Sharks mailbag: Where would Doan fit?

815294.jpg

Sharks mailbag: Where would Doan fit?

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?
Wesley Johnston

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?
Andy Germond

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?
Chris Nor

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?
Erik Nelsen

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?
Jason Brinn

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?
Craig Larsen

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.

NHL Gameday: Sharks host Bruins in final game before week of rest

NHL Gameday: Sharks host Bruins in final game before week of rest

Programming note – Sharks-Bruins coverage starts today at 5:30 p.m. on NBCSN

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 35-18-6, 76 points, 1st Pacific Division
Bruins: 29-23-6, 64 points, 4th Atlantic Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks will be playing their second of a back-to-back, and final game before the bye week, in a rare matinee start time at SAP Center against Boston. Saturday’s 4-1 win in Arizona was just San Jose’s second in its last seven games, although they have points in six of those (2-1-4). San Jose is 4-2-4 since reeling off six straight wins from Jan. 16 – 24, and has a four-point lead on Edmonton for first place in the Pacific Division.

***Boston will be playing for the first time since its bye week, which may not have come at a good time. The Bruins reeled off three straight wins after changing coaches from Claude Julien to interim Bruce Cassidy, the first of which came against the Sharks at TD Garden on Feb. 9. The Bruins haven’t played since last Sunday, a 4-0 home win over Montreal.

***Joe Thornton brings a five-game point streak into tonight’s game (2g, 4a). He sits two assists shy of becoming the 13th player in NHL history to reach 1000 assists.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Melker Karlsson. The fourth line winger was the star of last night’s game in Arizona, posting one goal and two assists, and getting credit for the game-winning goal. Karlsson, second on the Sharks in shorthanded time on ice per game, has two goals and three points in three career games against the Bruins.

Bruins: Patrice Bergeron. The three-time Selke Trophy winner posted four points (1g, 3a) against the Sharks in Boston 10 days ago, and is third on the team in scoring with 33 points (14g, 19a). The 31-year-old is just one assist shy of 400 for his career, and is eighth on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Nikolay Goldobin – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones
Aaron Dell

Bruins
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes
Peter Cehlarik – David Krejci – David Pasternak
Frank Vatrano – Ryan Spooner – Jimmy Hayes
Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller – Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

INJURIES

Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.

Bruins: Austin Czarnik (lower body) is out.

QUOTEABLE

“He’s having an MVP season. He’s been that good for us all year and it’s every night. I don’t know what else to say. In my mind right now he’s the best player in the league, and we’re happy to have him on our team.” – Pete DeBoer on Brent Burns after Saturday’s Sharks win in Arizona, in which Burns had two goals

Three takeaways: Fourth line leads the way for Sharks in Arizona

Three takeaways: Fourth line leads the way for Sharks in Arizona

For the first time in five tries this season the Sharks managed to secure a regulation win over the last place Coyotes, 4-1 at Gila River Arena on Saturday. They keep their four-point lead over Edmonton, and are assured of going into the bye week in sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.

Here are our three takeaways from the win…

1 – Burns turns the tide…again

For the second time in a week, Brent Burns changed the momentum of a game with his deadly wrist shot. The Sharks were on their heels early – Arizona had a 16-9 shot advantage in the first period, perhaps jolted be a pregame ceremony – but Burns’ shot through traffic staked the Sharks a 1-0 lead and they were on their way.

“We kind of weathered their storm early,” Joe Pavelski told reporters. “There was a lot of energy in the building.”

It was similar to a game in New Jersey last Sunday, when Burns had a pair of second period goals, erasing a 1-0 deficit and putting his team on the track to victory.

According to Elias, Burns – who added a third period power play goal, too – is the first defenseman to score 18 goals on the road since Paul Coffey’s 22 in 1983-84. His 26 goals equal his total from last season, tying his franchise record.

“He’s having an MVP season,” Pete DeBoer told reporters. “He’s been that good for us all year and it’s every night. I don’t know what else to say. In my mind right now he’s the best player in the league, and we’re happy to have him on our team.”

Burns remains in third in the league in scoring with 63 points, four points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

2 – Dell gets the job done…again

Getting his second start in a week, Aaron Dell made a new season high (and, thus, career high) with 36 saves. His best stop was early in the second period on Radim Vrbata, when he managed to snag a pin-balling puck from crossing the line, keeping the Sharks ahead 2-0. Had that one trickled over, the Coyotes might have been able to seize the momentum.

“I think I had it the whole time,” Dell told reporters. “I kind of saw it for a second and then when I turned back I was able to find it and scoop it underneath me.”

DeBoer said: “He’s been good every time we’ve put him in there.”

Dell, whose goals-against average is down to 1.95, outplayed Sharks nemesis Mike Smith, who had stopped 121 of 127 San Jose shots in three games this season.

“We got to Smitty in the first period, which was great,” Pavelski said. “We kind of know what he’s done to us the past few games, stopping a lot of pucks. … That was a big key for us.”

3 – Fourth line magic

Through two periods, the Sharks’ top two lines had generated a total of three shots on goal – one each from Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc and Patrick Marleau.

Fortunately for the big guys, the fourth line was there to pick up the slack. Melker Karlsson posted three points (1g, 2a), Micheal Haley had one goal and one assist, and the fourth line generated all three of San Jose’s goals through 40 minutes.

One goal from the fourth line is a bonus. Three is virtually unheard of. 

“They showed up and played the right way,” DeBoer said. “Right from the drop of the puck they put pucks behind the other teams defense, they had good support, they created a lot of chances, and got rewarded for it. I think Dell and them were the difference in the game early through the first half, until we got going a little bit.”