Wilson improves Sharks without blockbuster move

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Wilson improves Sharks without blockbuster move

The hints that the Sharks would be idle at the trade deadline came in tiny but perceptible waves. Doug Wilson kept getting asked about players being moved out and he kept talking about players coming back in. They talked trades, he talked health.And even for someone who hates the idea of playing with his media friends during trading season, he was unusually coy.But after a road trip so wretched that Todd McLellan being hit in the head by an opponents stick could be considered a high point, the suspicion that Wilson was fibbing about his teams activity remained strong.

And in the end, it was or seeing his coach get clocked caused him to sit up and take notice. Either way, the Sharks made serious moves on Rick Nash and James Van Riemsdyk before pulling off a deadline deal that netted them two seemingly useful pieces in Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi from Colorado in exchange for Jamie McGinn and prospects Michael Sgarbossa and Mike Connelly.RELATED: Sharks made deadline deal with Avs (21 comments)
Winnik, who likely will take McGinn's spot on the third line, and Galiardi, who likely becomes a right wing on the fourth line, would be regarded as immediate help for a team that hit E on their recent road trip, but Wilsons seeming disinterest in the market was in fact seeming.According to multiple sources, he worked with the Flyers to strike a deal for Van Riemsdyk, the 22-year-old left winger, and also tried to convince the Blue Jackets to talk Nash without including the name Logan Couture. But when those didnt happen (neither Van Riemsdyk nor Nash moved), Wilson scrambled to do the Colorado deal, beating the deadline by about an hour.Winnik, who makes 950,000, is an unrestricted free agent with penalty killing skills who was a more dynamic player when he was with Phoenix. Galiardi, who is 22, makes 700,000 and is a restricted free agent. Colorado had wanted to package Winnik and Galiardi separately, according to sources, but couldnt make both deals work and therefore settled for the group play San Jose offered.When Dominic Moore, the checking winger from Tampa Bay, is put into the trade mix, the Sharks have essentially changed half their third and fourth lines, and still have Martin Havlat expected to come off the ouchie list in two weeks. In short, the Sharks tried to make big moves, acknowledged that this wasnt the market for that made medium-sized moves, and are hoping that lots of tweaking can substitute for one big splash.The one big splash was largely prevented by the roster and talent logjam. After you remove the untradeables (Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Michal Handzus) and the ungettables (Logan Couture, Ryane Clowe, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns and eventually Joe Pavelski), there wasnt a lot to love here. Lots of journeymen, a hunk of undertested youth, and not a lot of marketability.That he got what he did for McGinn, having his best year, and two prospects, of which Sgarbossa is considered the superior of the two, is actually not a bad score at all, but it is not the seismic move that he apparently sought, nor does it change the central core.So these San Jose Sharks, the ones you saw just endure the Bump-In-The-Head road trip, are the ones you will white-knuckle into April.Indeed, after years of being the popular off-brand Cup pick, the Sharks have been supplanted as media darlings by Nashville, which acquired Paul Gaustad from Buffalo and Andrei Kostitsyn from Montreal.But San Jose has now changed itself at the edges again, as they have in deadline days past, and theyll find out starting Tuesday if theyve relocated their fizz.

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.