Sharks mailbag: Where would Doan fit?

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Sharks mailbag: Where would Doan fit?

Wading into some Sharks mailbag questions in the middle of what has become a fairly busy July for the club.

If the Sharks do get Shane Doan, where do you think he would be slotted? And who is moved down to the third line?
Wesley Johnston

If the Sharks are somehow able to acquire Shane Doan theres a report out now that the club has formally offered him a contract I would envision him taking the place of Ryane Clowe on the right side of the second line, with Logan Couture and Marty Havlat. I dont foresee the coaching staff breaking up the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski combo on the top line, after Thornton had another productive season and Pavelski reached a career-high with 31 goals. Doan is also an effective power play player, and had five goals and 14 assists on the man advantage last season.
RELATED: Doan interested in Sharks ... at least four other teams, too

Thats all contingent upon the team not making any other major moves, though. That being said

Should Doug Wilson be able to land Doan, what moves would you anticipate would be done in terms of salary cap space?
Andy Germond

Signing Shane Doan would not be cheap, and right now, the Sharks have 11 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies signed next year to the NHL roster for 64.6 million. That leaves just about 5.5 million under the cap.

I would expect the 35-year-old Doan will want nothing less than a three-year contract for between 4-5 million annually, and although that would keep the Sharks under the cap, its always good to have some wiggle room during the season in case you want to make any further improvements in the coming months. Also, does Sharks ownership want to reach the ever-increasing cap once again, after losing upwards of 15 million last season? We cant be sure thats the case.

Adding Doan could very well mean the end of Clowe (3.625 million cap hit) or Douglas Murray (2.5 million cap hit) in a Sharks uniform, unless the team somehow finds a way to move Michal Handzus and his 2.5 million (Handzus has one year left on his deal and a no-movement clause). After an unproductive season, though, its doubtful the Sharks would even be able to find a taker for the aging veteran.

Besides Shane Doan, who would be the best player left in free agency for the Sharks to target?
Chris Nor

The best player left, skill-wise, would be Alex Semin, but I dont think hed be a good fit for the Sharks. Sure, he can put the puck in the net, but Semin carries with him the reputation that hes not a team-first kind of guy. I dont think thats the kind of player the Sharks want at the moment, as evidenced by their reasoning behind adding Adam Burish on July 1.

One name that fans are familiar with is Kyle Wellwood, who put up 47 points (18g, 29a) with the Winnipeg Jets last season after the Sharks allowed him to leave at the end of the 2011 campaign. The club clearly would have been better off with Wellwood as their third line center last season rather than Handzus, who was scratched from the lineup at various times down the stretch and in the playoffs. Of course, bringing back Wellwood would essentially be admitting the Sharks made a mistake in the first place by allowing him to walk.

The bottom line? There isnt much left on the free agent market, and Im a little surprised the Sharks werent more active after the Burish and Brad Stuart signings. This team still lacks forward depth, and a core group that hasnt been able to take the next step, remains untouched.

Right now Jamie McGinn is currently in arbitration with the Avs. If he doesn't sign with them, do you think there's any chance he would resign with the Sharks?
Erik Nelsen

Well for one thing Jamie McGinn will either sign a contract with Colorado before arbitration or it will get settled that way. Hes not an unrestricted free agent, nor will he be. The Avalanche consider him a part of their impressive young nucleus of forwards, and with San Joses disinterest in re-signing Daniel Winnik, that trade is looking worse and worse.

I know its only July, but the Avalanche, who missed out on the postseason last year, could be a real sleeper team next season. Some late-season changes last year gave them a boost, and theyve signed some good players this summer, including former Islanders winger P.A. Parenteau.

Were the coaching staff changes made by Todd McLellan or GM Doug Wilson?
Jason Brinn

My impression is that the changes were initiated by Wilson, but McLellan was absolutely part of the process.

While were on the topic, I have to admit I was a little surprised that it was Matt Shaw who was let go while Jay Woodcroft was retained. Shaw was in charge of the Sharks power play for the last three seasons, and it finished in the top five in each of those years, including second overall in 2011-12. Woodcroft led the teams penalty kill strategy, which, as we all know, was the teams weakest link.

Do you hear anything more about Rick Nash joining the Sharks or has that door closed?
Craig Larsen

Nothing new on that front, but the door is certainly not closed. As Ive said before, the Sharks wont include Logan Couture in a deal for Nash, but I do believe they would consider moving Pavelski for the Blue Jackets captain.

Like many others, I still believe the New York Rangers are the heavy favorites to land Nash, especially after they struggled to score goals in the playoffs and with Marian Gaborik out until December following shoulder surgery. Furthermore, the Rangers have many more prospects to offer up than do the Sharks and most other clubs thought to be in pursuit of Nash, like Philadelphia.

Top pick Meier 'real close' to making Sharks debut

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USATSI

Top pick Meier 'real close' to making Sharks debut

SAN JOSE – Struggling to score goals lately with two or fewer in eight of their last 11 games, the Sharks may soon turn to their biggest prospect to try and give the offense a boost.

Timo Meier, the ninth overall pick from the 2015 draft, is tearing up the American Hockey League lately with the Barracuda. He scored four goals (and registered 15 shots) in two games in San Antonio over the weekend, has eight points (5g, 3a) in his last four games, and leads the Barracuda with eight goals.

On Thursday, Pete DeBoer was asked what he’s heard about Meier lately and how close he may be.

“Good things, and real close,” DeBoer said. “I think he would have been even a consideration [Wednesday], but he came down I think with the flu. 

“You feel for him because we’re looking to bring some guys in, and he obviously had a great weekend. He’s one of quite a few guys down there that we feel real comfortable can come in here and are going to help us before the year ends, for sure.”

It’s the second time an illness has affected Meier’s status, as he came down with mononucleosis early in training camp and missed a month of action. He did, however, return to Barracuda practice this week.

One month ago, Barracuda coach Roy Sommer told CSN that Meier had to make some adjustments coming out of juniors. 

“He’s just has to simplify his game,” Sommer said on Nov. 9. “I think he’s just trying to do too much. He’s got to be north-south, and [forget] this circling and trying to put pucks through people. … It’s not going to work.”

Apparently, Meier has figured it out. On Tuesday, Sommer told The Gackle Report: “He’s getting better every game. At the start, I was going, oh man, he’s all over the map, circling and not using his teammates. But shoot, now he just keeps producing.”

“We’ve spent a lot of time with him on video and he picks stuff up.”

The 2015 draft has already produced several players that are regular contributors for their respective clubs, led by Connor McDavid (Edmonton), Jack Eichel (Buffalo), Mitch Marner (Toronto) and Zach Werenski (Columbus). 

Meier is the only player among the top 11 picks that year that has yet to play an NHL game, while 17 of 30 of the players overall chosen in the first round have played at least one NHL game.

Sharks still struggling to get consistent offense

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USATSI

Sharks still struggling to get consistent offense

SAN JOSE – There are games where the Sharks’ lack of offensive firepower isn’t an issue. Recent 2-1 wins over two of the best teams in the league, Chicago and Montreal, were impressive in that San Jose kept a pair of the league’s better offenses from getting more than a single score.

In other instances, though, that necessary goal from the team’s depth just hasn’t come. Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Ottawa was one example. The Sharks got goals from Logan Couture and Brent Burns – no surprise there – while Joe Pavelski was all around the net, generating more scoring chances than any single player on the ice.

Again, though, the depth forwards and defensemen other than Burns never found the scoresheet. 

And it’s becoming a real issue.

In fact, in the Sharks’ last 11 games in which they’ve gotten 25 goals total, 60 percent of them have come from just those three aforementioned players – Couture (7g), Burns (5g) and Pavelski (3g).

Also over that span, in which San Jose has gone 6-4-1, they’ve gotten no goals from Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi, Mikkel Boedker, Micheal Haley or Melker Karlsson; one goal apiece from Joel Ward and Tommy Wingels; and just one goal by a defenseman other than Burns (Dylan DeMelo). Of the 12 forwards that dressed against the Senators, eight of them had two or fewer goals.

The Sharks sit at 23rd in the NHL at 2.38 goals-per game. Sure, it’s just fine winning games by 2-1 final scores. But at some point, other guys are going to have to start putting the puck in the net if this team is truly going to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Couture – who himself got off to a slow start offensively – believes it’s going to come soon.

“Everyone wants to score,” Couture said after the Senators game. “It’s not about trying, it’s just the way that things are going right now. Pucks just aren’t going in for some guys, and, hey, I went through the same thing for awhile there where I wasn’t finding the back of the net. 

“That’s the way that goal-scoring works in the NHL, is you go through streaks where you’re hot and when you’re cold. Some guys are going to get hot soon. It’s going to happen.”

For his part, coach Pete DeBoer also believes the offense will pick up shortly. In the Senators game, the coaching staff internally tracked the scoring chances as 22 for the Sharks and just eight for Ottawa.

When that happens, “you should win, and you should score more than two goals,” DeBoer said.

Without getting into specifics, DeBoer pointed to the “analytics of where we are in the league” as a reason not to panic. Perhaps he’s aware that the Sharks are sixth in the league in shot-attempt percentage (52.25), and first in the NHL in shot-attempt percentage in close games (55.67).

Still, those numbers don’t mean anything when the puck isn’t going in. So what’s missing?

“I just think finish. I think we’re doing a lot of things right,” DeBoer said.

“Obviously I’d love to see us score some more goals five-on-five, but we’re getting some chances,” Ward said. “I would think if we weren’t or if we were getting shelled then it would definitely be something to be concerned about. … We’ve had some good looks and some really quality chances. Things just haven’t fallen in five-on-five, but I think that will come around.”