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.

All-Star Jones a model of consistency for Sharks: 'He solidifies our team'

All-Star Jones a model of consistency for Sharks: 'He solidifies our team'

SAN JOSE – Like a handful of NHL goaltenders, Martin Jones prefers not to speak to the media on the morning of nights he’s playing. So when the 27-year-old Sharks netminder was named as an All-Star before a game in Edmonton on Tuesday, the media in attendance respected his typical game day routine.

His friends and family, though, may not have been aware of his preference for limited interaction. Congratulations were in order for Jones, who will be a part of the Pacific Division team in Los Angeles for All-Star weekend from Jan. 27-29.

“I was trying to push it to the next day, obviously we had a game that night,” Jones said. “Lots of texts from family and friends. Everyone was pretty excited.”

Jones knew it was a possibility that he might be named. In his second season as the Sharks’ primary starter, and coming off of a brilliant playoff run, he’s tied for fifth in the NHL with 21 wins and his 2.26 goals-against average is ninth. He’ll return to the venue where he started his NHL career as a backup to Jonathan Quick from 2013-15.

Asked for his reaction when he got the news Tuesday morning, which was also his birthday, he said: “I was excited, it’s going to be a fun event. Just going to be really cool to play with all those guys, and it’s kind of fun that it’s in L.A., as well.”

Other than Brent Burns, a case can be made that Jones’ is the Sharks’ most valuable player through the first half. The club hasn’t been scoring goals at its typical rate; rather, it’s been relying on its defensive structure to keep the other team from getting on the board.

That, of course, includes Jones. Although he doesn’t often see many shots, as the Sharks are give up the third-fewest at 27.0, he usually has to make a handful of difficult saves on a nightly basis. That’s a result of Pete DeBoer wanting his club to play an aggressive style, in which defensemen are encouraged to get involved in the offensive end.

“I’d like to think that we’re aggressive and we still don’t give up a lot of chances, but there’s no doubt we give up a handful of quality chances a night,” DeBoer said. “That’s the difference in the games, and [Jones] knows that. He might not get 40 or 50 shots, but he’s going to get 25 and a handful of quality chances. If he can make a couple big saves a night for us, that’s usually the difference.”

Paul Martin said: “I think he solidifies our team in general. When you have him back there to make the easy consistent saves, and stand on his head and make big saves – you need those in critical parts of the game. I think he’s continued just to get better, as well.”

Jones has been much more consistent than the start of last season, when he got off to a scorching start, cooled off in November and December, but was a rock over the second half and in the playoffs.

This season, he posted a 2.15 GAA and .916 SP in October, followed by a 1.96 GAA and .924 SP in November, followed by a 2.24 GAA and .916 SP in December.

That’s consistency, and it’s all an NHL team wants from it’s goaltender. The knowledge that he will be there to make the routine saves with some spectacular ones mixed in gives confidence to the group to just play its game. Jones is doing that.

DeBoer said: “The guys just want to know what to expect every night, and that he’s going to stop the ones that he should stop. That’s all anyone’s looking for, and I think he does that as well as anyone in the league.”

There’s another part of it, too, according to the coach. It’s something that can’t be measured on scoresheets.

“The guys like him,” DeBoer said. “That’s the other part about goaltending that you have to remember, is the guys have to want to play hard for you. He’s a great teammate, and a real popular guy, and the guys want to go the extra mile when he’s in there because of that.”

That’s why on that morning in Edmonton, while Jones was in game-prep mode, his teammates were happy to comment on their goaltender, who they will need to continue to play well over the next three months and beyond. The All-Star nod is the latest evidence that Jones is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the NHL’s best.

“This year with the year he’s had and getting the All-Star nod, it’s nice to see that he’s become a star in this league now,” Joe Thornton said on that chilly morning in Alberta, while Jones was sitting in the corner, unstrapping his pads.

Three takeaways: Sharks' power outage continues vs Blues

Three takeaways: Sharks' power outage continues vs Blues

SAN JOSE – The Sharks’ suffered one of their worst defeats of the season, getting shut out by a Blues club that had been having tremendous difficulty keeping the puck out of its own net lately. The three main takeaways from the ugly 4-0 loss…

1 – Thornton awaiting punishment?
It’s difficult to say whether the NHL will further punish Thornton for spearing Paul Stastny. Perhaps the five-minute major and game misconduct midway through regulation was plenty for the transgression. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was fined for a similar play in a December game Ottawa in on Erik Karlsson, though, and it wouldn’t completely shock me if Thornton gets Monday’s game off against Winnipeg as those kinds of stick infractions are frowned upon. We’ll see.

The bigger issue though is just how confused the Sharks looked without their top line center. They managed just 11 shots over the final 29 minutes when Thornton was kicked out, and never really looked like they were into the game after that. Perhaps that was partly due to St. Louis turning up the intensity, but signing Thornton to an extension only looks that much more important after witnessing how the team played without him – even if he is slowing down a bit, and looking for that first goal into a manned net.

2 – Still powerless
It’s baffling just how bad the Sharks power play looks on most nights. Saturday was no different. Sure, Joe Pavelski should have converted on that five-on-three, but that was really their only dangerous chance on that advantage. Then, after the Blues gifted them a four-on-three power play after Thornton’s major, they didn’t get any good looks on that one, either.

This was a Blues penalty killing unit that had been brutal lately, too, allowing at least one power play goal against in eight of its last nine games. The Sharks got just three shots on goal in 3:20 of power play time, while allowing Colton Parayko to score on a brief St. Louis advantage.

“The power play could have been a turning point for is in a positive way for us, and wasn’t,” Pete DeBoer said.

Brenden Dillon said: “Special teams are huge. It can win and lose games, and tonight unfortunately we were on the opposite side of that.”

The Sharks are now just 15-for-106 on the power play since Nov. 1 (14.1 percent). On this team, that’s inexcusable.

3 – Sinking in the standings
The Ducks, Kings and Oilers all won on Saturday night, making the division as tightly packed as it’s been in some time. San Jose has dropped to third place, four points behind the Ducks and one point behind Edmonton, although the Sharks have played two fewer games than each. They’re also just three points ahead of Calgary, whom they lost to on Wednesday, with three games in hand.

The Sharks continue to give up points to Western Conference opponents, too. While they’ve feasted on the east, going 15-6-0, they are just 10-10-2 against the west. Nine of their next 10 are in the Western Conference, too, so that had better start changing.