San Jose Stuart

Jan. 12, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart (23) shoots the puck in the first period against the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Well, if you haven’t heard already, the San Jose Sharks have acquired rights to negotiate a contract with UFA Brad Stuart currently of the Detroit Red Wings and yes, the same Brad Stuart who played with the Sharks from 1999-2005. It really should come as no surprise that the Sharks organization would happily welcome back Stuart, as he was given up as part of a trade deal for Joe Thornton and we all know it takes sacrificing talent to gain talent and the loss of Stuart in 05′ hurt as much as it helped in the long run. No one could have predicted that Stuart would end up with the Detroit Red Wings, a team known for player development, before long, but for once I’m happy that a player I like wound up there before being given the option to come home.

My fear is that the Sharks suffer a lack of confidence in player development and have a tendency to reach a plateau with players relatively quickly, if at all, and instead of investing time into them, they trade them out for ready to use models for lack of a better phrase. I for one, while not a fan of Detroit, respect their player development and am pretty thrilled the solid D man that is Brad Stuart got to spend some time in their system. He is no doubt a better player because of it, and San Jose stands to gain back a player it couldn’t have developed on Sharks ice.

The cost for Stuart seems minimal, giving up Andrew Murray, who isn’t terrible but could definitely use some time with the Detroit club for his own development as well, and a conditional draft selection in 2014.   All in all, not a bad deal given the team’s history of not holding onto our draft pick’s for long anyway. The trade seems mutually beneficial for Stuart and the Sharks organization, as his family is in the San Jose area and the boys in teal still need some shoring up on the blue line…among many areas of course, but hey, you have to start somewhere.

Expect to see not only solid D from Stuart, but also expertise and guidance on and off the ice that will prove invaluable to the Sharks in general. You cannot put a trade price on the experience Stuart will bring to this team once he signs and the ink is dry on his contract in San Jose. What move will San Jose make next? Time will tell, but let’s hope it involves dropping another D-man who may need more than just guidance from Stuart to get him to be a powerhouse on the ice. If you don’t know who I’m referring to, see our poll on the right side of the home page, and whether you agree or disagree, it is most certainly time for a changing of the guard amongst some of the defencemen currently occupying roster space in the tank.

~ALH

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