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Homeward Bound, Niclas Wallin

According to this google-translated article, Niclas Wallin will play in Sweden next season.   I wish him the best.  I wonder what it is like being so long away from your home country and returning to it.  Sounds exciting, and unsettling, and good. Best of luck to the Wallins for a smooth transition.

This simplifies some of the off-season decisions regarding the Sharks defensive core.  I’m a fan of Justin Braun but I’m not sure he is ready to carry a significant load.  Defense is a tough job to get a handle on.  Still, now he may get more playing time sooner than later.

There is the question of Ian White, to re-sign or not to re-sign.  His anticipated salary requirements are only a little more than Wallin was getting.  Actually, one 4th liner salary more if he gets a tiny raise.  He does take some of the pressure off of Boyle, since he fills a similar role on the team.  That is worth quite a bit.  His related shortcomings (not quite enough D to go with that O) are more pronounced than some would like.  I’m inclined to think Demers is also working his way up to the role of offense-minded d-man, but I don’t see why you can’t have three.

Only vaguely related is the fact that the Flyers may have some moving to do if they shoot themselves in the fo… I mean if they sign Bryzgalov.  Rumors have Matt Carle on the list of “maybe moves,” but I have to think that would be nuts.  He is one of their best younger defensemen.  Though he hasn’t been tested much without top partners (Pronger, then Meszaros) he should not be high on the list of expendables.  By far less necessary is Versteeg.

So it is possible that someone may be available from the Flyers at a salary comparable to White’s, and I would not be surprised if Wilson waited until July 1 before deciding about White.

Fear the Fin suggests that no major changes are to be anticipated for the Sharks blue line:

As of today the Sharks have four legitimate NHL defenseman under contract– Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Jason Demers, and Douglas Murray. There is no real rush to shore up the backend with Justin Braun waiting in the wings, especially with an Ian White contract still in the negotiation process. -UFA of the Day

Well now, that is strange.  Somehow the team has gone from being in frantic need of better defensemen to being all full up, without adding anything.  In fact, this was accomplished by a subtraction.

I can see how that might actually be true.  Trent Yawney has been loathe to use the younger players when he had a veteran he could use instead, regardless of that veteran’s recent or long past performance.  McLellan did not seem in any hurry to over-rule this inclination.  So, by removing Wallin from the picture, someone like Braun will be forced into the lineup.  Unless Huskins is re-signed.  They could always use him instead of an eager youngster.

Granted, there are some other concerns for next season.  Setoguchi needs to be re-signed, I think many fans are in agreement here, I hope Wilson is too.  Our forwards had their hands full this season, and I don’t think it’s because we got a better goalie or had an unbreakable defense.  On the other hand, we may well have enough players waiting in the wings to shore things up now that the coaching staff has more incentive to use someone new.

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