Wading into some Sharks mailbag questions in the middle of what has become a fairly busy July for the club.
If the Sharks do get Shane Doan, where do you think he would be slotted? And who is moved down to the third line?
If the Sharks are somehow able to acquire Shane Doan theres a report out now that the club has formally offered him a contract I would envision him taking the place of Ryane Clowe on the right side of the second line, with Logan Couture and Marty Havlat. I dont foresee the coaching staff breaking up the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski combo on the top line, after Thornton had another productive season and Pavelski reached a career-high with 31 goals. Doan is also an effective power play player, and had five goals and 14 assists on the man advantage last season.
RELATED: Doan interested in Sharks ... at least four other teams, too
Thats all contingent upon the team not making any other major moves, though. That being said
Should Doug Wilson be able to land Doan, what moves would you anticipate would be done in terms of salary cap space?
Signing Shane Doan would not be cheap, and right now, the Sharks have 11 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies signed next year to the NHL roster for 64.6 million. That leaves just about 5.5 million under the cap.
I would expect the 35-year-old Doan will want nothing less than a three-year contract for between 4-5 million annually, and although that would keep the Sharks under the cap, its always good to have some wiggle room during the season in case you want to make any further improvements in the coming months. Also, does Sharks ownership want to reach the ever-increasing cap once again, after losing upwards of 15 million last season? We cant be sure thats the case.
Adding Doan could very well mean the end of Clowe (3.625 million cap hit) or Douglas Murray (2.5 million cap hit) in a Sharks uniform, unless the team somehow finds a way to move Michal Handzus and his 2.5 million (Handzus has one year left on his deal and a no-movement clause). After an unproductive season, though, its doubtful the Sharks would even be able to find a taker for the aging veteran.
Besides Shane Doan, who would be the best player left in free agency for the Sharks to target?
The best player left, skill-wise, would be Alex Semin, but I dont think hed be a good fit for the Sharks. Sure, he can put the puck in the net, but Semin carries with him the reputation that hes not a team-first kind of guy. I dont think thats the kind of player the Sharks want at the moment, as evidenced by their reasoning behind adding Adam Burish on July 1.
One name that fans are familiar with is Kyle Wellwood, who put up 47 points (18g, 29a) with the Winnipeg Jets last season after the Sharks allowed him to leave at the end of the 2011 campaign. The club clearly would have been better off with Wellwood as their third line center last season rather than Handzus, who was scratched from the lineup at various times down the stretch and in the playoffs. Of course, bringing back Wellwood would essentially be admitting the Sharks made a mistake in the first place by allowing him to walk.
The bottom line? There isnt much left on the free agent market, and Im a little surprised the Sharks werent more active after the Burish and Brad Stuart signings. This team still lacks forward depth, and a core group that hasnt been able to take the next step, remains untouched.
Right now Jamie McGinn is currently in arbitration with the Avs. If he doesn't sign with them, do you think there's any chance he would resign with the Sharks?
Well for one thing Jamie McGinn will either sign a contract with Colorado before arbitration or it will get settled that way. Hes not an unrestricted free agent, nor will he be. The Avalanche consider him a part of their impressive young nucleus of forwards, and with San Joses disinterest in re-signing Daniel Winnik, that trade is looking worse and worse.
I know its only July, but the Avalanche, who missed out on the postseason last year, could be a real sleeper team next season. Some late-season changes last year gave them a boost, and theyve signed some good players this summer, including former Islanders winger P.A. Parenteau.
Were the coaching staff changes made by Todd McLellan or GM Doug Wilson?
My impression is that the changes were initiated by Wilson, but McLellan was absolutely part of the process.
While were on the topic, I have to admit I was a little surprised that it was Matt Shaw who was let go while Jay Woodcroft was retained. Shaw was in charge of the Sharks power play for the last three seasons, and it finished in the top five in each of those years, including second overall in 2011-12. Woodcroft led the teams penalty kill strategy, which, as we all know, was the teams weakest link.
Do you hear anything more about Rick Nash joining the Sharks or has that door closed?
Nothing new on that front, but the door is certainly not closed. As Ive said before, the Sharks wont include Logan Couture in a deal for Nash, but I do believe they would consider moving Pavelski for the Blue Jackets captain.
Like many others, I still believe the New York Rangers are the heavy favorites to land Nash, especially after they struggled to score goals in the playoffs and with Marian Gaborik out until December following shoulder surgery. Furthermore, the Rangers have many more prospects to offer up than do the Sharks and most other clubs thought to be in pursuit of Nash, like Philadelphia.