The San Jose Sharks won their sixth straight after a Tommy Wingels trade with the Ottawa Senators earlier Tuesday, Jan. 24…
The San Jose Sharks have shown their depth during their current winning streak. It claimed two more casualties in a Tommy Wingels trade and Winnipeg Jets loss on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Thus, the Sharks offered Wingels an opportunity elsewhere almost three weeks after waiving Matt Nieto for the same reason. For one thing, youngsters Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi are nearing return.
More importantly, even younger players are performing. Kevin LaBanc has played well enough for a scoring-line role. Timo Meier should remain active. Ryan Carpenter (two goals, two assists in seven games) may force San Jose to keep him even when everyone returns.
Furthermore, there are young players with more potential than Wingels not getting a chance. Barclay Goodrow finally got into a game this season and played well, as Daniel O’Regan did in his only appearance.
Moreover, former first-round pick Nikolay Goldobin has been effective enough in the AHL to warrant a return to the NHL. Something had to give. Wingels was already an occasional healthy scratch, scoring three goals and five assists in 37 games.
He also had the highest cap hit on the fourth line. Hence, moving Wingels creates space for Hertl’s return. Moreover, Micheal Haley is a cheaper and better enforcer/pest with almost as much skill (six points, 31 games) returning soon.
Wingels was popular in the dressing room for sure. He was a great teammate and a versatile enough player. Still, the Sharks will not miss him on the ice and he was unlikely to return next season.
Return On Investment
Thus, almost any return makes the trade worthwhile. The seventh-round pick the Ottawa Senators yielded may have qualified. However, they also sent two reserves to San Jose: Zach Stortini and Buddy Robinson.
Stortini gives the Sharks a 31-year old emergency enforcer. He has plenty of NHL experience but will never be anything more than a reserve. He has 14 just goals and 27 assists but 718 penalty minutes (PIM) over 257 career games.
Robinson is 25 and has played just seven NHL games, scoring a goal and assist with six PIM. However, he still has room for growth and shows promise for an everyday checking-line role. He has a rare balance: 104 points and 104 PIM in 245 games.
Both players also help sow into an AHL roster San Jose has reaped of talent. That will certainly help remaining prospects develop.
Downing the Jets
The Sharks could not allow the Tommy Wingels trade to burden them Tuesday. Both teams battled fatigue as well as each other.
Winnipeg’s lack of discipline hurt with two penalties in the first four minutes. Brent Burns scored on a two-man advantage, burying a give-and-go one-timer feed from Logan Couture.
However, Bryan Little answered four minutes later with a breakaway despite San Jose’s hooking attempt. Neither team could score again in the first period, but Couture scored 27 seconds after intermission. Mikkel Boedker set up the backdoor goal with a beautiful one-timer feed.
The Jets were unable to answer until the final two minutes of the period. Blake Wheeler executed a one-timer pass of his own that Andrew Copp put over the shoulder of Aaron Dell.
Little gave Winnipeg the lead four minutes into the third, burying a Josh Morrissey rebound. The home team looked to extend the lead after a LaBanc hook.
However, the Sharks were able to get a shorthanded breakaway just before the midpoint of the third. Jacob Trouba put his stick into Melker Karlsson, who received and buried his first career penalty shot.
Finally, Patrick Marleau continued his hot scoring pace in the final five minutes. He put a weak-side wrister in after Carpenter’s beautiful cross-ice feed.
The Sharks held on from there to extend their season-long winning streak. Marleau now has 498 career goals and 97 game-winning scores—third-most ever for one NHL franchise.
It was just Dell’s eighth career start. He has now earned better than a .900 save percentage (sv%) in seven of them. He still has a .930 sv% and 1.97 goals-against average (GAA) for the season.
It was just the third time Dell has allowed three goals, though all three were in his last five starts. However, between each he allowed one and earned his first career shutout. Thus, he even won four of those five with a .929 sv% and 2.01 GAA.
Interestingly, San Jose had the rare feat of winning while being swept in event summary statistics: 23-37 faceoffs, 13-8 giveaways, 3-7 takeaways, 9-18 hits, 26-34 shots, 57-67 attempts and 18-19 blocks.
Whine and Cheese
The Jets were not happy with the call on Trouba, much less the decision to award a penalty shot. However, the NHL has to enforce its rules concerning stick use by trailing defenders. This is consistent with its efforts to increase scoring.
Moreover, the Sharks were not better off with the shot than a penalty. The conversion rate is lower than their power play and afterward they still had penalty time to kill.
Finally, Dustin Byfuglien appeared to punch home a Mark Scheifele rebound as the whistle blew with 17 seconds left. However, he also pushed Dell’s legs counterclockwise to get the puck underneath across the line.
San Jose is now officially the Big Cheese of the Pacific Division, a full game ahead of the Anaheim Ducks. The Edmonton Oilers are two games back and visit Thursday for the final game before the All-Star break.