There is less than a month to go before the NHL playoffs begin, and the Sharks make their 10th straight appearance in the postseason tournament. Let’s see what’s in the mailbag…
Any chance we see [Tomas] Hertl back before playoffs? (Brian Neumann @Brian_Neumann)
Before the playoffs? Very, very unlikely. Hertl still isn’t skating very aggressively, and even if he does fully recover by mid-April, he would play some games in Worcester first. The Sharks have the luxury to send him to the AHL without requiring waivers.
Also, keep in mind that in order for the Sharks to activate Hertl before the playoffs, they would need to have enough room under the salary cap. If Brad Stuart becomes healthy over the next little while, which is expected, San Jose would probably not be able to activate Hertl until the playoffs begin.
Could we see him in the postseason? From what I’ve heard, there’s a chance, so long as he doesn’t experience any setbacks in his recovery. The Sharks would probably have to advance past the first round for that to happen.
Any news or thoughts on the resigning of [Dan] Boyle? Especially with [Jason] Demers’ play of late and [Mirco] Mueller in the farm system. (Curt F. @Cpowerforward17)
My gut feeling is that there’s about a 50-50 chance Boyle resigns here, and that may be being generous. If the two sides were on the same page, this would be done by now.
And, really, I wouldn’t blame either side if Boyle walked in the summer. He wants more than a one-year deal, and at 37 years old, it’s understandable he'd like one more substantial payday before hanging up his skates. Although he’s having an off year by his standards, I could see another NHL team offering him a two or three year deal for $5 million or so annually.
The Sharks won’t do that. As you mention, Demers is having an outstanding season, and I still believe the organization really likes Matt Tennyson. Mirco Mueller was recently deemed as having a “50-50” shot to make the team next season according to scouting director Tim Burke, so they must be pleased with his development, too.
How do you think coaches will manage two stellar goalies? (Anna Song Rojas @anawesrek)
It’s obvious after this week that the Sharks’ crease is again owned primarily by Antti Niemi. The Olympic break looked like it truly refreshed him. He said as much back on Feb. 26 after rejoining the team in Philadelphia, and the sincerity in his voice seemed genuine to me.
Alex Stalock has proven to be a more than capable backup, and, who knows, they may need him at some point in the postseason. If they do, he would have the confidence of the coaching staff and the team in front of him. It’s a nice luxury for the Sharks to have, and something they haven’t been able to boast of in several years.
Raffi Torres...what will his health status be come playoffs? Are they giving him more days off just to rest him and keep him healthy or is the knee not coming along as well as hoped? (Jeff Cairns)
I have a hard time believing that the Sharks would have activated Torres coming out of the Olympic break if they thought there was any chance he would miss four straight games. That being said, he’s taken warm-ups the last two games and is practicing with the team, so there’s no reason to doubt Todd McLellan when he says Torres could play on Tuesday against Florida.
The question then becomes, where would you put him? I still tend to think he’d replace Marty Havlat on the third line, even though Havlat has had some decent games lately. Perhaps the Sharks would go with a more skilled fourth line of Havlat, Andrew Desjardins and Tyler Kennedy.