McGinn trade derailed Sharks offense


McGinn trade derailed Sharks offense

CALGARY The San Jose Sharks season wasnt going all that swimmingly even before general manager Doug Wilson sent winger Jamie McGinn to Colorado as part of a trade for Daniel Winnik and TJ Galiardi at the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 27.

But in the eight games that the Sharks have played since the deal, to say that the team is having trouble putting the puck in the net is an understatement.

The Sharks have just 12 goals since the trade, or 1.50 per game. Compare that to the eight previous games with McGinn still in the lineup, and San Jose had 24, or 3.0 per game.

Simply put, this is a team that, as it stands right now, doesnt have enough scorers. If it misses the postseason tournament for the first time since 2003, the McGinn trade will end up being a big reason why.

While McGinn wasnt one of the most prolific point producers on the Sharks, the 23-year-old was in the midst of his best season as a pro. He had 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points, and coach Todd McLellan was complimentary of his improving game for virtually the entire season when asked about his rugged winger.

His presence and steady game also allowed McLellan to keep his top two scoring lines generally intact, give or take some tinkering here and there. Everything was in place.

But in the last eight games, the numbers speak for themselves. Ryane Clowe has a single goal; Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau have a goal and an assist; and Tommy Wingels, who was playing on the second line before he was hurt in Edmonton, has one assist in seven games.

McGinn was part of the Sharks second power play unit at the time of the trade, and his absence is noticeable there, too. The team is a combined 3-for-21 in the since the trade with a man advantage, and all three of those goals have come from the top unit, as Logan Couture has two and Joe Thornton has one.

Players like Brad Winchester, Dominic Moore and Benn Ferriero all saw shifts on the power play against the Flames on Tuesday, and the second power play unit has generated absolutely nothing, regardless of who skates there.

RECAP: Sharks take overtime loss to Flames, 3-2

As for Winnik and Galiardi, theyve now gone a combined 53 games without a single goal, and Winniks assist on March 3 is the only point between the two new players. Granted, Winnik sees time on the penalty kill, something McGinn didnt do while with the Sharks, but thats not enough to justify the scoring discrepancy.

In seven games with his new club, McGinn is a point-per-game player with five goals and two assists for seven points. Hes also seen his ice time increase by almost three minutes a game with the Avalanche.

The Sharks were already thin on offense to start the year, with Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi in Minnesota. Marty Havlat is still on the shelf, but was generally ineffective even before he suffered a partially torn hamstring in mid-December. Theres no guarantee Havlat will have an impact when he makes his return, either.

McGinns uptick in production, even while playing on a line with free-agent disappointment Michal Handzus, helped to replace some of the goals lost in the offseason.

McLellan, who saw his big guns Couture and Thornton combine for four points in the 3-2 overtime loss to Calgary, was asked about the lack of secondary scoring after the game.

You get two goals from Coutch, you need one or two a night from some guys that havent scored in a long time, he said. You look at Torrey Mitchell, hes been able to hit the scoreboard. Jim Vandermeer hit the scoreboard awhile ago, but other than that, there hasnt been much from anybody else.

For us to be successful, there has to be some depth of scoring.

Before the Sharks traded McGinn, there was.

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


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.

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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.