McGinn thriving with Colorado

714142.jpg

McGinn thriving with Colorado

SAN JOSE Its been quite awhile since 23-year-old Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn has been on this kind of a hot streak. And it took a departure from San Jose for him to do it.

Maybe in junior hockey, McGinn said, when asked the last time he's been on such a run.

The winger has eight goals and four assists in 13 games with Colorado since he was sent East as part of a deal for Daniel Winnik and TJ Galiardi on Feb. 27, playing with skilled center Paul Stastny and David Jones.
KURZ: Sharks-Avalance: What to Watch For

Im not going to think about it too much. Im just going to continue to go out there and take every game like its a new game and continue to work hard. You dont want to jinx anything, you want to continue to work.

McGinn and the Avalanche arrived in San Jose on Sunday, giving him a chance to catch up with his old teammates. He had dinner with Logan Couture, Colin White, Torrey Mitchell, Ryane Clowe and Jason Demers last night.
KURZ: Reunion night at The Tank

On Monday morning, though, he was saying all the right things about a game that is essentially a must-win for his club. The Sharks and Avalanche each have 86 points and are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, and Colorado has just five games left as opposed to San Joses seven.

Its hockey, trades happen. You can be buddies off the ice, but once youre on the ice youve got to forget about it and worry about whats at hand," McGinn said. "With five games, every night is important, and you cant take a night off.

Whether you believe him or not, McGinn said that he hasnt thought about why the trade occurred in the first place. He was in the midst of a breakout year, and the deadline deal caught many by surprise, including him. Its still early, but its hard not to view it as a sweetheart of a deal for Colorado, even with Winniks improved play in the last week.

Im just forgetting about it. This is kind of a surreal moment, that you are traded and just seeing your old teammates again and being back at the Shark Tank, McGinn said. This was a special building to me, and the fans are energetic. I enjoyed playing here. Hopefully I can continue that in an Avalanche uniform, as well.

I havent thought about it. Its done and over with. Im happy, it worked out for me, and Im just going to continue to play.

REISS: Will the real Sharks please swim forward?

McGinn spent his time in San Jose this season generally on the third line with Mitchell and Michal Handzus. He was playing an average of 12:33 a night with the Sharks, but has seen his ice time jump by more than four minutes to 16:38 since joining Colorado.

Hes also getting a look on the top power play unit. Of his eight goals, three are with a man advantage.

With the ice time comes more confidence and you feel more a part of the game, he said. Im just trying to take it in stride, grab it, and go. Im just going to continue to take the ice time as it comes, continue to work hard, and hope that the success continues.

McGinn is also pleasing his head coach, Joe Sacco.

Jamies been excellent since hes been here, Sacco said. Hes played great for us. Hes been a very consistent player. I know that hes produced a lot offensively for us, hes got eight goals in 12 games, but I think even more than that hes solidified a line with Paul Stastny and David Jones. Hes been a real good fit with that group, and theyve been playing very well together lately.

Finally, McGinn was asked if he wouldnt mind sticking it to his old club tonight.

I mean, yeah, I want to win. We need the points just as bad as they do. Trade or no trade, both teams need the points, and thats all thats in my mind right now tonight is getting this win. We need it to be in the playoffs, so this is huge.

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

braun-justin-sharks-teal.jpg
AP

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

No one asked, but I’m going to begin this week’s mailbag with my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final – Preds in six. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to a few of your questions…

Most likely to be moved this off-season? (Nik @niknisj25)

If the Sharks do make a move – and I’ve argued here that I think it may be time for a shakeup – they’ll surely be looking for someone up front to boost the offense. In that case, they’d likely have to sacrifice a defenseman or two.

The Sharks defense is the strength of the organization at the moment, as they had one of the best one-through-seven groups in the NHL this season. But it’s also an expensive one. The Sharks have nearly $27 million committed to their top seven defensemen next season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic is due for a hefty raise beginning in 2018-19.

One name that could be intriguing to other teams is Justin Braun. The 30-year-old has been a part of the Sharks’ top shut down pair with Vlasic for several seasons now, and is signed for the next three years at a reasonable $3.8 million cap hit. The Sharks could potentially move him for offensive help, and slot in a guy like David Schlemko alongside Vlasic, while finally giving Dylan DeMelo a chance to play on a nightly basis on the third pair. A Vlasic-Schlemko pair could be more offensive than Vlasic-Braun, too, because as adept as they were at keeping the puck out of their own net, the Sharks didn’t get many goals from their defenders outside of Burns.

Of course, the upcoming expansion draft all but assures that nothing will happen until Las Vegas selects its team on June 21. If the Sharks lose a defenseman to the Golden Knights, they’ll be more reluctant to move another one. Still, with guys like Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Julius Bergman, Mirco Mueller and now Radim Simek in the pipeline, the club might be able to handle a couple departures.

How do we fix the power play next season? Bring in a coach that could help us? Change up the lines, or style of play? (adam smith @kickback408)

One thing that won’t be happening is a new coach, as Doug Wilson recently confirmed that Steve Spott would be back alongside Pete DeBoer. Bob Boughner could move on if he gets hired as a head coach elsewhere, but Boughner’s focus is the team’s defense and penalty kill.

Obviously, the future of the power play depends on who is on the roster, beginning with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Both saw their power play production dip this season.

Thornton went from 29 power play points in 2015-16 to 19 this season (he had eight power play goals in 2015-16, and just one this season). Marleau saw a decline from 25 power play points in 2015-16 to 16 last season. Even if both return, it may be time to try other bodies on the top unit.

Do you see Meier, Labanc and/or Sorensen having a breakout season next year? Or anyone else on the Barracuda? (Colin Dunn @ColinDunnACA)

Someone better had, because this team needs to start getting younger, and soon. One of the bigger disappointments of the 2016-17 season is that none of them apparently showed the coaching staff that they were prepared to play on a nightly basis at the NHL level.

Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen, I would surmise, are at the top of the depth chart as far as forwards go. Their line in the playoffs with center Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best through the early part of the series with Edmonton. As for Kevin Labanc, I think he’s fallen a bit since he had a brief run of success for the Sharks in December.

While the Sharks did a good job stockpiling some young players through the 2013-15 drafts, they’ve traded away a number of picks in recent years. In last year’s draft they didn’t have a first or third round pick; this year they don’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds; and in 2018 they are already without their second and third round picks. 

It’s great to accumulate young players, but at some point they have to break through. Now is the time.

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

After five seasons with the Sharks, Larry Robinson is leaving the organization.

Robinson, 65, spent the last three seasons as the club's director of player development. He served as an associate coach from 2012-14.

TSN in Montreal and the Montreal Gazette originally reported the news.

The Sharks confirmed that Robinson's contract would be expiring, and general manager Doug Wilson told NBC Sports California that the divorce was amicable, and "because of geography." Robinson lives in Florida.

According to the Montreal Gazette

Robinson’s contract with the Sharks expires on July 1, but agent Donnie Cape said Thursday that San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has given him permission to speak with other teams. Robinson lives in Bradenton, Fla., and the long travel distance to San Jose is one of big the reasons he’s looking for a new team to work for.

Robinson seemed to ponder retirement in 2014, but signed a three-year extension to remain in the Sharks' front office. He worked mostly from his home in Florida the past two seasons, making occasional trips to San Jose, including during training camp.

In the summer of 2015, Robinson underwent surgery for skin cancer.

Recognized as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Robinson won six Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens as a player, and holds the NHL record for playing 20 straight seasons in the playoffs. A 10-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner, Robinson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Robinson was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 1995-99, and the New Jersey Devils from 1999-2002 and again in 2005-06. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000. Robinson has nine Stanley Cup rings as a player and coach.

* * *

The Sharks did not renew the contract of pro scout Jason Rowe, who had been with the organization for the past nine seasons. Rowe focused on eastern NHL and AHL teams.