Stuart trade could create crowded defenseman corps

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Stuart trade could create crowded defenseman corps

Brad Stuart said although he gave his everything to the Red Wings franchise in the last several years, being closer to family in San Jose was a frequent thought in the back of his mind. The 32-year-old defenseman comes one step closer to officially being a Shark (again), now that the team that drafted him has acquired first rights to sign him before the July 1st free agency period begins.
Stuart made it quite clear that being in the same city as his wife and children would make life much easier for both he, and them. This is something which has been publicized and well documented in national media circles during the last several months. But he also expanded that playing for a contenting franchise, such as the Sharks, and reaching a mutually desirable contractual agreement were also of high priority.
Why this way?Some wonder why: if the Sharks wanted Stuart (as they did), and Stuart wanted to play for the Sharks (as he does), then why not wait until the July 1st deadline to "officially" strike the deal? Why make a trade today? In this case, San Jose GM Doug Wilson is being proactive, getting the guess-work out of the process while he has time in the next three weeks.
In essence, Wilson can go into the free agency window knowing plainly if he has, or doesn't have Stuart inked... and most importantly, for how much. Getting his "ducks in a row" will help Wilson in the rest of his negotiations with other teams and players. Regardless, it seems highly likely the Sharks and Stuart will reach terms, with the defenseman saying he'd "like to" and that it would be great if San Jose were the "final destination" in his playing career.
Learning from LidstromStuart was asked to compare his own game now to the kind of player he was leaving San Jose, in the trade for current captain Joe Thornton. Stuart stated his biggest change is focus, in that he has progressively gotten away from being an offensive-minded defenseman, who now takes the most pride in "being physical and effective."

Also brought up in conversation was the experience Stuart had in sharing a blue line with 7-time Norris Trophy winner, Nicklas Lidstrom during the last several seasons. Stuart was anything but short on words in complimenting the Swedish defenseman, who just two weeks ago, announced his retirement. Stuart said he hopes he can share what he learned and set an example for the younger players on San Jose's roster.
What does the move mean?Assuming all goes as planned in the next few weeks with Sunday's transaction, the Sharks would have the following defensemen under contract:- Brad Stuart- Dan Boyle- Brent Burns- Marc Edouard Vlasic- Douglas Murray- Jason Demers- Justin Braun (Restricted Free Agent, highly likely to be re-signed)
Jim Vandermeer and Colin White are set to become unrestricted free agents, whose status in returning are currently unknown. This does also not leave much room for other acquisitions, or internal defensive promotions through the pipeline. Essentially the boat for defenseman in San Jose was already a little crowded, and just took on another body. How it will play out from now until training camp should be interesting.

Once a Sharks pest, Hansen excited to join his new teammates

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Once a Sharks pest, Hansen excited to join his new teammates

When Jannik Hansen walks into the Sharks’ dressing room he’ll see a very familiar face in Mikkel Boedker, as the two Denmark natives have known each other since they were kids.

He’ll also see a whole slew of players that he’s battled with for the better part of a decade while playing in the Pacific Division for the Canucks since the 2007-08 season. That includes Brenden Dillon, who fought the gritty Hansen to a draw on March 7, 2015.

Of course, that’s just part of the business in the NHL, and there won’t be any hard feelings. Those battles with Dillon and the other Sharks veterans didn’t prevent Hansen from putting the Sharks on the list of eight teams that he was reportedly willing to join.

“A lot of the stuff that happens on the ice, you step off the ice and it’s bygones,” Hansen said on a conference call Wednesday morning. “Obviously it’s always weird to walk into a dressing room and [for] the first time you shake hands with a guy that you fought with, but it’s almost normal, I think.”

The drive to win a Stanley Cup far outweighs any awkward feelings of joining a longtime rival. The Sharks have that chance, while the Canucks are seemingly beginning a rebuild. Hansen, who turns 31 late this month, was ready to move on.

“That was a big thing for me, going to a team that has the opportunity [to win],” Hansen said. “San Jose obviously has that. That being said, I also have a lot of knowledge of the team playing against them for a lot of years. I feel like I have a pretty good sense as to how they play.”

On Tuesday night a few Sharks players, including Dillon, spoke about how Hansen is a pest to play against. He’ll finish his checks, try to get underneath the other team’s skin, isn’t afraid to stick his nose in the middle of a post-whistle scrum, and can contribute offensively, too. Hansen has experience playing with Daniel and Henrik Sedin on Vancouver’s top line, and was frequently in the top six.

He’s the type of player whose value tends to increase in the postseason.

“Everything intensifies once playoff roll around,” Hansen said. “Every inch is so important, and you fight for everything. I think that’s just how I’ve always played. It’s how I’ve found that I’m most successful. If I’m not successful, that’s one of the first areas that I tend to look at, is probably not doing the things I’m supposed to. It’s definitely a part of my game, and something you try to bring on a nightly basis.”

Although he’s played just 28 games this season with 13 points (6g, 7a), battling through rib and knee injuries, Hansen had been in Vancouver’s lineup for the past three-and-a-half weeks before he was held out on Tuesday for precautionary reasons.

“I feel like it’s turning a corner here now and have played for almost a month,” he said.

Hansen revealed he will not be available to skate against the Canucks on Thursday at SAP Center due to the paperwork required to work in the United States for the first time, so his debut will have to wait until Sunday in Minnesota, at the earliest.

He’s now in a position, though, to play much later into the spring than had he remained in Vancouver.

“It’s been cut short a little bit, my season here, so to say,” Hansen said. “Hopefully I get to extend it quite a bit now.”

Sharks stick with it, rewarded with late score to beat Leafs

Sharks stick with it, rewarded with late score to beat Leafs

SAN JOSE – Not only did the Sharks add to their roster on Tuesday night, they added another two points, too.

After it was revealed late in the second period that the club acquired gritty forward Jannik Hansen from the Canucks for Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth round draft pick, Tomas Hertl broke a 1-1 tie with a perfectly placed wrist shot late in the third period in pushing the Sharks to a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs. Brenden Dillon and Joe Pavelski (empty net) also scored for San Jose, which got 20 saves from goalie Martin Jones, too.

The Sharks improved to 4-0-3 in their last seven games, winning their first two games coming out of the bye week, and have won nine in a row over the Maple Leafs.

"I thought we played a pretty good 60 minutes,” Logan Couture said. “One of our better games in a while.”

The winning goal from Hertl came at 18:36. Patrick Marleau fought off a couple defenders in the offensive zone before pushing the puck to Hertl charging in after a change, and Hertl flicked a quick shot over Frederik Andersen’s nearside shoulder for his eighth of the season.

"I wasn't sure if it was in, but Patty made a great play to hold the puck,” Hertl said. “He gives the pass, and I just shoot and score."

The ending was fitting from San Jose’s perspective, as the Sharks believed they outplayed Toronto for most of the night. They outshot the Maple Leafs, 37-21, and out-attempted them 71-55.

“We outlasted them, for sure,” Pavelski said. “We found a player that makes a big shot there at the end. Patty’s play through the neutral zone into the o-zone, and dishes off to Hertl, and he makes a big time shot. It was pretty rewarding, I think, with how the game was played tonight.”

The Sharks had the better chances in the first period, outshooting the Leafs 13-5, but failing to get on the board due to some skillful saves by Andersen. He made a pad stop on Hertl midway through the frame, and later denied Joel Ward on a two-on-one rush with Kevin Labanc with four minutes to go.

That allowed Toronto to get on the board in the second period on the power play. After Auston Matthews' hard work resulted in a hook on Justin Braun, the rookie buzzed in a shot after some sloppy Sharks defense at 6:41 of the middle frame for his 31st of the season.

Brenden Dillon responded for the Sharks, though, powering a slap shot through Andersen after Labanc set him up nicely less than six minutes after Matthews' score.

“We were kind of buzzing down low,” Dillon said. “I think we got them a little tired, and [Labanc] made a great play through the middle. I kind of got my head up, and a little bit of time, so I thought I'd try the slapper instead of the wrist shot and I was fortunate to find a hole."

San Jose came out for the third period with renewed energy, and outshot the Maple Leafs 14-4 over the final frame, including Hertl’s game-winner.

DeBoer said: “We were unfortunate to be out of that [first] period without being up. .... Second period I thought they pushed back a little, and I thought the third we put our foot right back on the gas again and finally got rewarded. 

“That’s playoff hockey, you’re going to hit a hot goalie once in awhile. … It took 58-59 minutes, but we found a way.”