Heading into Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline seems like a good time to look back at Doug Wilson’s recent trade deadline activity as a way to gain some insight into what the Sharks may do over the next few days. Let’s start with the 2006-2007 deadline activity and work forward to see what we can learn about Doug Wilson.
Bill Guerin was a veteran winger who had played with Joe Thornton in Boston and was in the last year of his contract. Nieminen was a pesky forward whose 14 games played in St. Louis were the last of his NHL career, and Jay Barriball has underwhelmed the last 2 years in the AHL.
Sharks acquire a 2007 7th round pick from Pittsburgh for Nolan Schaefer
Schaefer was the 3rd string goalie and Wilson traded him for a 7th round pick knowing he was not in the organization’s long term plans.
Sharks acquire a 2008 6th round pick from Colorado for Scott Parker
Parker was the Sharks enforcer but was frequently a healthy scratch because, for all his fighting prowess, he really wasn’t a very good hockey player.
Maybe the only trade on this list that looks bad in hindsight. Gorges was a fringe roster player in San Jose but has become a solid (although unspectacular) fixture in Montreal’s lineup. Rivet was another veteran in the final year of his contract who performed well in the playoffs, signed an extension in San Jose, and then was traded to Buffalo the following summer to alleviate a cap crunch.
Sharks acquire a 2008 7th round pick from New York Islanders for Rob Davison
Davison was a physical defensemen who was a fringe AHL/NHL player for the Sharks and was not in their future plans.
Campbell, an old friend of Joe Thornton’s, was a pending UFA who had made it clear he was not going to sign an extension with Buffalo prior to hitting free agency. Thought to be the offensive blueliner the Sharks had been seeking, Campbell played well down the stretch before disappearing in the playoffs and signing a monster contract with Chicago in the offseason. Bernier had been an up and down player for the Sharks, never developed into the power forward the team envisioned, and was likely not in the franchise’s future plans.
Sharks acquire Jody Shelley from Columbus for 2009 6th round pick
A fan favorite in Columbus, Shelley was brought in to replace the enforcer element lost when Scott Parker was traded to Colorado the previous year.
Moen was a pending UFA brought in to add some grit and experience to the 3rd line and penalty kill while Huskins was a pending UFA who was supposed to add depth on the blue line. Moen didn’t really distinguish himself (good or bad) during the playoffs and signed with Montreal in the offseason. Huskins did not play for the Sharks in 2008-2009 due to injury but was signed to a 2 year contract in the offseason. Bonino was a solid prospect out of Boston University who has failed to excel at the NHL level and Pielmeier has played 1 NHL game in net for the Ducks.
Sharks acquire a 2011 6th round pick from New York Rangers for Jody Shelley
Shelley was the Sharks enforcer and while he did an admirable job in that department he was a fringe roster player who was deemed expendable after younger players were willing and able to step into that role.
Sharks acquire Niclas Wallin, 2010 5th round pick from Carolina for 2010 2nd round pick
Wallin was a pending UFA who was acquired to bring some physical depth to the Sharks roster. He was injured during the playoffs but signed an extension with San Jose after the season. Far from a fan favorite Wallin was one of the weaker links on the team’s defense, although to his credit he was better during the playoffs in 2011.
Sharks acquire Ian White from Carolina for a 2012 2nd round pick
White, a pending UFA, gave the Sharks another puck moving defenseman and was a solid performer in the playoffs. After the Sharks acquired Brent Burns in a trade with Minnesota they had little interest in retaining White, who signed with Detroit.
Sharks acquire Ben Eager from Atlanta for 2011 5th round pick
Eager was a pending UFA brought in to bring some grit to the Sharks 4th line and did an admirable job before losing his mind a bit during the Western Conference Finals against Vancouver. He was not retained and signed with the Edmonton Oilers.
There are a couple of trends that emerge after looking at the recent history of the Sharks at the trade deadline:
- Every single one of the “impact” players acquired by the Sharks around the deadline were in the final year of their current contracts
- On two occasions Doug Wilson acquired players who had a history of playing with Joe Thornton
- The Sharks have not been afraid to move players from the bottom of the roster or those that have fallen out of favor
So what does this all mean for this year’s deadline? Well, despite the recent rumors that the Sharks have displayed serious interest in Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash, Doug Wilson has not shown a willingness to make significant changes to his core group or take on long term salary commitments at the deadline. Wilson has also stated repeatedly that acquiring players at the deadline means paying over market value for them, which is why he has always chosen to augment or tweak his roster rather than make major changes to the core of his team. Knowing that, it seems unlikely the Sharks would make a move for Nash if it includes sending core players (such as Couture or Pavelski) to Columbus AND taking on Nash’s $7.8 million annual salary cap hit which runs through the 2017-2018 season. However, if Nash is not moved at the deadline and remains available over the summer expect the Sharks to be involved in those discussions (particularly if the season does not end with a victory parade through San Jose).
Don’t forget about that last point above either. Wilson has not been afraid to trade away depth players if he is about to lose contractual control over them and doesn’t feel they will be contributors to a playoff run. In those cases it’s been the team’s philosophy that it’s better to get a late round draft pick for a player than nothing at all. Looking at the current Sharks roster that really only pertains to one player: Torrey Mitchell. The Sharks have held out hope that Mitchell would develop into a speedy, defensive minded, penalty killing 3rd line center but thus far it hasn’t worked out. In fact, over the summer the Sharks signed Michal Handzus and recently traded for Dominic Moore (more on him in a moment), in attempts to fill that role. Mitchell’s contract is up after this season and there’s little chance the Sharks will look to re-sign him. If Martin Havlat returns healthy and Doug Wilson believes Tommy Wingels (who has been playing very well lately) is ready for the playoffs, there really isn’t any room for Mitchell in the lineup even if the Sharks don’t add any more forwards. Consider the current line combinations:
When Havlat returns he will play on either the 2nd or 3rd lines, thus pushing everyone down a spot and leaving no room for Torrey Mitchell. If the Sharks decide not to add any forwards before the deadline they may decide that having Mitchell is a nice insurance policy should injuries or lackluster play become a problem, but if they do add another forward it’s easy to see how Mitchell becomes expendable. Don’t expect much of a return if the Sharks do end up trading Mitchell, certainly nothing more than a mid-round draft pick.
The Sharks have already sent a 2nd round pick in 2012 (acquired from Minnesota in the Burns trade) to Tampa Bay for Dominic Moore so it’s entirely possible they’re done. Moore had a strong playoff run with the Lightning last year and is a solid 3rd line center and penalty killer capable of chipping in some offense. If this description sounds familiar it’s because Moore is basically the player they hoped Handzus would be when he was signed to a 2 year deal last summer. While Handzus hasn’t been terrible he has been inconsistent throughout the season, and with the Sharks penalty kill languishing near the bottom of the league Moore was clearly a player they viewed as an upgrade.
If the Sharks plan on making any more moves keep an eye on pending unrestricted free agents. Here’s a list of every team’s impending UFA, with some thoughts on the players who might be a fit for the Sharks:
The ageless Teemu Selanne would be a great fit in the Sharks top 6 but with Anaheim surging it’s looking unlikely that he will waive his no-trade clause in what could be his final season in the NHL. Koivu could also be a fallback option though it remains to be seen whether Anaheim is a buyer or seller
Kelly, Campbell, Paile, and Thornton would all be excellent additions, unfortunately the defending champs are definitely buyers.
Buffalo is definitely in sell mode and will probably look to move some players beyond this list. Boyes played 1 game for the Sharks in 2003-2004 before being traded to Boston and scored 43 goals in 2007-2008 with St. Louis. Unfortunately he hasn’t broken 20 since 2008-2009. Could be worth a look if the price is low enough but certainly wouldn’t be considered Plan A or even Plan B. Lots of talk about Gaustad moving and a defensive minded 3rd or 4th line center would probably help a lot of teams, but he’s not the quickest player and he doesn’t chip in much scoring. With the acquisition of Moore, Gaustad’s only role would be on the 4th line and the Sharks may not want to pay the price if they don’t see him as a major improvement over Desjardins.
With Calgary just 2 pts out of the playoffs the Flames will not be looking to go into fire-sale mode. Some of the above players may be available but the Flames will likely want roster players in any deal. Don’t see anyone that fills a need for the Sharks anyway.
Another team that is definitely selling this year and another team that doesn’t seem to have anything that the Sharks are looking for. Bryan Allen might be a possibility if the Sharks have reason to believe Douglas Murray will miss the playoffs with his fractured Adam’s apple.
The Hawks will be buyers at the deadline but Brunette would be a great fit in San Jose.
Milan Hejduk, David Jones, Matt Hunwick, Jay McClement, Shane O’Brien, Cody McLeod, Daniel Winnik, Joakim Lindstrom, David Liffiton, Patrick Rissmiller, Greg Mauldin, Danny Richmond, David Van Der Gulik
The Avs are just 2 pts out of a playoff spot and have to decide where they stand by Monday’s deadline. Another team that may look to reconfigure the team but will likely be looking to make a player-for-player swap. Hejduk is the captain and has spent his career in Denver so it would be shocking if he is traded, though he would be a great addition to the Sharks. David Jones could be excellent in a 3rd-4th line role.
The very definition of sellers and the worst team in the NHL. A healthy Huselius would be very appealing for his speed and scoring ability but he is out indefinitely with a groin injury. Pahlsson could be another possibility, though there’s a lot of tread on those tires and Moore and Handzus might make him redundant.
Currently in the playoffs and just 3 pts behind the Sharks for the Pacific Division lead, Dallas is a team very much on the fence between buying and selling. Of the players on this list Burish would bring some grit and a little scoring to the 4th line, plus he played at Wisconsin with Joe Pavelski.
Another seller. Smyth, the current and former Oiler known as Captain Canada, cried through an airport press conference after being traded by the Oilers at the 2007 deadline. With a no movement clause it’s unlikely he would waive it to leave Edmonton in the twilight of his career but he would bring some veteran savvy and scoring punch to the Sharks. Excels at standing in front of the net and tipping in goals and could be the Sharks answer to Tomas Holmstrom. Intriguing though unlikely.
Currently holding on to 8th place in the east by just 1 pt over Washington and Toronto. Hard to see them selling after failing to even ice a competitive team for so many years.
2 pts behind Dallas for 8th place in the west and just 5 pts behind San Jose, the Kings are buyers having just added Jeff Carter to the roster. Rumor spread on Thursday night that Dustin Brown, the team’s captain, was available for the right price and so he’s on the list despite not being an UFA. Brown has a reasonable contract for 2 more seasons and would be a great fit with the Sharks, however the Kings won’t be looking to help a team they’re chasing and will want a roster player or players in return for Brown. Tough to see how Brown ends up in San Jose but he’s a guy Doug Wilson would surely be interested in.
Minnesota is fading but is still hanging around enough to be on the fence. Given the big trades the Sharks and Wild pulled off this summer there probably isn’t a fit between them now.
The Habs are selling for one of the few times in the franchise’s proud history. There were some rumors about Travis Moen recently, though the Moore trade may have killed any possibility of the Sharks re-acquiring Moen. Kostitsyn is equal parts talent and maddening inconsistency. He could provide some offense but his one dimensional game is not what Doug Wilson typically gravitates towards.
They’re buyers, so stop fantasizing about Ryan Suter following his uncle’s footsteps and playing in San Jose.
Zach Parise, Martin Brodeur, Bryce Salvador, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Johan Hedberg, Ryan Carter, Petr Sykora, Peter Harrold, Tim Sestito, Cam Janssen, Steve Bernier, Jay Leach, Brad Mills, Stephen Gionta
Despite myriad financial problems, the Devils are currently 4th in the east and pretty comfortably inside the playoffs. If the Sharks flop in the playoffs keep an eye on Parise, who scored a pretty big goal for Team USA during the 2010 Olympics.
New York Islanders
Brian Rolston, Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina, Steve Staois, Jay Pandolfo, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Mike Mottau, Dylan Reese, Trevor Gillies, Trevor Frischmon, Al Montoya, Jeremy Colliton, Evgeni Nabakov
Sitting 6 pts out of the playoffs the Islanders would probably like to move some pieces to make a run at the playoffs next year. Rolston has not been good this year though he still has a canon of a shot and a lot of experience. Parenteau could be an excellent fit but the Islanders have been trying to get him to sign an extension. If the Islanders come to the conclusion that they can’t keep him he’s a player to watch.
New York Rangers
Definitely buyers and rumored to be interested in Rick Nash. There may not be a more controversial player than Avery but he could be the straw that stirs the Sharks drink in a limited run with the team, and the Rangers have kept him stashed in the AHL so he’s clearly not in their plans. Given that Avery had to clear waivers in order to be sent to the AHL it would appear that Doug Wilson, sadly, has no interest.
Buyers, but a team not looking to mortgage the future just yet.
Buyers, as usual.
Michal Rozsival, Shane Doan, Daymond Langkow, Ray Whitney, Adrian Aucoin, Kurt Sauer, Taylor Pyatt, Dean Arsene, Patrick O’Sullivan, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Nathan Oystrick, Alexandre Bolduc, Matt Beaudoin
A 9-0-1 run in their last 10 has the Coyotes in 7th in the west and tied in pts with the Sharks (though San Jose has 2 games in hand). A lot of players that would have looked good in teal, especially Doan and Whitney, are now off the market.
Buyers, and possibly cup favorites if Crosby ever returns.
Sellers and looking to reload around Stamkos, St. Louis, and Lecavalier. Sharks already picked up Dominic Moore and that’s probably the only player available that they wanted.
Fringe team in a hockey mad city that will be looking to buy if the price is right. The Leafs want to re-sign Grabovski, though he could move if they decide they can’t get it done. Even if they move him they will want immediate help.
Buyers, and a team probably looking at the same players the Sharks are interested in.
Arguably the most interesting team in the league for all the wrong reasons. Tons of injured or underperforming top-end talent, including Semin, and despite it all the Caps are just 1 pt out of the 8th seed. Consensus seems to be that they will do something, we just don’t know whether that will involve buying, selling, or rearranging the roster. Semin, when playing well, brings a lot of goal scoring that the Sharks could use but he’s known as a soft player who disappears in the playoffs and the price will be high. Knuble has frequently been a healthy scratch and is almost surely available if the Sharks think he has any gas in the tank. Halpern is a guy that could really help in a support role.
In their first year back in Winnipeg the Jets are sitting in 3rd place in the east by virtue of a 1 pt lead over Florida in the Southeast Division. Even if they were willing to move some of the names listed above there doesn’t appear to be a good fit for the Sharks.
All contract information courtesy of CapGeek.
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