Mar 2, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Matt Nieto

What Should the San Jose Sharks Do At The Trade Deadline?


Ahhh…trade deadline week. Every hardcore hockey fan loves it.

Hearing the rumors, seeing the deals go through, and then going over the trades teams made to determine whether they were huge winners, or if the trade was a massive failure.

As the deadline approaches, every fan starts to mull around in their heads what deals their favorite teams should make. Should they be buyers for a Cup run, sellers to be better in the future, or just stay idle and hope for the best with what you have?

The San Jose Sharks should be buyers for a Cup run, but they should search for the sales.

There’s no question that Doug Wilson knows how to make some great deals. Last year, he added Scott Hannan who was supposed to be the seventh defenseman in case anybody in the top 6 got hurt, and he ended last year and so far this year has impressed me with his play. He’s not at a level of  Marc-Edouard Vlasic or Dan Boyle, but he’s been a very solid defenseman to have when they have called on him.

But the most spectacular of the deadline deals, was bringing San Jose nemesis Raffi Torres into town, and suddenly making Sharks fans around the world love his game and what he brings to the table, especially because his game has been much less dirty (despite the “illegal” hit on Jarret Stoll last year in the playoffs which got him suspended 6 games.) When I saw the Sharks added Raffi to the team, I was extremely confused. What use did the Sharks have for him? He didn’t belong on that team. But sure enough, he won the hearts of Sharks fans with strong play and incredible grit. Long story short, Doug Wilson knows how to make some deadline deals. And yes, I am choosing to forget the trade he made two years ago: Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi for Jamie McGinn. We miss you, Ginner.

So what should the San Jose Sharks do at the deadline this year? Let’s take a look at each position.

Goalies: Let’s start with the easy one, the Sharks don’t need to do anything in goal. (But as a little sidebar this may be a storyline to pay attention to due to the fact that the Sharks have been starting Alex Stalock more and more…….)

Defensemen: 28 out of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League will be looking to add a depth defenseman. The only two teams who do not need to add defenseman are the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues because they are stacked at the blue line, but even with that it wouldn’t surprise me to see them add defensemen.

do the dirty work, and get banged up in the playoffs. You can never have too many depth defensemen for the post season. A defenseman I’m very intrigued to see if they bring back to San Jose is Christian Ehrhoff. The Sabres asked Ehrhoff to give a list of eight teams he does not want to be traded to, and given his history with the San Jose Sharks, many believe the Sharks are on that list.

But this is a different coach. Ehrhoff’s issues with the Sharks came with head coach Ron Wilson. With him gone and Todd McLellan in, this could maybe change his opinion on the Sharks and move him back to San Jose. If not, there’s always a defenseman getting moved around somewhere. Doug Wilson will find the right fit for the San Jose Sharks.

Forwards: With Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau being Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and the great seasons from Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, and the great grit and ridiculous shot of Brent Burns, the Sharks have some fantastic forwards. The recent play of Matt Nieto and the play all year of Tommy Wingels has also shown that the depth the Sharks have. But do they have enough? Looking at their lines, they have everything you could want.

Burns-Thornton-Pavelski

Marleau-Couture-Wingels

Havlat-Nieto-Kennedy

Torres-Desjardins-Sheppard/Burish/Brown

Looking at the lines it’s very easy to see the Sharks have a very typical four line forward set. Two lines that always have to be considered a threat when they are on the ice because of their scoring ability, and a bottom two lines who are gritty, but still have a great ability to put the puck in the net, especially Torres, Nieto, and Kennedy, despite not having scored a lot, still has a great shot you can’t overlook. All in all, the Sharks shouldn’t need any help in the forward section, but trust me, they do.

First of all, every Sharks fan knows the odds of Martin Havlat staying healthy throughout the rest of the season and postseason is unlikely. He’s a fantastic player when he is healthy, but he just can not stay healthy and I really feel bad for him because this problem has bugged him his entire career.

But you can not trust him to stay healthy. Who fills in? Burish? Brown? Havlat may not produce as much as we thought he was, but I highly doubt Burish and Brown will be able to fill in appropriately for him.

And then there is Tyler Kennedy. I have been a huge fan of the TK trade ever since we got him from Pittsburgh. Growing up in a Pittsburgh sports fan family and dating a girl who grew up in a Pittsburgh sports fan family I have watched plenty of Penguins games and know the type of player TK is. His shot is absurd. He showed that with the first goal he ever scored as a San Jose Shark. The only problem is, he doesn’t shoot nearly enough. I feel like I scream at the television many times for him to just shoot instead of making fancy moves or holding on too long. If he plays Sharks hockey, and knows to just get the puck to the net and then drive to the net for rebounds, he will be a great depth player for this team, but he isn’t there yet. And then there’s the powerplay.

The first line power play is stacked. Pavelski-Thornton-Marleau-Couture-Boyle. That is a fantastic power play. But there is a reason the Sharks are high teens in power play percentage and it is because of their second line.

Now, I am a huge fan of Tommy Wingels. I think he is an incredible player, and I have loved him since the pre-season 3 years ago and while he is producing at a very high level this year, he’s not a  power play forward. He doesn’t fit on the  power play. He’s a gritty forward who gets dirty in the corners to create scoring chances or play good defense and the power play is for set offense and making smart passes to get the best scoring chance.

And it isn’t just him, Brent Burns isn’t necessarily good at that either. Burns is more of just a get the puck and shoot kind of guy, which is why he works so well with Joe Thornton, but if nobody is going to pass him the puck on the power play or get any offensive zone time, he won’t get good scoring chances. Now, the lack of Tomas Hertl doesn’t help, and he might be coming back from his injury before the season is over, but the Sharks need a depth forward to replace Havlat when he inevitably gets hurt and to work the 2nd power play unit.

The Sharks only have three more days to make something happen. If they make the right moves, they can be a legitimate Cup contender, and while they are close to being that type of team, they aren’t a Cup contender right now.

Tags: San Jose Sharks