Cancelled season could hurt several Sharks

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Cancelled season could hurt several Sharks

The 2012-13 NHL season is on life support, and the cord will likely be pulled some time in the middle of January if the league and players’ association can’t agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by then.

A lost season would be beneficial to absolutely no one, but there are certain players that it would damage more than others. That includes several on the San Jose Sharks’ roster.

Here, in no particular order, are the five Sharks with the most to lose should the league lose its second season in nine years.

Ryane Clowe - In his seven years in a Sharks sweater, Ryane Clowe has developed into one of the better power forwards in the league while also leading in the locker room. Still, it was a down year for the rugged forward in 2011-12. Clowe saw his point total go from 62 in 2010-11 to just 45 in 2011-12, as he battled through a number of injuries, including a concussion that was only revealed by the club after the season. The 30-year-old was due to make $4 million in 2012-13, and is an unrestricted free agent next summer. It would be hard to imagine him making that kind of money on a multiple-year deal considering his performance last year, injury history, and fearless warrior mentality – even if he is such an important locker room presence.

Michal Handzus - A lost season would likely mean that veteran center Michal Handzus, set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has played his last game in the NHL. The Sharks erred when they signed him to a two-year deal in the summer of 2011, as Handzus never found his groove and was benched at the end of the season and in the playoffs, although it was later revealed that he had been battling a hip injury throughout the season. Even if a shortened NHL season begins in mid-January, Handzus may not be in the team’s plans, depending on the progression of James Sheppard in Worcester.

Jason Demers - After he showed such promise in 2010-11, Jason Demers’ development took a step backwards last season. This year, Demers seems to be having a solid season in Finland, where he has five goals and 16 assists for 21 points in 30 games for Karpat in the competitive SM-liiga. He’s still just 24 years old, so Demers could very well rebound and become a solid NHL blueliner going into restricted free agency this summer. But, he’ll need a season to show that last year was just a bump in the road.

Dan Boyle - Forget for a second that Dan Boyle was set to make nearly $7 million this season, after already losing a year of his prime in 2004-05 – preventing him from defending his Stanley Cup championship with Tampa Bay. The 36-year-old knows time is not on his side if he wants to make a run at another championship, which is likely the reason he has been among the more outspoken players throughout the work stoppage. Boyle is signed through 2013-14, but a full no-trade clause last season is now just a limited no-trade clause and Boyle’s name was tossed around in a few trade rumors this summer.

Thomas Greiss - The Sharks like both of their young goaltenders currently playing for Worcester, in 25-year-old Alex Stalock and 22-year-old Harri Sateri. Stalock, in particular, could be NHL-ready in 2013-14 to at least be Antti Niemi’s backup. Thomas Greiss had a decent season in 2011-12, but it was not enough for him to be considered a surefire future starter in the NHL. This season would have been a great opportunity for Greiss to show if he belongs in the league for good, especially if Niemi, who had an inconsistent 2011-12, got off to a slow start. Instead, a lost season could mean the Sharks would move on from Greiss and allow him to leave via unrestricted free agency while promoting Stalock.

Sharks conclude NHL draft with five more forwards in the system

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Sharks conclude NHL draft with five more forwards in the system

CHICAGO – After nabbing a center in the first round on Friday, the Sharks added four more forwards and one defenseman to conclude the second day of the annual NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, held this year at United Center.

The Sharks weren’t explicitly trying to restock their forward cabinet, according to general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Tim Burke, although the club did make two separate moves in surrendering some later round picks to move up in the fourth round (to take center Scott Reedy) and sixth round (to take left wing Sasha Chmelevski).

First, though, it was defenseman Mario Ferraro in the second round at 49th overall. The offensive defenseman was a player that the Sharks targeted, using the pick they acquired from New Jersey last Friday as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

“He’s got a lot of speed, offensive guy, exciting,” Burke said. “Puck-moving type of guy.”

Wilson said: “We’re very pleased with the d-man. He’s a very dynamic, athletic guy, great skater. He was a guy that we moved up a little bit aggressively to get because that round, you could see people going after who they wanted. He is a guy that we identified.”

After moving up from the fifth round to the fourth round last Friday, again because of the Mueller trade, the Sharks jumped up 21 more spots in the fourth round by obtaining the Rangers pick at 102nd overall for the 123rd and 174th selections.

Center Scott Reedy is a player that Burke has high hopes for, projecting the Minnesota native as a “second line right winger [with] high-end potential.” Burke pointed out that Reedy, who is friends with first round pick Josh Norris, occasionally played on the same line with Norris for each of the last two seasons with the U.S. Under-18 team.

“He’s a big, strong forward that can play both positions (center and right wing),” Burke said.

Right wing Jacob McGrew, an Orange, CA native, went to the Sharks in the fifth round despite missing all of his first season in junior with a lower body injury suffered in training camp with Spokane (WHL).

“We knew about him before he went up there,” Burke said. “He’s a California kid. … If he was healthy he probably would have gone earlier.”

The Sharks again moved up to snag Huntington Beach native and center Chmelevski at 185 overall, and made their sixth and final pick in the 212th position by taking left wing Ivan Chekhovich in the seventh round. Both players look to have some offensive skill, based on their numbers and Youtube highlights.

Burke was surprised that both players were around so late.

“I thought they had pretty good years and they kind of slipped in the draft,” he said. “We weighed that versus some other more project-type guys, and we thought they had more offense and finish to their game. They just kept sliding, so we took a chance on them.”

Wilson said: “We moved up for the guys we wanted, and then there were some skilled guys at the end that we were surprised were still there. … We’ll go back and take a look how it all went, but we feel, I think, really good about where we ended up with this.”

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

CHICAGO – Ilya Kovalchuk is still reportedly mulling over a return to the NHL, four years after he surprisingly walked away from a monstrous contract with the New Jersey Devils to play in the KHL.

The Sharks have been linked to Kovalchuk, in large part because of Pete DeBoer, who was Kovalchuk’s most recent head coach. In 2011-12, Kovalchuk was a dangerous scoring winger under DeBoer, helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final.

It was apparently a good working relationship between the player and the coach for the two seasons they were together, DeBoer said on Friday at the NHL Entry Draft at United Center.

“I loved Kovy in New Jersey,” DeBoer said. “We went to a Stanley Cup Final together. He was a huge piece for us there. I really enjoyed coaching him. I haven’t seen him in four or five years now. I’m sure there’s still a lot of game left there.”

DeBoer said he’s had no contact with the 34-year-old Kovalchuk, who would have to be traded by New Jersey before signing a new contract with any other NHL club. Still, it seems like the Sharks’ coach might welcome a reunion with Kovalchuk, who posted 78 points in 60 games with SKA Saint Petersburg last season, and has 816 points (417g, 399a) in 816 career NHL games with Atlanta and New Jersey.

“I had a really good relationship with him. I had a lot of respect for him as a player and a person,” DeBoer said.

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DeBoer seemed as uncertain as everyone else as to whether Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will return to the Sharks or move on to other clubs as free agents.

But, naturally, it’s on his mind.

“You think about it all the time,” DeBoer said. “They’re obviously important pieces in the history of the franchise, and in our group. I also understand the business side of this, and there’s always tough decisions to make. The way I approach these type of things is I’m going to go to Canada and relax, and Doug [Wilson] is going to make those decisions. I’m sure we’ll have a good group come training camp.”

“We’ve got a really good core group of guys and some tough decisions that have to be made. The one thing Doug and his group has shown over the years is their ability to stay competitive, to find a way even after making tough decisions. I have all the faith in the world in that, and I’m excited about training camp.”

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The Sharks lost David Schlemko in the expansion draft earlier in the week. Vegas then flipped him to the Canadiens for a fifth round pick in 2019.

“I think for David, it’s a great opportunity for him, especially going to Montreal,” DeBoer said. “For us, it’s an opportunity for a young guy to jump in. The one thing we have in the organization is some depth. There’s a lot of guys knocking on the door, and guys hungry to grab that job.”