NHL: “If They Can Take The Job…”

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

The San Jose Sharks did not make any moves this week, they did not even turn up in the rumor mill. For better or worse, it does look like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau be in teal next season. As I have said before, I think that is for the best.

Listening to a radio interview with the Red Wings’ Mike Babcock, I was reminded of Doug Wilson’s comments about the role he expects younger players to take this coming season.

Back in May, Wilson described part of his plan for the team. He was talking about Al Stalock’s chances of taking the starter’s role: (more…)

Corsi Reading for July 22 2014

Worst by Adjusted Corsi

Puck Stops Here

MEV Possession

Worst by Raw Corsi

Underlying Metrics Are Easy

Sharks Keep Demers and Doherty in the Fold

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks announced the resigning of defensemen Jason Demers and Taylor Doherty. The team gave Demers a two year contract and Doherty one year. The moves solidified the team’s current blue line and add some depth for the future. It might not be enough to improve their offseason PuckDaddy grade from an F, but it is a start.

Last season was a bounce-back season for Demers, who performed below expectations the two seasons prior. Those seasons were marred by injury but also found him often benched as a healthy scratch. His improvement this past season could be attributed to better health and the changes on the coaching staff that occurred before the last lockout season. All of the team’s young defensemen have shown improvement since Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson joined the team.

Demers’ career path could be considered a cautionary tale about why you do not want to rush players, especially defensemen, into the NHL. He started playing in San Jose when he was just 21 years old, one season after being drafted. He got off to a great start with the team, posting 21 and 24 points his first two seasons, then bottomed out with 13 in his third season and just three in the fourth. Perhaps his sophomore slump came late, and he took a lot of heat in those two poor seasons for not repeating earlier success. Nevertheless, the Sharks’ coaches have shown slowly increasing faith in him and his performance has improved accordingly. His 34 points last season were a reminder of why expectations were so high for him.

Demers’ role as an offensively-minded defenseman will always make him prone to risk-taking. Much as fans would like to see all the players, forwards and defensemen alike, play a diligent defensive game, playing well at both ends of the ice is harder than it sounds. Well, obviously it sounds pretty hard, barring teleportation powers. Additionally, fans don’t actually enjoy perfect defensive games– those tend to be low-scoring and uneventful. So that’s the cake- eat it or leave it. If Jason Demers is supposed to keep an eye out for scoring chances and even create some, his defensive game might on occasion leave something to be desired.

His contract is eminently reasonable. Looking at the defensemen around Demers in the standings, his salary is lower than most players of equivalent value to their teams. Whether measuring by points or time on ice or age, his $3.4 million per year is a good deal for San Jose. It is such a good deal that one wonders if it isn’t a setup for a trade. The last Shark to file for arbitration (TJ Galiardi) only got one year out of the team, but he was not signed and traded either. For the sake of San Jose, we can hope the Demers contract is not just a set up to move him out.

Taylor Doherty was drafted by the Sharks in the second round in 2009. This year, he will enter his third full season in the AHL. Last season saw him miss a number of games due to injury, and he has yet to play in the NHL. There was a little more buzz around his name a season ago, but the Sharks obviously think he is worth another look.  Just 23 years old, 6’7″, he has not been heating up the score sheet but last season showed some improvement over the season before. With a little down tick in the +/- column (from +2 to -2), he improved his points total from 6 to 10, playing 23 fewer games. He has a strong shot that he could probably use more often.

Doherty, like Demers… and Braun, and Burns, is a right-handed shot. That is worth noting as such defensemen seem to be in short supply elsewhere.

The Sharks’ offseason is looking like a long slow one, but that is what Doug Wilson promised at the end of last season. If Wilson is serious about not wanting to bring any veteran player in who may supplant younger players, that remaining cap space will continue to sit there and taunt those who had hoped for any exciting new additions.

 

 

Sharks Have a Quietly Busy Week

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

The Sharks had a busy, if low-profile, week. A date has been set for later this month for Jason Demers’ arbitration hearing. Demers and the team can come to terms before that if they are so inclined. It would probably be best for all if they did so. The market is pretty good for right-handed defensemen, especially young ones.

The Sharks added a few names to next season’s roster this week. James Sheppard’s one year contract was announced, as was defenseman Scott Hannan’s. Defenseman Matt Tennyson was signed to a two-year deal. (more…)

NHL Free Agency: Independence Day Weekend

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

The Fourth of July has come and gone without much fuss for the Sharks in the free agent market. A few Sharks have moved on, several San Jose rivals in the Pacific Division appear to have gotten better while the Sharks have only made some small moves.

Along with signing free agents John Scott and Taylor Fedun, the Sharks made qualifying offers to three of their RFAs. Jason Demers has filed for arbitration, Tommy Wingels has been signed to a three year contract and there is no news yet on James Sheppard.

(more…)

NHL Free Agency Day 2: What Are The Sharks Doing?

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

What are the Sharks doing? This is a question that came up over and over on Twitter today, from near and far. Today the team made three announcements, in this order: the Sharks are holding auditions for women to join their co-ed ice crew, and they will wear short tops and tights. Second, the Sharks signed 31-year old left wing John Scott. Third, they traded a 2015 3rd round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for 23-year old left wing Tye McGinn.

The team’s activity at the draft and on the first day of free agency seemed consistent with General Manager Doug Wilson’s promise that he was not going to make any big moves that would cost picks, prospects, or young players. He used his picks, trading them only for more picks. (more…)

Sharks Draft Weekend: Europe First

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

The San Jose Sharks were busy on NHL Draft weekend, starting with something of a European focus.

The team announced on Friday that they had added popular former Shark Niklas Sundstrom to their European scouting staff. In the announcement, GM Doug Wilson said:

“One of Nicky’s strongest assets has always been his hockey sense, which is off the charts,” said Wilson. “We are excited to add Nicky’s insight and abilities to our talented scouting group and welcome him back to the Sharks family.”

In that same vein, the Sharks’ first three draft picks were all from overseas. The Sharks traded their 20th and 179th picks for Chicago’s 27th and 62nd. (more…)

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