Galiardi, Winnik react to Sharks debut

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Galiardi, Winnik react to Sharks debut

SAN JOSE Have the Sharks finally found the forward depth theyve been searching for, now that new acquisitions Daniel Winnik and TJ Galiardi are on board?

If their play in the 1-0 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday is any indication, the two newest members of the Sharks could provide just what Doug Wilson and the coaching staff wanted when they acquired the duo from Colorado in exchange for Jamie McGinn on Monday.

They brought a lot of energy. Theyre definitely going to be a big help, said Joe Thornton. Theyre both energetic players and they both control the puck well and see the ice well.

Lets start with Winnik. The 26-year-old skated alongside Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski in his first game with the Sharks, matched up primarily against the Flyers top line of Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell. In fact, Winnik spent nearly 19 minutes on the ice during even-strength play, leading all forwards. Thats not going to be a nightly occurrence as he gets eased onto the penalty-killing unit, which may take a few days, but the 6-2, 210-pounder was a big reason the Sharks were able to shut down the leagues highest-scoring offense.

I thought it went well. I thought we had some pretty good chemistry, with Pat and Joe. Its unfortunate we didnt score, but we did a great job shutting that top line down for them, Winnik said after the game.

Keeping Giroux at bay was especially impressive. The Flyers candidate for league MVP, Giroux is third in the league in points with 72. It was the first time since March 26, 2011, that Giroux was held without a shot on goal a span of 66 games.

Giroux sounded frustrated after the loss.

Im not going to get ten shots a game. Its not going to happen, he said. I know Ive got to do better in this kind of game. In games like that I want to play better. I think our line really didnt play good tonight.

Giroux didnt say so, but Winnik and Co. was a big reason or that.

Dan Winnik did a great job, said Matt Shaw, speaking to the media in place of McLellan, who missed the game with a concussion. Big guy, was put in a checkingoffensive role with the players he played with and against. You could see he was very adept at pucks on the wall, smart plays on what to do and when, very confident in doing it. Made you feel very comfortable having him on the ice.

Galiardi, meanwhile, provided good energy and an effective forecheck in almost 13 minutes of ice time against the Flyers. That includes a stretch late in the first period and early in the second when he was unable to play after taking a high hit from Philadelphias Zac Rinaldo.

TJ Galiardi played a strong game. He has that kind of slashing speed that always backs off teams a little bit, Shaw said. I think maybe he could have drawn a penalty or two tonight by the way he played.

He almost scored, too. In the third period, with the Sharks maintaining their 1-0 lead, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped him on the doorstep with a nice pad save.

Galiardi didnt care, or at least he wasnt letting on. He has come across as downright giddy since he found out about the trade, and a close call that nearly resulted in his first goal with the Sharks wasnt going to bring him down from his high.

It felt amazing, actually, he said. It was so nice to be out there and be on this side of the action. No better way to get it started than with a win, though.

As long we won, Im happy. It will come eventually. Youve got to get some chemistry with some guys and get used to playing with them a little. Make the reads, and know where theyre going. Im just happy we won.

The coaching staff sat down with Winnik and Galiardi before the game, and the players admitted that the systems employed by McLellan and the rest of the staff are pretty dissimilar than those they were used to with Colorado.

That might seem like a disadvantage at first, but it may have actually helped the pair in that they were thrown right into the fire.

Winnik explained.

The coaches didnt want to overload us with too much information. They kind of told us some simple system stuff, and then just said make reads and play hockey. Thats what we did, and I think as a team we attacked as five and defended as six, and really boxed them out when they got shots at our net.

Any time you over think, thats when you make mistakes. When you react and just play, thats when you play better.

Galiardi echoed his good friends sentiments.

The main thing is, just dont over think it, just go out and play. The systems are a lot different than what were used to, at the end of the day were all hockey players and we can make the reads.

So far, so good.

Both players did a really good job introducing themselves to their teammates and helping out with the result tonight, Shaw said.

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

The mere thought of Joe Thornton wearing a Kings sweater may be enough to cause some Sharks fans to lose their lunch.

But it might be a possibility.

According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, the Kings consider Thornton to be a “priority” should be hit the open market as a free agent. While the two sides are currently allowed to express mutual interest, NHL rules forbid them from discussing terms of any deal until Saturday at 9 a.m. PT.

Rosen points to a number of individuals in the Kings' organization that have ties to Thornton, including general manager Rob Blake, who played on the Sharks with Thornton from 2008-10. Mike O’Connell was Thornton’s general manager in Boston and currently serves as the Kings’ senior advisor to the general manager. Glen Murray, a former teammate and frequent linemate of Thornton’s with the Bruins for three-and-a-half seasons, is in Kings player development.

The Kings, under new management since replacing Dean Lombardi with Blake, and head coach Darryl Sutter with John Stevens, have put a priority on finding players this offseason that can get pucks to dangerous scoring areas. 

Adding one of the best passers in the history of the NHL would surely help in that regard. Thornton sits 13th in the NHL all-time with 1,007 assists.

Rosen writes: “Los Angeles has been a dominant possession team without being a high scoring team for the better part of the last six-plus seasons, and it was articulated earlier in the off-season that the team needed to do a better job of taking advantage of that possession discrepancy. In trying to find players with the ability to turn possession into actual production, the team has placed an emphasis on finding players capable of distributing the puck into high-danger in the attacking zone. There might not be another player in the NHL – let alone unrestricted free agents – who is as gifted of a passer of Thornton, which places the team’s needs in concert with the future Hall of Famer’s skill set.”

As reported here previously Thornton, who turns 38 on Sunday, is seeking a deal of three years. That might not be agreeable to the Sharks, who are likely to sign Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long-term and expensive contract extensions that would kick in with the 2018-19 season.

Of course, Thornton could also be using the Kings as leverage to get a new deal in San Jose, where he would prefer to remain.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.