||05-30-2011 06:34 AM
Would you move a forward for quality Dman? (Who?)
Ok, so I'm after some realistic debate/polling about the direction of the Sharks on the specific issue of acquiring a quality Dman. I think most people would agree that (A) it was the area, openly predicted by many at the start of the year to be the biggest concern and, (B) continues to be the suggested focus for team improvement going forward?
I've seen countless discussions all over HFboards, threads etc about what the Sharks should do on this matter and frankly, I'm far from sure myself and flip flop my feelings about it almost daily. Intuitively you'd assume that once again Wilson will 'tweak' the team rather than overhaul it, (which to me implies most of the core would be staying...), but is that what the fans want to see? Is it the right thing for the team to do?
As far as I can see, San Jose lacks a quality top 2/(3) two-way blueliner capable of eating big minutes alongside Boyle, Vlasic and Murray. While Demers is an option (as discussed ad nauseum last year...), it would seem a stretch to see him develop to the level people have been clamouring for so quickly...
We have a defined 7 'top 6 forwards' and we all know, you have to give to get if you want a quality return - and frankly I am not sure we have any other assets a team would take enough interest in to fill our need on the blueline. So here are the contenders for a possible trade:
1) Joe Thornton*
NMC. I'm including his name superficially, but let's face it, it's not happening. Add to that, he's coming off of a superb playoffs.
2) Patrick Marleau*
NMC. Again, not happening - name is included purely to keep up appearances. Guy is 4th in league scoring over the past 2 years (behind only Crosby, Stamkos and Ovechkin) and is 13th all-time on playoff GWGs - say what we want about his intensity or occasional streakiness, there's no way Wilson could justify asking him to waive, so he won't. Realistically not an option.
3) Dany Heatley*^
Perhaps inadvisably, I'll also suggest we include his name in the poll but we need to be grounded about this and not just blindly hate on the guy. 1) We believe he has a partial NMC, right? If so, end of discussion. Wilson moved Cheechoo, Michalek and Ehrhoff (cap facilitation), in order to make room for Dany - he's hung his hat on him and no GM will admit that a mistake like that when it could cost him his job. Add to that, his trade value is low right now after a statistically poor season by his previous standards. If you engineer a trade for Heatley, you will not get back requisite value which, in combination, means he's not getting traded. Let's try to be realistic about this, right? (I've included his name as I don't want to incite a riot for not appearing fair...)
4) Joe Pavelski
Yes, it could be done hypothetically even though your gut reaction is to punch the monitor right now. Pavs has been exceptional but there's a case to be made for trading him. Why? Great contract, super production and intangibles, but the two scariest words for him right now might just be 'Logan Couture', who has shone this year. If you believe in the adage of trade while the value is high, Pavelski could arguably fetch the best return for the Sharks and that alone makes it tempting. Perhaps I'm wrong but if you want a top 2 blueliner, you'd have to say Pavelski should have enough value to achieve that. We have 3 centres - do we need all of them? Are we getting full value from them?
5) Ryane Clowe
18 months ago there was a queue of fans wanting this. Now? Not so visible. His skill set is very valuable and he has perceived value around the league - is the loss of those skills enough to justify if we get a quality blueliner back, like Pavelski? Do we have possible replacements for him in the offing like Brandon Mashinter? Maybe even Charlie Coyle further down the line (although the comparison is one of size; granted he has a different skill set, slightly). His value is probably somewhere a bit below Pavelski's but it's certainly inflated after the current season. Those are the shrewdest times to deal, and agree with me or not, Wilson has his shrewd moments when it comes to trading...
6) Logan Couture
Unlikely, but we have to consider all the bases here. There would be no shortage of suitors lining up for a hugely talented young centre who finds the back of the net and plays a smart all-around game, especially in his own zone. You could make a very strong case that his value might even be higher than any of these candidates given he's signed to $1.2m for next season but ask yourself this - what will he command as an RFA next year? His trade value is high so there's some definite deal potential there.
7) Devin Setoguchi
A hard one to evaluate. 1 superb full season and then two that have, I'm sure he'll admit, not lived up to his/our expectations. With a 4th full season coming up (which is often a break out year), do you risk giving up on him now? Do you trade off of his name and potential? Do you risk holding onto him, only to underachieve again and all but destroy his trade value in terms of potential? Right now he's a much harder sell because he's RFA and coming off an adequate season rather than good but he still has value around the league, not least because of what he is capable of doing. But does his currently deflated value hinder what we could get in a return for him to the point where it wasn't worthwhile? Shouldn't we be looking forward to his likely return on another short, relatively inexpensive contract next year (judging by his comments?)
8) Option 8 is 'No', meaning we'd do nothing at all. It then follows that all of the above are too valuable as components in the Sharks line up and that the D will have to 'make do' or replace from within (i.e White? Demers?). Probably not viable to appease the fans calling for a big upgrade, but it's certainly an option that fits with a 'tweak philosophy'. The alternative is to look at the free agent market, but again it comes with significant caution that the Sharks only have about $8m in cap space based on the current cap, there's a new CBA looming in the distance (which could have major implication for teams tied up at the cap ceiling) and we have, about 10 free agents and 7-8 roster spots to re-sign with that wedge? Wilson is also historically conservative on July 1st, which needs to play into our considerations about how realistically we could fill the need for a top pairing Dman there...
I'd invite some constructive feedback and what you would do, and would be particularly interested to see who you specifically think would fit/why? Not just pie-in-the-sky wishlists, but teams we could fundamentally get a deal with that would be mutually beneficial and work from a cap standpoint.
Ok, let's go!