Brodie's anwers to your lockout questions

892381.jpg

Brodie's anwers to your lockout questions

1. How long will the lockout last?Gut instinct says somewhere near, but not long before American Thanksgiving. Both sides have a lot of dollars and momentumat stake once the calendar hits December between nationally televised games, HBOs 247 buildup, and the Winter Classic itself. Clearly,the combination of those elements add significant extra pressure to negotiations.

RELATED: Locked out -- NHL enters labor stoppage
2. Is it possible the lockout will sacrifice an entire season?Unfortunately I have to say yes, it is a possibility. Doing the math, if we dont get a resolution in principle by December 15th, Im not sure how ameaningful schedule could be logistically laid out or played out. Im looking at that mid-December date (or somewhere around it) as the breaking point for a hockey season. 3. If a resolution is reached, how quickly could the season begin?After talking with players and coaches, the best estimate is 2 weeks. This would be the barest of bare minimums. Its hardlyenough time to get a decent training camp plus say, 2 exhibition games. However I think all teams, under the same disadvantage,could launch after at least 14 official days together. 4. All those Sharks headed overseas... how fast can they come back?Instantly. The Sharks lead the NHL in players headed to EuropeRussia... and those guys all have immediate "outs" in their contracts. Essentially Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and friends... could all be on the next flight back to California. Foreign teams understand they are truly borrowing NHL players.
RELATED: Sharks headed overseas -- Murray Couture Thornton
5. Are players headed overseas just to make money?Absolutely not. In fact, between paying hefty foreign taxes, and funding their own insurance policies... players are likely to pay a large portion of the earnings they make. Players are doing this primarily to keep their routines in order, their skills sharp, and their competitive edge intact. Although I know some of the Sharks will enjoy their overseas life experience, their travels are hardly vacation-status.6. What would a condensed season look like?It will be ugly. It will be difficult on the players. Look at what the NBA did last season, slamming in 66 games across a matter of 4 months.Often, teams played 3 nights in a row. No offense to the association but Im not sure how hockey bodies would fare in thatextent given their greater physical exertion. Possibilities to ease the workload could include expanding rosters, or even increasing the amount of players that can dress on a given night. Regardless, I'm of the opinion a shortened season should contain no less than 50 games. In 1994-95, the schedule was cut to 48, but I think with anything fewer, the integrity of resultsplayoffs begin to be compromised and questioned.7. When would the regular season schedule get tossed?We already know that the first 3 preseason games for San Jose have been cancelled. It's my best guess that somewhere betweenthe 27th and the 29th, the regular season schedule has to be voided. Going back to that 2 week minimum-camp theory,it's easy to look at the NHL's scheduled "Opening Night" of October 11th, and do the math backwards.RELATED: Sharks owners release letter to fans concerning lockout
8. What again... is the main sticking point with negotiations?Money, of course. The NHL has grown to a 3.3 billion dollar per year business. However while some teams are thriving financially, others are hurting dearly. It's between the players and owners to divvy up that hypothetical pot of "Hockey Related Revenue" and keep everyone afloat. Conflicting numbers and percentages have been thrown back and forth, but the general assumption is that the gap in negotiations is currently between 500 million and 1 billion. 9. What can the optimistic fan do, in the mean time?Stay hopeful, updated, and most importantly: civil. The one thing players and owners agree on, is that the fan is losing out greatly for every missed NHL game. My suggestion... find classy, thoughtful, and impactful ways to make your voice heard. The situation can not be controlled, but your actions can. Support the inaugural season of the San Francisco Bulls (Sharks new ECHL affiliate). Support the San Jose State men's hockey team. And if you're in the greater Eastern Seaboard... support the Worcester Sharks (San Jose's AHL affiliate). If you truly love the game, don't let the disgruntled fanbase take a step backwards.RELATED: NHL deputy commissioner Daly says revenue split doesn't work
10. What will you do until there's a season?Thanks for asking! I am employed full-time by Comcast SportsNet and fortunately this lockout does not affect that one bit. Although it won't be my preferred assignment of covering the Sharks, they will inevitably keep me very busy reporting on stories or hosting studio shows. I will clearly miss working with Randy, Drew, Bakes, Heddy, Curtis, and Males... but do know that whenever the NHL is back, CSN will be ready, with bold plans for hockey season.

Sharks have bevy of young defensemen to replace Schlemko

Sharks have bevy of young defensemen to replace Schlemko

CHICAGO – If there were a best-case scenario for the Sharks regarding the expansion draft, it probably would have been the Vegas Golden Knights selecting Mikkel Boedker, and the three years and $12 million remaining on his contract.

Instead, the Golden Knights swiped David Schlemko. While the 30-year-old was a nice third pair defenseman in his only year with the Sharks, it was probably the second-best case from San Jose’s perspective. The team should be able to fill the vacancy internally without too much difficulty. Schlemko had two goals and 18 points in 62 games last season, and has three years left on his contract at $2.1 million annually.

“I think it’s worked out well for all parties involved,” said general manager Doug Wilson. “You go into expansion, you know you’re going to lose a player. David came in and played well for us. We signed him as a free agent, so we didn’t have to give up an asset to get him. So, we think we moved through the expansion phase with the good young players coming in that are ready to play and compete for that spot. That’s probably as good as we could have expected to come out of expansion, in that position.”

If there are no other major moves on the Sharks’ blue line this offseason, the spot to play alongside Brenden Dillon will be there for the taking in training camp. There’s no reason, of course, to break up the top four of Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun, and Brent Burns-Paul Martin.

Dylan DeMelo would figure to have the inside track on the job, but there are others like Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan, each of whom signed two-year contract extensions on June 17. They served as the AHL Barracuda’s top defense pair for most of the season.

The 24-year-old Ryan, a sixth round pick in 2012, posted 10 goals and 49 points in 65 games last season in the AHL. He was recalled once by the Sharks but did not play. Heed, 26, is an offensive defenseman that tallied 14 goals and 56 points in 55 games with the Barracuda and played in one game with the Sharks on Jan. 11 in Calgary. Ryan is a left-handed shot; Heed, like Schlemko and DeMelo, shoots right.

Regarding Ryan, Wilson said: “He’s right on track. He’s the type of guy that – if you look around the league at the number of young defensemen that are making an impact – he thinks and plays the game the right way.”

“Watching [Ryan and Heed] play together, I would say they were arguably the best defense pair in the AHL last year.”

There are other defensemen to monitor, too. The Sharks signed soon-to-be 25-year-old Czech Radim Simek to a one-year contract on May 23, beating out several of other NHL teams to acquire his services. 

“He’s a puck-moving guy,” Wilson said. “He’s got a little bite to him, too. Not tall, but thick and strong. We think he’s a guy that has the skill set to step right in and play. We’ll see how much time it takes him to adjust to the smaller rink.”

And don’t forget about Jeremy Roy, either. The first pick of the second round in the deep 2015 draft (31st overall), Roy is expected to join the organization next season, likely starting his pro career with the Barracuda after recovering from a significant knee injury that ended his junior season in late October.

“He had a major repair, but he’s back healthy,” Wilson said. “We’ll see him this summer, and he’s a puck-moving guy. … Injuries you can’t control, but we have high expectations for Jeremy.”

* * *

Vegas shipped Schlemko to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday for a fifth round pick in the 2019 draft.

Sharks prepare for 2017 NHL Draft with eight picks in hand

Sharks prepare for 2017 NHL Draft with eight picks in hand

CHICAGO – The glass-half-full observer looks at Sharks’ recent draft record and sees some late round picks that could be on the cusp of making the NHL on a full time basis. 

Defenseman Joakim Ryan (7th round, 2012), center Danny O’Regan (5th round, 2012) and forward Kevin Labanc (6th round, 2014) have all exceeded expectations so far. Dylan DeMelo (6th round, 2011) could also be included in that group.

The glass-half-empty observer, though, sees that the Sharks have traded away a pair of recent first rounders that didn’t pan out. Nikolay Goldobin (27th overall, 2014) was dealt to Vancouver in late February for Jannik Hansen and a fourth round pick, while Mirco Mueller (18th overall, 2013) is off to New Jersey for a pair of picks in this year’s draft.

It’s all part of the uncertainty of selecting what are mostly teenagers in the annual NHL Entry Draft, which takes place at Chicago’s United Center this weekend. The Sharks’ first pick during Friday night’s first round sits at 19th overall, and they have seven more selections on Saturday when rounds two-through-seven take place.

Doug Wilson is used to picking in the mid-to-late first round, as the Sharks have missed the playoffs just once under his 14-year watch.

“I think we always take the best player available,” he said. “I think it’s a good draft. … We feel pretty comfortable at 19 we’ll get a pretty good player.”

The Sharks have never selected 19th, and Wilson left open the possibility that they could move up or down.

“People move up and down all the time. We’ve got a history of doing that so teams do reach out to us,” he said.

The Sharks moved up to pick Mueller in 2013, sending a second round pick to Detroit to jump ahead two places in a deal that now looks regrettable. The next year, they moved down seven spots before selecting Goldobin.

Less than a week ago, the Sharks didn’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds. But in dealing Mueller (and a fifth rounder this year) to the Devils, they acquired second and fourth round picks from New Jersey (49 and 123 overall). They also have a pair of sixth round picks and three in the seventh round.

While this year’s draft isn’t thought to be especially strong, Wilson still expects there to be some good players available after the first round. Getting some assets in exchange for Mueller, who had been passed over in the organization, was critical.

“I think it was important for us to fill in the grid like we did. I think it’s a good draft,” Wilson said. “Realistically, it’s probably not a Connor McDavid-Auston Matthews type draft, but there are some very good players in this draft that will go on and have very good careers.”

As for losing Mueller and Goldobin recently, the general manager seemed to say that that those are the breaks when you’re a team doesn’t make one of the first few selections.

“First of all, you’ve got to clarify where we pick and have picked. You’re not talking about top five picks or lottery picks, so often – and this is not to take away from Mirco and Goldie, because they’re really good players and good kids – you move players when you’re trying to win or trying to make things happen,” he said. 

“Historically, our scouts have done an outstanding job, one of the best records for a scouting staff in the league, since 2003 in particular. But, you can’t be afraid to be bold and move things.”

* * *

Although the Sharks have never made a pick in the 19th overall spot, they’ve been around it. Players include Tomas Hertl (17th overall, 2012), Marcel Goc (20th overall, 2001) and Marco Sturm (21st overall, 1996). 

Some notable players around the league taken 19th overall include Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay, 2012), Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton, 2011), Nick Bjugstad (Florida, 2010), Chris Kreider (Rangers, 2009), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim, 2003) and Keith Tkachuk (Winnipeg, 1990).

* * *

The Sharks will hold their annual development camp from July 3-7 at their practice facility. It includes a scrimmage at SAP Center on Thursday, July 6.