Free Agent-palooza (NHL Sharks edition)

Looking at what’s ahead (since playoffs are not as fun as they could be) I’m looking at upcoming UFA/RFA for the Sharks.

UFA’s I want gone:

johnscottcaptainhammer

John Scott, while funny and I’m sure is a very nice man, is nothing but a goon and has probably peaked with 3 goals in a season.

Niemi has outlived his welcome and is nothing but average. He’ll be a fabulous backup somewhere else in the NHL or go over to a European league/KHL, but he has no business being a starter anymore.

I have a feeling Hannan retires after this season, if not then he’ll have a hard time finding a job unless some team really does need a veteran presence on the blueline that will play very limited minutes in a limited amount of games. Looking at you Chicago.

UFA that I want to stay:

Matt Irwin, he’s the only one and has shown so much improvement from 2014 to 2015. Went from 2 goals and 19 points in 62 games with a +5 to 8 goals and 19 points in 53 games with a +3. He went through dry spells and was a healthy scratch quite often. Not until we traded Demers and Hannan was injured did he really get his time to shine with 16 of his 19 points coming in that time frame. Not saying he should get a giant contract or anything, but if he can find a way to continue this trend he’ll be a solid 3rd pairing guy. It’ll also help to have him not paired with Hannan, who is slower than molasses, but have him paired with Tennyson or a similar player. For example: even strength CF% jumps from 46.7% with Hannan to 53.7% with Tennyson. That also looks worse with the eye test than it does on paper as well. Irwin, when used properly, is a valuable player for what he is and I’d like to see him stay. Unless of course we can get a really really good return for him. But whoever could possibly trade him for better be an upgrade or what’s the point. He finally started playing like I thought he’d be capable the few seasons before.

Long list of RFA’s:

Brenden Dillon. Holy crap he’s good. He’s a big boy at 6’4 225 and he’s only 24 years old. He still has a lot to learn and can be just as much of a defensive liability as Burns, but this can and should be taught out of him. He may always be subject to little mistakes, but with help can minimize these. Especially if the team does what’s right and moves Burns back to forward and then Dillon won’t run the risk to be paired with him. The fancystats numbers don’t show it quite so much (they do have their flaws with all the good they can do), but this pairing was the most disastrous, which is probably why they switched him to be teamed up with Braun after a time. He has a bright future ahead of him and DW or whoever replaces him will be an idiot to not kick him down a contract.

Melker Karlsson. I cannot say enough good things about this kid and take to calling him #SwedishPavs. He has amazing vision and hockey smarts and is always at the right place at the right time. So similar to Pavelski it’s ridiculous. I know, and have been told many times by others in hockey twitter, that his numbers are most likely inflated by simply being on the same line with Joe Thornton. They also say this about Pavelski. But I truly believe Pavs can score a 30-40 goal season centering his own line. I also believe Karlsson can do just as well on the 2nd or 3rd line. Our lack of depth is a problem and his wonderfulness helps this. I don’t think he’ll slow down next season being on a different line and prove the naysayers wrong. And unless there is a drop in his play, I will continue to refer to him as #SwedishPavs.

Fedun, Stollery, Rumpel. Fedun could develop into a solid 3rd pairing defenseman, Stollery I know next to nothing about, and Rumpel is a goalie who has an amazing name. Seriously…his name is Rumpel. How awesome is that. Goaltending will forever be an issue and the best thing would be to develop from within. I don’t know too much about what goes on as far as the AHL level, but apart from trading them away for whatever, I see all of these guys sticking around and I look forward to see them when I go to Barracuda games next year. (I also really want to see Goldobin play and if they don’t fuck him up, this is where Goldy will be playing)


With all that being in the Sharks court (so to speak) the free agency market could be very interesting this year. Depending on how cap-strapped other teams get. I am just hoping beyond hope that DW or his replacement actually do something worthwhile and benefiting the team, unlike last years signing of John Scott. Defense/Goaltending are where it’s needed more but a stud forward (again…if Burns isn’t moved back there like he should be) would be pretty dope. Like the pipe-dream of somehow stealing away Saad from Chicago or lucking out and getting a top pick in the draft and drafting McDavid or Eichel. I just don’t want a repeat of this past season because that was fucking brutal to watch most of the time.


Another thing of note (while I’m thinking about these things) is all the talk I hear of how Couture and Marleau don’t get along. No one can show me anything in writing or interviews and it’s all “off the record” stuff. Apparently this is common knowledge and just begs the question: Why are they on a line together when team chemistry is in question? For a stretch Marleau and Pavelski switched lines and the team was not the worse for it during that stretch. I’m having trouble finding the numbers but if I remember right, I was questioning why they switched back. It’s just more reasons why the season has been a clusterfuck and another in a growing list of things to fix in the offseason. It’s also why, even though he’s a favorite of mine, I’d be OK (depending on the return) if we traded Cooch in the offseason. He had a quietly good year and posted up more points than even Thornton, although if he hadn’t bee injured that might not be the case.

(Update edit: “chemistry” may not be the right word to use in this situation, I only am using this in reference to what DW said about the players saying they felt like coworkers and not teammates. And the pair of Cooch and Patty did not play as well this season as before, mainly because of Patty’s down year, but unless they’re producing ,which they weren’t most of the time, why keep two guys who don’t like each other on the same line? that was all I was saying.)


But there’s so much time to talk about this, I’m sure we’ll all be sick of it by the time it happens.


Also, looking at contracts, seeing Mike Brown having one year left fills me with dread. I’m all for fighting in the game, but not for guys who have no value other than to fight. Goons are so last millennium and need to be done away with. If we can even get a bag of pucks or a coupon to Tim Horton’s, I’ll take it.

PS. Still irrationally upset we traded Demers, no matter how awesome Dillon is.

download (4)

Playoff time…Ho hum…

My bracket:

I’ll go over my picks. Round 1:

Western Conference

BLUES vs Wild. I’m going with Blues, not just because I feel they’ll go all the way, but there isn’t an easier team to beat in the first round. Sure Minnesota has Dubnyk and that’s been a wonderful story all season, but do they really have what it takes to go past round 1? I doubt it. If they were playing anyone other than the Avs last year, would they have gotten to the 2nd round then? I doubt it. Parise is good, but his supporting players are questionable. The only thing that makes me a little worried about my decision is that 42 of the Wild’s 46 wins were in regulation or overtime. But really, that doesn’t mean too much when the Blues won their division. Blues also have more pieces that can be truly dangerous. Backes, Tarasenko, Oshie, Steen, Schwartz. And those are just a few. Wild aren’t terrible, which is why I think they’ll go down in 6. Maybe 7 but I think the Blues won’t let it get that far.

Nashville vs CHICAGO. This is one where I think goaltending won’t be what wins the series. Rinne is superior to Crawford in so many ways, Crawford is nothing but above average and Rinne is arguably elite. But when it comes down to it HE IS MARION HOSSA AND YOU ARE NOT. Toews is wonderful and although I’m a hater, Kane should be back and that guy is really good. Saad is one of my new favorite non-Sharks players in the league. Kid’s got a good future ahead of him. Preds will put up a fight and it’ll be very entertaining but Blackhawks will win in 7.

DUCKS vs Jets. I loathe the Ducks. With a passion that is only rivaled by my hatred for the Kings. But in this, I give it to the Ducks. Goaltending will win this one. I do, however, look forward to the many Corey Perry and Getzlaf tantrums during the one inevitable loss they suffer in this round. Ducks win in 5. Winnipeg continues to be irrelevant. \

Canucks vs FLAMES. I absolutely love Johnny Gaudreau. He is a delight to watch and a gift to the NHL. He will have a hell of a series and combined with Hiller and if the Flames can ice a roster that isn’t too full of GRIT and guys who are only GOOD IN THE ROOM, they can easily take the Canucks. Lack is good but will forever be a backup much like my beloved Stalock. Even with Miller coming back after I believe the 1st game, they don’t stand a chance. Maybe the Sedins use their creepy twin powers and get lots of points. And maybe Bo Horvat has a great playoffs. But Calgary is riding a wave of PDO driven luck and it’ll continue for quite awhile I believe. They’ll go far. Plus Fuck the Canucks they lose in game 7 in a very heartbreaking fashion causing me to laugh uncontrollably.

Eastern Conference

CANADIENS vs Senators. This is another that will undoubtedly be won by goaltending. Holy crap on a cracker Carey Price is good. He is by far and away the Vezina winner this year. He leads the league in every goalie category. Hammond has had a great run and also been a great story during the end of the season, but let’s face it, he’s just not as good. Add in the Habs having PK Subban, Pacioretty, Markov, Desharnais and they’re pretty tough to beat. Did I mention CAREY PRICE IS LIKE REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD??? Yeah, they’re sweeping and it’ll be fun to watch.

Lightning vs RED WINGS. I don’t like the Red Wings on principle, but I’ll give this one to them in 7. Nyquist and Tatar are reason enough even without Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Kronwall, Abdelkader, Helm…you get the idea. Stamkos is good and will hold them to a full series along with some of their rookies having good campaigns, but they don’t stand a chance to go into the 2nd round. And it hurts to pick Detroit on this one.

RANGERS vs Penguins. DAN BOYLE WILL BE A PLAYOFF HERO IN THE FIRST ROUND AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THIS! OK…so that will probably not happen but Rangers have 2 ex-Sharks so I have to root for them in this round. Shep could be a solid 4th guy line for them and depth is key in the post season, like it always is. I also wanted Pens to not make it for not lottery protecting the pick they traded away and I’m not about to start cheering them on now. Rangers in 6.

Capitals vs ISLANDERS. I have loved what the Islanders have been doing the last few years, even when it seemed like their moves made absolutely no sense and their fans got all in an uproar. Starting with the Moulson trade, everything they did was good for their rebuild around Tavares and that’s why they’re in the playoffs now. They were my Eastern pick early in the season and I’m just relieved they made it so I at least could call that much. Tavares is one of the best in the league and in my opinion doesn’t get enough love. Probably because he plays for the Islanders. When they traded for Leddy and for Boychuk, they simply did what I wanted the Sharks to do and it’s paid off immensely. So good for them. I really like Ovechkin (best shooter in the world) and Holtby is my 2nd favorite goalie in the league (after Price of course) but the supporting cast in NY is what’s going to get them to the finals and the Caps will continue to be Sharks East. Which is too bad because I REALLY REALLY REALLY DO LIKE OVECHKIN. Series goes to 6 games.

Round 2:

BLUES vs Chicago. Even Hossa will be no match for Backes. Because Backes. Kane will continue to make me hate him by not doing much of anything and Toews will look very very sad right before the handshake line. Blues win because Backes. (Sorry Desi…no cup for you)

Ducks vs FLAMES. Flames win this one because their crazy luck will still be going and Ducks will continue to have tantrums on the ice. Hiller beats his old team because that’s what the playoffs are for and all the Anaheim fans will forget hockey is in their town on their way back to Disneyland.

CANADIENS vs Red Wings. Price will continue to be perfect and Red Wings will run out of octopus…octopi…octopuses…whatever, they lose and Zetterberg’s beard will be sad.

Rangers vs ISLANDERS. Sorry to my ex-Sharks on the team but they won’t last against the might that could be the Islanders. Isles have an ex-Shark too so I won’t feel too bad about it all. Kennedy was vastly misused in San Jose but that’s a different story. Islanders win because Tavares will have a great series.

Conference Finals:

BLUES vs Flames. This is where the Flames luck will run out. Maybe they’ll take it to 7 games, maybe they’ll get swept. Either way, Johnny Hockey will have a great run and cement his place in all of our hearts. Blues continue to win because Backes.

Canadiens vs ISLANDERS. Price is still human and can’t be perfect all the time. Unfortunately PK Subban is also human and can’t be perfect all the time. Even if there are no significant injuries to either team by this point, the Habs’ defense can falter and will falter. Islanders win in 7 because Price is still elite and won’t make it easy for the red-headed stepchild of NY teams.

STANLEY CUP FINALS:

BLUES vs Islanders. Backes wins Conn Smythe and retires to run a SPCA.

No matter what happens, the 2015 playoffs are gonna sure be interesting. I could be so wrong about all my picks and get nothing right because that’s how sports works. Either way the playoffs will be stress free as my team didn’t even make it. As a Sacramento Kings fan I am used to this feeling. (shit, even as a Raiders fan I’m used to this feeling) I would rather see my team choke, yet again, than be left out of the party alltogether but maybe…just maybe…this will be fixed in the offseason and next year will be better.

(IS IT OCTOBER YET?)

Shorks hurt my heart

While not being mathematically eliminated yet, the San Jose Sharks are eliminated from the playoffs. Although with Calgary and LA winning tonight as well, Sharks might be eliminated. Math is hard and I’m too sad to look on NHL.com to see the standings. So with no playoffs to look forward to, I’m just going to focus my hockey energy on what I want to see in the offseason.

Let’s start with Doug Wilson and Todd McClellan must be fired. And for fun, just fire the whole coaching staff. 10 years in the playoffs and no cup to be found, so why oh why do these guys get to keep their jobs? TMac should be fired because whatever it is he’s doing, it’s not working. The system does not work. Not to mention the continued playing of guys like Scott, Brown (pre broken leg), Hannan, Burish (before he was banished to the Woo), and any other grit guys over guys like Kennedy and the rookies who need ice time. I’m tired of hearing guys being just “good in the room” and not actually good on the ice. (to be fair, all 3 of John Scott’s goals this season have been pretty entertaining and he seems like a genuinely nice dude who I’d like to drink a beer with, if only he was actually good at the hockey. But I digress) Doug Wilson should be fired for his many sins as GM last offseason:

1. Moving Burns to defense

2. Not trying to get Boyle to take a hometown discount and stay on the team

3. Re-signing Hannan and Brown

4. Not waiving or buying out Burish

5. Signing John Scott

6. Letting Ice Girls become a thing (although this is on Tortora and he must go as well)

7. Moving Burns to defense (this gets on here twice because it’s the worst thing he did)

8. Not signing a Top 4, or even Top 6, FA defenseman

9. Not doing something about Niemi

10. TAKING AWAY THORNTON’S CAPTAINCY

I could be forgetting things but there are so many it’s easy to do. So with all that the first thing I want to see this offseason is Burns moved back to his rightful place on Jumbo’s wing and be a forward again. Even without signing a FA defenseman, Tennyson is more than capable to take Burns’ place on the blueline. I don’t care that Burns was an all-star as a defender. All-Star Dmen only go by points not by actual skill on D. Burns is just as capable to get as many points, if not more, as a forward. And as a forward he wouldn’t turn the puck over as much because he’s rushing the net.

Second thing, sign a Top FA defenseman or trade for one. Defense is the biggest issue. It was last offseason and it still is. Vlasic is the only irreplaceable one and if he goes down we’re doomed. DOOMED! Every damn time. Beefing up the defense will help so much.

Third, DO NOT RE-SIGN NIEMI. I repeat: DO NOT RE-SIGN NIEMI. I don’t know for sure if Stalock is starter material. All signs point to no, but I like him so I’m in denial about this. My denial stems from the coaching staff never actually giving him a chance to prove himself. A lot of fans may disagree and say he has proved he’ll never start, but the sample size is even smaller this season and behind a lackluster defense, it doesn’t prove anything to me. Truth is, he probably isn’t a starter and will forever be a backup. And that’s OK too. He’s a good backup goalie and I do like him a lot. So with that, we need a starting goalie. This will probably have to be a trade if there isn’t a viable candidate in free agency.

Goldobin should start in the AHL. The saddest thing was rushing Mueller to the NHL (even with my high hopes for him) and never giving him enough ice time. So you don’t want to send him back to his juniors team. Fine. Then let him play. He won’t learn as much rotting away in the press box than he would on the ice. I’m hella hyped for Goldobin to play in the NHL, but not if he’s never going to play. Him, and Mueller for that matter, need to be playing. I’m not entirely sure if it’ll be the same for Goldy as Mueller and the Sharks might still rush him into the NHL. If that is the case, let him play not rot so face punchers with no talent can be on the ice to “deter dirty hits”

Next: no more Hannan. No more Brown. Trade themĀ if you can, banish them to the AHL if you can’t. They should not be on the team and I’m tired of watching them suck. Hannan isn’t too bad if all the other options are injured but to regularly get ice time is baffling. He’s just not that talented. He’s another guy, I like him as a person not as a player. I do hope that puck to the face isn’t too bad of an injury. Just because I don’t want him on the team doesn’t mean I want him hurt in any way.

DO NOT BRING BACK JOHN SCOTT.

The draft will also be key. Would I like to see them trade up to get a top 3 pick? Yes. Will this happen? No. Especially if Doug Wilson somehow miraculously keeps his job. He’ll probably trade down just to spite all us fans who want him gone. If he does that I want Carey Price or Seguin and Demers or something like that (I know that would never happen).

So this is what I want to see. I may update later if I remember anything I may have forgotten. But this is where I stand.

Now I’ll just focus on watching baseball.

P.S. I will forever be irrationally upset and missing Demers in teal.