Sharks spotlight: Marc-Edouard Vlasic

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Sharks spotlight: Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Sharks spotlight -- the series

Sharks spotlight: Marc-Edouard VlasicAge: 25 D

In his sixth season in the NHL, all with the Sharks, defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic had four goals and 19 assists for 23 points and 40 penalty minutes in 82 games. He led the Sharks and was 12th in the league in blocked shots (171), and was second on the team in ice time (23:09 per game). He was scoreless with a -2 rating in five playoff games. He has one year remaining on his contract.

Kurz says: A former second round pick of the Sharks, Marc-Edouard Vlasic made huge strides in his game this season, and was the most consistent blueliner from start to finish. He routinely played against the oppositions top players, and although he wasnt quite as effective at the end of the season as he was through the first half, Vlasic could be a mainstay on the San Jose defense for years to come provided the club signs him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 next summer.

Unfortunately for Vlasic, his own-goal early in Game 2 against St. Louis will be remembered as the turning point in the Sharks five-game defeat. As much as his game matured this season, it would have been nice to hear Vlasic, who is one of the more thoughtful and forthcoming players on the team, take a little bit more responsibility for that misplay after the game.
SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: Vlasic has two very big things going for him. First, he is only 25 years old. And second, he already has 6 years of NHL experience under his belt. Put those together, and its very realistic that even after his best campaign, we have not even seen Vlasic at his best yet.

It may be most accurate to say Marc-Edouard was a quality defenseman in seasons prior, but this year, he became one of the teams elite. Midway through the schedule he was lined up with Dan Boyle; a pair that lasted until the final game.

Picture any opponent with a 2 on 1 odd man rush coming towards the Sharks end. Who is the 1 San Jose skater youd like to see defending? My choice would be Vlasic, and I think that is one of the best compliments you can give a blueliner.

Pickles plays a true and responsible defensive game; usually good with positioning, a good stick, and willing to block a shot. Additionally, kept both his penalty minutes (40) and giveaways (44) relatively low. He is a perfect contrast to an offensive minded partner that will likely always be paired with.

2012-13 expectations
Kurz says: Like Logan Couture yesterday, the expectations for Vlasic next season are obvious hell once again be counted on to be one of the teams top and most important players. As one of the more underrated defensemen in the NHL, Vlasic has the luxury of being able to fly under the radar and catch some of his more unfamiliar opponents by surprise.

Vlasics solid positioning and active stick in the defensive zone are the keys to his success, and with players like Dan Boyle and Brent Burns, racking up points isnt a priority for Vlasic. He can continue to concentrate on his defensive game, which should only get better.

RELATED: Vlasics stats splits game logs

Brodie says: Expectations are simple If Vlasic can bring a similar performance next year to what he did this season, the Sharks would benefit greatly. Any improvements on his part, would be a bonus.

Vlasics play was recognized with a bid to Team Canadas roster for the World Championships several weeks ago however Marc Edouard was sent home early from the tournament after suffering a knee injury. Although, the good news, it shouldnt be anything that prevents him from being 100 healthy into training camp.

On a personal level, Marc Edouard remains one of the best interviews on the Sharks. Even on the bench during games, he gives straightforward and honest assessments of whats going on, when times are good or bad. It is this clarity, which also likely helps him evaluate and adapt during the games as a player.
Up next: Tommy Wingels

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.