The San Jose Sharks made their first move of the trade deadline and I’m not sure how to feel. On one hand the Sharks, like any team, could use more depth at both forward and defense. At the same time, I wonder if Roman Polak and Nick Spaling are the answer to this team’s problems.
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Bad. Very bad. I don’t like this move at all. Polak and Spaling won’t push this team to the Stanley Cup Finals and this team has an expiring window. Looks like Doug Wilson wasted two second round picks on players that won’t provide their expected value.
If the Sharks are going for the championship this year, the opponents they will face are likely the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals in that order. Are the Sharks beating all of those teams in succession? No they are not so this trade doesn’t make sense to me.
If we were excited about trading Douglas Murray for two second round picks, this trade is the inverse of that.
The Impact of Polak and Spaling
Since Polak was brought in to stabilize the third pairing, let’s look at how he compares to the other third-pairing defenseman on the Sharks, Brenden Dillon.
According to this chart which can be found here Polak produces much more offense on a much worse Toronto Maple Leafs team. However, Dillon is far superior at generating shots and goals as a defensive-oriented player. Dillon also looks like a competent NHL defenseman in every aspect that helps push play in the right direction. While Polak is somewhat better at suppressing shots and goals, the rest of his game isn’t NHL caliber. All Sharks fans can hope for is that the two defenseman can compliment each other.
As for Spaling, most fans will be happy if Pete DeBoer plays him over Mike Brown. So let’s see how the two players compare!
Well that is depressing.
If Brown is in fact the superior player at suppressing shots and goals, then why is Spaling in the NHL at all? While Spaling is an upgrade everywhere else, I don’t think I like the idea of a player that can’t exit the defensive zone. There is more to these players than HERO charts but if this is the case, the Sharks just traded two second round picks for replaceable depth players.
Looking at other sources doesn’t make things better. Polak and Spaling rank 21st and 22nd respectively in individual Corsi For/60 minutes. By shot generation standards, outside of Rich Clune the Maple Leafs scored two second round picks for their two worst players. Other than the fact that Polak gets lots of ice time, this trade should be discouraging in every fashion.
But if you want this to happen then you shouldn’t feel good with Polak getting any ice time at all.