Wilson improves Sharks without blockbuster move


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.

Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes


Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes

It was late in the lockout-shortened 2013 season when Sharks general manager Doug Wilson really started to prepare for the future. Douglas Murray was dealt to Pittsburgh for a pair of second round selections. Ryane Clowe packed his bags for Broadway, in exchange for a second and a third round pick from the Rangers. Michal Handzus went to Chicago for a fourth rounder.

Wilson’s logic was sound, as it typically takes two-to-four years before draft picks have a chance to make an impact at the NHL level. The general manager figured that by then, players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau either wouldn’t be a part of the team anymore or would be slowing down. Restocking the cupboards was essential.

From 2013-15, the Sharks made 24 selections over the next three NHL entry drafts, including seven total picks in the top two rounds. Some players have shown promise. Others haven’t. A few aren’t in the organization anymore. That’s the nature of the business.

The way the 2017-18 opening night roster is shaping up, though, now is the time that some of these young players in the system simply have to step up. Marleau and his 27 goals last season are gone, Thornton’s numbers are down and he’s coming off of major knee surgery, Joe Pavelski is now 33 years old, and the team’s offense depth is suspect at best. There have been no notable additions in the offseason.

Frankly, this season could be viewed as a referendum on the team’s amateur scouting staff, including longtime director Tim Burke. Wilson handed Burke and his staff a wonderful opportunity to provide the organization with fresh talent with the team approaching an organizational crossroads.

What has transpired so far is a bit concerning, as already two of the team’s first round picks from that span ended up being nothing more than trade bait.

* * *

Mirco Mueller, chosen 18th overall in 2013, was a huge disappointment in San Jose. It’s been well documented that he was mishandled by the organization when he was rushed to the league in 2014-15, but even this past season, regular observers of the Barracuda had Mueller as nothing more than the AHL team’s fourth-best defenseman. He’s now in New Jersey, swapped for a pair of draft picks.

The scouting staff was so high on Mueller on draft day that Wilson traded a valuable second round pick to Detroit to move up just two places to select him. With those acquired picks, the Red Wings took Anthony Mantha 20th overall and Tyler Bertuzzi 58th overall – two forwards that have shown a whole lot more NHL potential than Mueller (especially Mantha, who has 39 points in 70 career NHL games so far).

Perhaps more concerning, though, is that the Sharks 2013 draft class as a whole is looking like a dud. Second round pick Gabryel Boudreau suffered a wrist injury and is no longer in the organization anymore, but he was trending downward even before he got hurt. None of the remaining players selected from rounds four-through-seven look to be NHL quality, either.

The next year brought Nikolay Goldobin, chosen 27th overall after the Sharks traded down in the first round, and he ended up being the key piece in the Jannik Hansen acquisition from Vancouver. Goldobin showed some flashes of offensive talent during his time in the organization, but his lack of hockey sense and on-ice work ethic helped lead to his exit. Whether Goldobin becomes an NHL regular, even with a fresh start in Vancouver, is highly uncertain.

Had the Sharks stayed at 20th overall, they could have selected Nick Schmaltz (20th overall), Robby Fabbri (21st overall), or David Pastrnak (25th overall). Instead, they moved down and took Goldobin, making it back-to-back first round failures.

* * *

Still, unlike 2013, other players from Goldobin’s draft class have shown some promise. Second rounder Julius Bergman was a steady blueliner for a good Barracuda team last season, and although he’s probably not NHL-ready yet, he could be on the right track. Late in the draft the team found Kevin Labanc in the sixth round with the 171st overall selection, and Labanc had some nice moments with the Sharks last season. His shot and his hands make him a solid prospect, although Labanc still probably has to get a bit bigger and stronger to play in the NHL full-time.

Noah Rod (second round, 53rd overall) and Rourke Chartier (fifth round, 149th overall) are also still developing, with Rod playing against men in the Swiss league the past few seasons and Chartier a valuable player for the Barracuda last year.

In 2015, the draft provided the Sharks with Timo Meier at ninth overall, as the club drafted in the top 10 for the first time since 2007. At this point, Meier is far and away the best prospect in the organization, and he’ll likely be relied upon to play a top nine (or even a top six) role for the Sharks this season.

The 2015 draft brought other decent prospects, too. Defenseman Jeremy Roy was selected 31st overall, and after suffering a serious knee injury in juniors this year, he’ll get a chance to play for the Barracuda this year. Fourth rounder Adam Helewka and fifth rounder Rudolfs Balcers have also developed nicely since draft day. It’s still a bit too early to evaluate that draft as a whole.

It should also be mentioned that while their draft day record may be suspect the past few seasons, the Sharks have brought in European free agents like Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen. Karlsson has developed into a versatile, hard-working forward; Donskoi has shown flashes of offensive brilliance despite a disappointing second year in the NHL last season; and Sorensen looks primed to make the opening night roster after his speed and tenacity shined through during the Sharks’ first round series loss to Edmonton.

The Sharks scouting staff has helped to keep the team competitive for a long time, and they’re as big a reason as any that the team has missed the playoffs just once in the past 11 seasons. But this is also a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, and now is the time that the Sharks need to see some results from players that were chosen by Burke and company.

Report: Former Sharks forward awarded millions in suit against former agent


Report: Former Sharks forward awarded millions in suit against former agent

Dany Heatley last played in the NHL in the 2014-15 season, but he's still raking in hefty paychecks.

The former Sharks forward was awarded $6.5 million on Wednesday, when a judge ruled in his favor in a lawsuit filed against Heatley's former agent, Stacey McAlpine, and McAlpine's parents. 

The lawsuit, filed in 2012, claimed that McAlpine coaxed Heatley into unwise real-estate investments and withdrew over $4 million from Heatley's accounts without authorization.

After a five-year legal battle, Heatley was awarded $4.1 million from defendant company Presidential Suites Inc. and $2.3 million from the second defendant company Waterfront Development Inc, according to CTV Calgary.

Heatley, 36, played two of his 13 NHL seasons in San Jose, where he totaled 146 points (65 goals and 81 assists) in 162 games.

McAlpine was also sued in 2016 by former Senators defenseman Chris Phillips.