What do the Sharks do for an encore? After years of playoff futility, we answered the bell over the Wings and Avs, and in the process of the playoffs, some unexpected faces like Joe Pavelski and Jason Demers emerged into the forefront.
It’s hard to say how far we would have gone if Dany Heatley was not injured and the goaltending had been a lttle better. We could have won all four games against the Hawks… but we simply got out-goaltended.
So it’s obviously been decided to trash Nabakov in favour of another goalie? Do we roll the dice on a young goalie or do we go after Marty Turko? I’d love to see us line up with Turko, but his price may be too high.
After just 16 games, do we give a chance to Thomas Greiss to grab the number one job? Greiss was very good playing for Germany in the Olympics. However, an unproven goalie in the number one slot is risky business. Just imagine Turco passing the puck up to Dan Boyle. Having Turco is like having an extra defenceman to help clear the puck, and he is great fun to watch. With the young goalies Greiss, Alex Stalock, Harri Sateri and Tyson Sexsmith we may just go with youth between the pipes and hope that one or two of them emerge.
Number two priority is who fills Rob Blake’s shoes? For sure Demers can take some of Blake’s ice time, as he showed he was ready for prime time. Without Blake, the defence is awfully thin if anyone gets injured. I’d prefer to sign free agents Mark Eaton, Paul Mara or Jordan Leopold rather than resigning Nick Wallin for $1.7 million. The dream guy to add would be Zbynek Michalek, but he will probably demand too much.
Next on the agenda is resigning RFAs Devon Setoguchi and Pavelski before the offers start coming in from other clubs. Setoguchi is ready to bust out and push Heatley for first line minutes. If there is one thing the Sharks management learned during the playoffs this year, it is that there is potential for way more offence on this team outside of the first line if they are given the ice time.
I’d love to see Patrick Marlowe resigned, but we live in the real cap world here and that may not be possible with the available cap space and the lineup that there will be for Marlowe. If we go with young goalies, then Nabakov’s cap space can go to Marlowe.
The oft-injured Logan Couture is probably salivating at the prospects of playing on that line, but is he durable enough to play that much . I’d rather see them try Heatley on the left side and Setoguchi on the right side. Heatley played Left Wing on the Senators and has made no secret that he prefers the right side… but hey he is not the coach!
The team is in desperate need of some depth along the right side and there is no help coming from within, so that will have to be done through Free Agency and the draft.
Who should be the new captain? There is only one man who fits the bill… Dan Boyle. Boyle is a natural leader and just a better personality for the job than Thornton or Heatley.
The important thing is for the Sharks and fans to focus on the successes of last season, not on losing four incredibly close games at the end. I’d like to see the first line play less minutes… less focus on the first line and use the regular season to prepare all four lines for the playoffs. Pavelski’s line proved they could perform well in the playoffs. Now give them more ice time instead of playing Thornton’s line to death.
If we want to win the cup we need to have the third and fourth liners performing well for that playoff run. I’d love to see us develop the younger players like Couture and Jamie McGinn by giving them more ice time. The regular season is to prepare for the playoffs and if the only line that plays well during crunch time is Thornton’s line, we won’t be ready for the long playoff run next year. We are not far off… a couple of young players emerging and some timely goaltending will be enough to put us over the top.
About the Author
Written by Marvin Miller
Freelance Sportswriter for many years. Hockey coach for 10 years up to Bantam AA. Certified Level 2 in both hockey and racquetball. Works now as a Senior Technical Writer. Hobbies, racquetball, playing guitar, and following hockey, particularly the NHL Draft.