James Reimer
  • Aaron Dell (group VI)

And Joel Rumpel (RFA).
UPDATE: Rumpel not QO’d

Sharks need to have one goalie (either signed through 2017-18 or pending RFA in 2018) exposed in the (anticipated) expansion draft next June, and can protect only one goalie.  Armalis, Kupsky and Robinson are all exempt from expansion draft (Rumpel too if he’s re-signed); technically, on an AHL deal Murray is not exempt, but for all practical purposes is.  Jones is the protected guy from my prospective.

Dell surpassed Grosenick in the depth chart this year.

There are no pending RFAs in 2018 based on the current depth chart, unless it’s exposing Rumpel or similar.  (Grosenick will be a UFA after his contract expires.)

My guess is that the Sharks re-sign Dell to a two year deal as their exposed goalie for the expansion draft (at a reasonable cap hit even).  He’d be pencilled in as Jones’ backup. Armalis and Grosenick would be in AHL and Murray in ECHL.

While Reimer might be an interesting re-signing, he’d probably demand near starter $$s and may prefer finding a starting role elsewhere.  (The Sharks might be able to trade his rights for a pick.)

Barracuda @ Reign PDSF Game 4 160429

Down 2-1, it’s win or go home for the Barracuda tonight.

Guessing Chartier and Labanc may get in the lineup.

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Chartier, Labanc and Brodinski were in the line up tonight.  But the Barracuda came up short, losing the game 4-1 and the series 3-1.  All season Dell has been very good; the significant issue was lack of offense.

Barracuda @ Reign PDSF Game 3 160428

And off the guys head to Ontario, where they haven’t won all season, with the series tied 1-1.

But that doesn’t mean there is no hope for the Barracuda.

Playoff results are not indicative based on the regular season results.   It’s an issue of which players are on the roster “today”, how teams are playing through their injuries, and how “hot” players/goalies can get.  With a bit of influence/encouragement from the fans.

Except that Michael hasn’t played for the Barracuda this post season yet.

Reign’s Sutter missed another day of practice. Reign Coach updates on injuries.

Gackle feature on Goldobin.

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Sharks prospect Chartier is heading to Ontario for the AHL playoffs after being ousted from WHL playoffs.  (Guessing it’s doubtful for tonight, but he may arrive in time for puck drop.)  Labanc signed to AHL ATO and heading to Barracuda.

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Barracuda outshot 43-17, outscored 3-1.  Dell pulled after giving up 3rd goal on 39 saves.  Goldobin scored the lone goal for San Jose.

Hopefully both Chartier and Labanc can be in the lineup tomorrow.

Barracuda vs Reign PDSF Game 2 160423

The Barracuda lost game 1, 2-1.

24 hours later, the rematch. In a best of five round, this game is very important.  This is the last Barracuda home game of the series; the remaining three games will be in Ontario.

Boudreau has been signed to an AHL ATO, but did not play.  (Sims was released from PTO after end of regular season).

Reign expect Gavel back in the lineup for game 2.

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Barracuda open the scoring, get a two goal lead, then give up a goal, score another, and hang on after a late goal against to win 3-2, tying the series.

Lerg, Carpenter and Goldobin had the goals for the Barracuda.  Boudreau and McNally made their pro playoff debuts.

Next up: Game 3.  In Ontario, where the Barracuda have not won all (regular) season.  The Barracuda have a watch party planned for Thursday 4/28.

Barracuda vs Reign PDSF Game 1 160422

Barracuda host the Reign for the first game in the best of five, first round series.  The Cuda host game 2 on Saturday; play then shifts to Ontario for the last three games in the series (including games 4 and 5, if needed).

Barracuda’s record against the Reign was 3-6-3-0 this season.

This series is in the shadow of their NHL parents’ playoff series.

Here’s hoping the Cuda are stingy, unwelcoming hosts and get the win!

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Dell played well, but the Cuda lose game 1, 1-2.

Barracuda vs Heat 160417

One last RS home game.  One last chance to get a point to get into the playoffs.

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Dell got the shut out with 41 saves.  Six different players with goals, including Gallant with his first of the season.

And the playoffs have been clinched.  The Barracuda open the Calder Cup playoffs (Pacific Division Semi-Final) at home for games 1 (Friday 4/22) and 2 (Saturday 4/23) against the Ontario Reign, in a best of five (games 3-5 will be in Ontario).