Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The direction of the Sharks

As we are less than a day away from the beginning of free agency in the NHL. Let's take a quick look at my Sharks and what they should and need to do.

Goaltender

With the Sharks not tendering a contract offer to Evgeni Nabokov, you can rest assured that he will be signed tomorrow. Where does that leave the Sharks? Thomas Greiss is decent, but the Sharks can't rely on him to take a full season and nobody in the system is ready to come up and split time, so free agency is the way they have to go. What direction is the team in though? If the Sharks want to take one or two last chances at the Cup before rebuilding, they have to go after either Marty Turco or Jose Theodore. Personally, I believe it's time to start over. I think that they should go after Michael Leighton. He showed what he could do with Philadelphia in the playoffs last season and at 30, still has a few more years left to either lead this team or backup Greiss while Harri Sateri, Tyson Sexsmith. abnd Alex Stalock battle to be next in line.

Defense

Although the retirement of Rob Blake leaves a huge hole, this is not a position that is in dire need. Derek Joslin is ready enough to take Blake's roster spot. Again, if the Sharks are going to make one last Cup push, there are a few good defenders that can come in and replace Blake. I think that would only be a short term fix though. With 4 defensemen 30 or older currently under contract, the Sharks need to develop their youth on the blueline than plugging the holes with veterans. The only exception is if the Sharks can put together an offer good enough to convince Dan Hamhuis to leave Pittsburgh.

Forward

Here's the big issue. With Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski resigning already, it does take some pressure off the team. However, the depth of the team in regards to players already signed (Devin Setoguchi has been tendered a qualifying offer, but has yet to accept) is troubling to say the least. Talent really falls off sharply after the top 6 forwards. There are a few guys in the AHL that could be ready to come up, but not into a top spot. There are a lot of decent guys available, but I'm still of the mind that the Sharks need to start looking to the future. If the Sharks agree, you will know as soon as the trade rumors begin to swirl around Joe Thornton. With one year at $7.2 million left on his contract, if the Sharks are committed to rebuilding, he's the best trade option they have to get talented youth.

For me, it's way past time to blow it up. The current team does not have the killer instinct it takes to climb to the pinnacle of the NHL. We saw it last year. Instead of taking charge and going at the Blackhawks, the Sharks looked content to be happy to be where they were. There are too many players who are secure in their position on this team and that has led to a lack of desire to go over and above. Time to start over Mr. Wilson.

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