My Two Cents for July 2nd:
Sharks Add Grit by Adding Adam Burish: Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson Sunday signed former Chicago Blackhawks’ and Dallas Stars’ center Adam Burish to a free agent deal for four years at $7.2 million. Burish, who was a teammate of Joe Pavelski at the University of Wisconsin (where they both helped the Badgers win the 2005-06 NCAA title) brings a hard edged game to team teal that was missing last season. Burish was drafted by the Blackhawks back in 2002 at the age of 19, but played four years at Wisconsin before joining the ‘Hawks organization on 2006-07. Burish is one of those players who will be more than willing to get in the grill of an opponent, dive in front of a puck to help out his goalie, and is someone who is not afraid to speak his mind. Burish in short is a “No BS” type of player who is someone that can bring an intangible to the Sharks both on and off of the ice. At 490 career penalty minutes, Burish has shown through his career that he is not afraid to mix it up with anyone and will have the back of his teammates at all times.
In an interview with David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News, Burish told him in defending Sharks Captain Joe Thornton “Hopefully I can get in there and give him a little excitement, too, and let him know from an outsider coming in, you are one of the best players in the league and forget all those writers and media people who are bothering you. I’m going to help you win the Stanley Cup because you deserve it. That’s kind of the attitude I want to bring in to those players who have been there a long time and won everything but a Stanley cup.” Burish on killing penalties, “…if that means diving face first in front of a puck, you’re darn right I’m going to do it. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and that’s what I want to bring. I’ve kind of made a career out of doing that. It’s not always pretty, it’s not always fancy but I’m going to find a way to get it done.”**
Burish on why he chose the San Jose Sharks, “Going into this day, the most important thing for me wasn’t location, it wasn’t money. It was just a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup. After being in Chicago and then being with a team the last two years where we missed the playoffs, it was really a letdown to me.” Burish continued, “When Todd and I talked earlier this morning, we talked bout suffering through the playoffs, how hard it is. I miss that suffering, miss that kind of pain, playing tired and playing hurt. As crazy as it sounds, I miss that. And I want a chance to figure out how to win a Stanley Cup again. To me San Jose is a team that should be competing every year for a Stanley Cup and that’s why I chose San Jose.”
Sounds like Adam Burish will fit in just fine with team teal. Counting Brad Stuart (via trade two weeks ago), the Sharks have added potentially two key players. The Sharks also re-signed goalie Alex Staylock who will likely start the year in Worcester. Staylock is one of the Sharks best goal tender prospects and two years removed from a bad injury he could give Thomas Greiss some competition in training camp in September. As for the Sharks additions with both Burish and Stuart, team teal now has two players that offer strong grit and toughness to a team that sorely lacked it, particularly late last season. Keep in mind that the additions of Burish and Stuart, though very nice, are not going to be enough by themselves. The Sharks need to be even more aggressive in this free agent market and identify at least two more players who can have an immediate impact such as Burish and Stuart will.
Sharks Need To Do More- The Acquisitions of Burrish, Stuart and retaining Staylock are all good moves. However, clearly the Sharks cannot stand pat with just these moves alone. I do not know or will even venture to guess what Doug Wilson may or may not be up to. I however do have a concern that both rivals in the Pacific Division as well as the Western Conference are starting to bulk up and the last thing we all want to see is the Sharks being left behind. The Sharks are going to still need to make at least one major move and maybe two (but no more than two). Keeping Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski are the most critical parts of the teams core. Captain Joe Thornton is more than likely safe too. Baring a huge change in philosophy or the Sharks finding a goalie they like better, Antti Niemi is likely safe also. This leaves Patrick Marleau, Ryan Clowe, Douglas Murray, Michal Handzus, and Martin Havlet as the likely assets the Sharks would have to look at for any trades or deals. This is NOT to say that any of these players will or should be traded, it’s just to say that these are the most likely of assets. Dan Boyle is not in there because his contract is too large for any other team to take on, plus he’s the only player that can talk Jumbo Joe into getting rid of Slappy. Everyone else on the roster currently is likely safe. The Sharks have parted ways already with Daniel Winnik, but are likely keeping TJ Galiardi who was acquired at the February trade deadline from the Colorado Avs for Jamie McGinn and two (decent) prospects.
Western Conference Rivals Load Up- Many Western Conference teams with the exception of the Los Angeles Kings have been loading up on free agent acquisitions since the free agency bell rang at high noon (eastern time) on Sunday. The Stanley Cup Champion Kings locked up the only player they had to worry about in free agency, Dustin Penner to a one year deal worth $3.2 million. Penner is the only player to have won a Cup with both Southern California teams, the Ducks (2007) and the Kings (2012). While the Kings were locking up Penner for another season, the rival Anaheim Ducks signed Sheldon Souray to a three year deal that pays a total of $11 million. The Ducks just a few days earlier lost out on draft choice turned free agent Justin Schultz who signed with the Edmonton Oilers. The Pacific Division rival Dallas Stars signed the last original Shark still playing in the NHL, Ray Whitney to a two year deal worth $9 million dollars. Whitney had one of his best seasons last year with the Phoenix Coyotes who were not able to retain his services. The Coyotes did sign David Moss, formerly of the Calgary Flames, to a two year deal.
In a major trade Monday afternoon the Dallas Stars acquired center Derek Roy from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forward Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy. Though a lot of Sharks fans on Twitter were expressing their happiness in seeing Ott leave Dallas, this trade actually improves the Stars as Roy will nicely replace center Mike Ribeiro. The Stars look more like a player now that they have the last three seasons and this could be the year they break through to the top eight and a playoff spot. Meanwhile Western Conference foe Vancouver signed free agent defenseman Jason Garrison to a six year contract worth $27 million. Garrison comes over to the Canucks from the Florida Panthers and will only add to an already potent attack. The Colorado Avs added winger P.A. Parenteau to a four year deal worth $16 million, luring him away from the New York Islanders. The Calgary Flames also made some moves that could have major impact, adding Dennis Wideman in a trade from the Washington Capitals, then signing free agent and former Detroit Red Wing Jiri Hudler. The deal for Hudler from the Flames is four years at $16 million. The Red Wings meanwhile added free agents Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo and goalie Jonas Gustavsson. I have to admit I am somewhat disappointed that the Sharks did not seriously pursue Hudler, as they sure could have used him.
In a deal just announced before this went to press, The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms on a two-year, $9 million contract with Olli Jokinen.
Torres Suspension Reduced by Four Games- League Commission Gary Bettman ruled Monday to cut the suspension of the Phoenix Coyotes’ Raffe Torres from 25 games down to 21. What this means is that Torres can rejoin the Coyotes after the first eight games of this coming season. League Disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has suspended Torres for 25 games after he knocked out the Chicago Blackhawks Marian Hossa after he put his shoulder into Hossa’s head April 17th during Game Three of the opening round of this past season’s playoffs. Hossa did not reappear after the hit and was taken off of the ice on a stretcher. Torres missed a total of 13 games during the Coyotes playoff run in which they defeated Chicago and Nashville before losing to eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles.
If Bettman can reduce Torres suspension by four games, I wonder if he will help me reduce my home mortgage to 2.99 at 15 year fixed?
Other Odds And Ends- In addition to re-signing Alex Staylock, the Sharks also signed players who will for the most part round out the roster for the Worcester Sharks this coming season. The Sharks inked defensemen Danny Groulx and Matt Irwin, forward Bracken Kearns to one-year contracts. Groulx played in the KHL last season, but previously was under contract with the Sharks having played at Worcester two years ago. Kearns meanwhile has been up for a basically a cup of coffee with the Florida Panthers last season but spent most of last season in San Antonio of the AHL where he had 22 goals and 30 assists. Meanwhile, Irwin had 11 goals and 31 assist for Worcester last season.
The Waiting Continues- Will the Sharks acquire one or two more free agents who can bring some impact in addition to Burish and Stuart? Will the Sharks soon be involved in any major or mid-range trade? Those questions will likely play out of the course of this next week. Ownership even said along with Wilson that last season’s finish to the season was well beyond unacceptable and have publicly stated so. Though you do have to be careful with the salary cap, the Sharks have to be active and make every move they make count. Since most players in the farm system are nowhere near ready to assume positions with the big club, for now the help has to come from other means. You also have to know that there are players on the roster that tend to bend and break under post season pressure. Hopefully Burish and Stuart will alleviate some of that, but again those two by themselves will not be enough. The Sharks need at least one more solid go to man on offense and one more shut down defender who can also be a threat with the puck in hand.
The question is will the Sharks pursue this via free agency or trade (or both)? This remains to be seen. We will know much more by this time next week. Whatever does happen, rest assured that Blades of Teal will be on top of any breaking news involving the San Jose Sharks. That’s why we are here!…
…just my two cents…
The King Shark
Blades of Teal: The Final Word On San Jose Sharks Hockey
**Source: San Jose Mercury News http://blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks/2012/07/01/adam-burish-i-want-to-bring-some-excitement-i-want-to-pull-some-other-guys-along/
PS: *The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect on any other staff member’s opinions with Blades Of Teal, or the website itself… The King Shark…