Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trouble in the Tank?

As I write this, we are just over two days from the start of the Sharks regular season. I wish I could get excited about it. I really do. I just don't see very much to be excited about. There have been some high points. Benn Ferriero has been a pleasant surprise, finishing at the top of the heap in scoring in the pre-season. What I was able to see of him though showed that he still is a rookie and will show it at times. I still am not a fan of the trade for Dany Heatley. There was a reason both Atlanta and Ottawa gave up on him. Yes, he is a great scorer. He is not what you would consider a 'character' guy. Giving up Cheechoo and Michalek for Heatley was too much in my opinion. Granted, the change of scenery is probably what Cheechoo needs to get himself back on track, but I would feel a lot better with Michalek and his 20+ goals on the third line instead of Scott Nichol or Jed Ortmeyer.

The salary dump trade of Ehrhoff and Lukowich still doesn't make a lot of sense. Yes, it needed to get done to get Heatley in, but when you have a quickly aging blue line with depth issues, you don't go making moves unless you are sure you are going forward. I don't believe Doug Wilson did that. While I am a fan of Derek Joslin, and Jason Demers played well enough to still be on the roster, the Sharks are only two injuries away from being in a world of hurt. With Blake quickly approaching 40 and the style of play that Doug Murray has played, those injuries are not out of the realm of possibility.

Probably the biggest issue the Sharks have though is between the pipes. Evgeni Nabokov started to show his age last season with his very average performance in the playoffs. The days of him starting 60-70 games a year are probably over. That puts the burden of the backup status firmly on the shoulders of talented, but unproven, Thomas Greiss. Normally that wouldn't concern me as much, but the fact that Greiss could easily see 20-25 starts and with no real option at #3, the Sharks could be in real trouble if Nabokov /or Greiss struggle.

I have been widely ridiculed for this belief, but I still believe that unless the Sharks are leading the Pacific going into February, look for a fire sale in San Jose. This team is getting older, more expensive, and have failed to live up to expectations. How much longer will Wilson wait before he starts to rebuild? How long can we as fans let him wait?

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