Veteran forward Mike Knuble was a healthy scratch in the Washington Capitals 3-2 shootout loss in Winnipeg on Thursday night, leading to speculation the 39-year-old could be traded in the near future.
CSNWashington.coms Chuck Gormley theorizes that one of the clubs that may be interested, if Knuble is on the market, is the San Jose Sharks.
Gormley points out:
By making Knuble a healthy scratch on Thursday night, coach Dale Hunter ran the risk of not only alienating his veteran winger, but dividing his locker room. And that could mean a quick deal is in the works for Knuble, who is on a one-year, 2 million deal.Knubles NHL career blossomed in Boston when he was placed on a line with Joe Thornton and Glen Murray. That was nine years ago, but the struggling San Jose Sharks could use a right wing to play with Thornton and a net presence on the power play.
The move could make sense for the Sharks for a few more reasons.
First of all, Thornton has fond memories of Knuble when I asked him about his former teammate after the Sharks 5-3 win over Chicago on Friday.
Big, strong, goes to the net real hard. Great quick release, and likes scoring dirty goals. Just a competitor and good veteran leadership, Thornton said. He fit in great, and people I think underestimate his skating ability. Hes actually a pretty good skater for a big guy. It was a good line back then.
Would be welcome Knuble to the Sharks?
Absolutely. Great guy, said the Sharks captain.
The Sharks have used a variety of players on their top line with Thornton and Joe Pavelski, while Marty Havlat remains sidelined with a partially torn hamstring and may not return in time to have much of an impact, anyway.
In the past two weeks, Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero and Patrick Marleau have all skated in that spot. On Wednesday night against Calgary, Ferriero, who has been inconsistent since being recalled from Worcester in mid-December, was ineffective and bumped in place of Marleau.
That left a hole on the second line, and John McCarthy actually spent time skating with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe on Friday.
With Knuble on the top line and Marleau on the second, that would leave Havlat to provide depth on a third line with Michal Handzus and Jamie McGinn as an upgrade to Torrey Mitchell.
Knuble, who has just three goals this season, is a guy that needs to play with top players in order to be effective. He blossomed with Thornton and Murray in Boston, continued to produce with players like Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne in Philadelphia, and as recently as last season scored 24 goals with Washington. Hes due to become an unrestricted free agent, and theres a good chance he retires when its through. He would cost you less than, say, Ray Whitney, another player reportedly on San Jose's radar.
Hes also one of the most professional and well-liked players in the game today. Having not won a Stanley Cup since he played a limited role with the Red Wings in 1998, hed be as driven as anyone when the playoffs came around.