Burish Sharks' first offseason move


Burish Sharks' first offseason move

The Sharks dipped into the unrestricted free agent waters on Sunday in the person of 29-year-old forward Adam Burish, who agreed to a four-year contract with the club worth a reported 1.8 million a year on average. A veteran of six NHL seasons, Burish spent the last two in Dallas after winning the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Burish is expected to help fill out the Sharks' bottom two lines, but more than that, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is adding some personality and enthusiasm to a locker room that lacked exactly that last season.

If you spend any time around him, this guy just loves the game, Wilson said on a conference call with the local media, shortly after noon. Hes contagious his enthusiasm, how he plays and how he lives. Were trying to re-establish our identity of going at people and playing that way. He is a guy that just fits right in with our group and with what were trying to accomplish. Hes a heartbeat type of guy.

Burish was the first call that Wilson made after 9:00 a.m. PST, when all unrestricted free agents became eligible to negotiate with other teams. Todd McLellan was also on the call while on vacation in Hawaii. Although he fielded offers from several other clubs, Burish decided the Sharks were the best fit. He played college hockey with Joe Pavelski, is familiar with Marty Havlat from his days in Chicago, and won a championship with Antti Niemi.

Its always a team that Ive liked. I obviously have some real good friends there, Burish said.

It wasnt an easy decision. I wont say that. We spoke with other teams, but I dont care about those other teams anymore, to be honest, he said. Im really happy with where Im at. Im thrilled, and Im excited to get moving and get out there soon.

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It didnt take long for him to text his buddy Pavelski, either, whom he works out with in the summer.

Its one of the first things he said after the deal was done, is Lets go win a Cup.' Pavelski said.

Hes not going to let anyone take the night off, and thats the biggest thing. You have to work every night and every day to get better, and he brings that attitude, which is great.

One of the more outspoken players in the league, Burish couldnt conceal his passion on a conference call shortly after the deal was announced. This is, after all, the guy that called Chris Pronger the biggest idiot in the league after the 2010 finals in which his Blackhawks defeated Prongers Flyers (Burish later apologized for the remark).

He knows hes not going to be a guy that scores 20 goals a season (he has just 25 in 297 career games), but Burish will undoubtedly be one of the more gregarious inhabitants of the Sharks dressing room.

They know the way I play. Everybody kind of knows the way I play. For me, I want to bring some excitement. I want to pull some guys along, he said.

Winning a Stanley Cup, for me, its like a sick drug. You just want more of it and more of it, and cant get enough of it. I want a chance to do it again. I hope I can bring some of that enthusiasm and excitement, and hopefully pull guys along with me, with that excitement I have.

On the ice, Burish may join what was an awful penalty-killing unit. The Sharks will be much more aggressive in that area of the game after finishing 29th last season.

In Dallas, Burish averaged nearly a minute-and-a-half per game on the PK on what was the 13th-ranked unit.

Doug talked a little bit about it, just how he wants to have a different mentality and different attitude, Burish said. Kind of like, were going to go at you and were not going to give you too much respect. Were not going to be scared going out there on the penalty kill. Were going to take away your time and space, and were going to be aggressive.

Burish is signed through the 2015-16 season.

The term was something that works very well in our range, Wilson said.

With the addition of Burish, the Sharks will not negotiate with free agent forward Daniel Winnik, who had not yet signed with anyone as of Sunday afternoon. Torrey Mitchell inked a three-year contract with Minnesota earlier in the day. Other free agents that have likely played their last games with the Sharks are defensemen Colin White and Jim Vandermeer, and forwards Dominic Moore and Brad Winchester.

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Wilson said: This isnt a negative against anybody else, but were very clear on how we want to reestablish our identity. Not just on our PK, but how we play the game. Bringing Brad Stuart in we want people that are aggressive, that go at you.

Thats pretty consistent with what we identified we wanted to do, and well continue to go forward building that type of team.

Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman


Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman

CHICAGO – The Sharks used their first pick on the second day of the draft to select defenseman Mario Ferraro at 49th overall.

The Sharks acquired the second round pick from New Jersey earlier in the week as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

Ferraro, a five-foot-11, 185-pound Toronto native, will attend the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in the fall. The 18-year-old posted 41 points (8g, 33a) in 60 games for Des Moines of the USHL last season.

“I describe myself as an offensive defenseman that takes pride in the d-zone,” Ferraro said. “Obviously, I like to get involved offensively. I think I’m a good skater, and I transition the puck up the ice quick. I also like to be physical in the d-zone and use my body.”

Ferraro said he needs to work on "my shot, especially. Getting pucks through to the net to create scoring chances, and I also want to work on when and when not to get up in the play, and reading the play better.”

Ferraro, the 78th-ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting and a left-handed shot, had about 20 friends and family in attendance at the draft.

“I’m very honored to be wearing this jersey right now. It was amazing. It’s been an amazing day so far.”

The Sharks chose center Josh Norris with their first round pick (19th overall) on Friday.

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'


Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

CHICAGO – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is typically restrained in his public praise for players in the system. “We don’t like to over promote our prospects” is a phrase he’s used countless times.

That’s what made his instant comparison of Sharks first round pick center Josh Norris to a current core player so unexpected.

“We think – I hate doing this, but I’m going to – [Norris has] a lot of the Logan Couture attributes to him,” Wilson said on Friday at United Center, shortly after presenting Norris with a teal sweater.

Wilson also made note of Norris’ confidence, which was evident in the 18-year-old’s media availability. Norris described himself as “a 200-foot player. I think I can give you a little bit of everything: power play, penalty kill, faceoffs, can chip in offensively. I think I kind of do a little bit of everything.” He added that he attempts to pattern his game to Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.

Like most players that aren’t top five selections, Norris isn’t likely to make the NHL roster in the fall. He’s set to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

Still, Wilson suggested that it might not take long for the six-foot, 189-pound Oxford, Michigan native to make the leap.

“He’s a kid, the way he plays and the way he thinks, he potentially could fast track. So, we’ll see,” Wilson said.

Norris had some familial help on his journey to draft day. His father Dwayne had a few cups of coffee in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques more than two decades ago, playing 20 career games from 1993-96.

Dwayne Norris was right there to congratulate his son, who was no sure thing to go in the first round as the 34th ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting.

“He just said how proud of me he was, and it was kind of a big moment we had that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Norris said about his conversation with his father.

Norris’ stats suggest he has an ability to create offense, as he posted 27 goals and 61 points in 61 games for the U.S. National Under-18 team last season, and added 12 goals and 26 points in 25 games in the USHL.

“I think I’m a little bit of a goal scorer and a playmaker,” Norris said. “I think I’m really good in my defensive zone. I think I have a lot of upside on the offensive side of my game that I’m going to continue to work on.”

Wilson said: “We think he’s a mature player.”

Norris had a strong showing at the NHL combine, leading all 104 draft-eligible players in attendance in five of the 14 fitness tests. Those results, along with a strong interview, made Norris an appealing target for San Jose.

“He’s arguably one of the most athletic guys in the combine,” Wilson said. “His interview was phenomenal. If you go back in his history in big games he’s stepped up in a big way, and that’s the type of guy we’re looking for.”

Norris, who played baseball as a shortstop until age 13, said: “I wasn’t too nervous going to the combine. … I just tried to make good impressions on teams. The physical testing aspect of it, I’ve always been a pretty good athlete.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Norris will make his first-ever trip to California in early July to take part in the Sharks’ development camp.

* * *

Just before the Sharks’ contingent made its way to the stage to select Norris, Wilson was spotted talking with Washington general manager Brian MacLellan. After a brief exchange, MacLellan shook his head, and Wilson went back to the San Jose table and gathered his group to head to the podium.

Asked about the chat, Wilson said it was not about the 19th overall pick.

“We were actually looking at some other things, some other picks that we had,” Wilson said. “Some teams had reached out to us, and we’re planting our seeds a little bit for tomorrow already.”

The draft concludes on Saturday, with the second round beginning at 7 a.m. PT.