Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sharks Trade Seems Imminent

The Sharks finished up their forever-long road trip on Tuesday in Nashville against the Predators. Ya, it felt like that. After the 2-1 OT win, the Sharks now find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a four-way tie for 4th place in the Western Conference. Nice.

The Sharks will look back on this road trip as a successful one. A win put the Sharks at 5-2 on the road trip, which was more than they had hoped for, but just enough needed, as they and four other teams are just 3 points from the 9th spot.

But something still seems wrong with this team, something missing. The answer is easy and has been missing the whole season. It's been missing ever since Rob Blake retired last season.

Now, no one can replace Blake's leadership that he brought to this team in previous seasons, but the Sharks are in desperate need of a blue-line defensemen. Someone who can shoot the puck and defend a smidge to help out goalie Antti Niemi, something the team has been struggling with since the beginning of the season. With good defense comes good goaltending... that's not fair to say since good goaltending makes the defense look really good, but that's not the point!

A trade seems imminent and here is why. This late in the season, teams that are out of the playoff race are starting to mail it in. Their season is over and are looking ahead towards next year. Which means onet thing, they're looking to trade. They want new talent, specifically young talent. And guess what? The teams that are in the playoffs or looking to make the playoffs want in.

Take the Toronto Maple Leafs for example. They're 10 points out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and are one of the first this season to be proactive about shaking up their team. They are a prime example of wanting young talent to bolster their chances for next season, at the price of giving up some decent talent to teams who need it.

The Leafs have made two trades in the last week, sending defensemen Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks, and sending Kris Versteeg to the Flyers for a handful of draft picks.

The Sharks must jump on the chance at a trade because a deep run in the playoffs will not happen with the team they have now. End of story.

Here are a few players I feel the Sharks should trade for, and a few Sharks that may be seeing the door very soon:

Zach Bogosian- Defensemen, Atlanta Thrashers
The 3rd overall pick in 2008 may not be as available as most GM's in the league are thinking, as the Thrashers' phones have been ringing off the hook for this guy. But why not? The Thrashers are looking for the right offer and the Sharks might just have it by giving up someone like Devin Setoguchi. Bogosian is a strong defensemen with an offensive mind, the epitome of what the Sharks are looking for.

Tomas Kaberle- Defensemen, Toronto Maple Leafs
I've already said the Leafs are selling. The impression left to most NHL GM's is that they are emptying shop. So they're going to pounce on this guy, who seems next in line to get the boot out of Toronto. He is another offensive defensemen that the Sharks could use. but maybe we're dreaming on this one. Again, it would take a Devin Setoguchi-type offer to woo the Leafs.

Willie Mitchell- Defensemen, Vancouver Canucks
Word is, there is no room for Mitchell on the Canucks' stacked defense. So he is available. Now, maybe the Canucks will not be willing to trade to such a viable contender in the West, but Mitchell may not play much of a role for the Canucks in the playoffs, so why not trade for someone who might? This may be the Sharks settling on this one. Mitchell does not have an offensive mind at all and will only contribute on the defensive side, but maybe that is what the Sharks need.

As for those on the Sharks' roster who could be saying their goodbye's very soon, the list is large. I won't bother you with the crazy ones just yet, but there are quite a few who can be moved without a problem.

I'll start with Devin Setoguchi who has been a disappointment this season and in seasons before. He has yet to live up to his potential and the only thing keeping him around is just that, his potential. Other teams may look at that rising potential and bet the house on it, and the Sharks can hope for a good return.

Other names include Kent Huskins, Jamal Mayers, and Scott Nichol. Huskins seems to always be a trade deadline mover no matter what team he plays on, and he is expendable right now at the defensive position. Mayers was brought in to help with the loss the Manny Malhotra, but failed, so he is on the chopping block. And with the acquisition of Kyle Wellwood, the Sharks may not have room for Nichol other than the penalty kill and just being plain annoying on the ice.
The Sharks need to act quick, but right now the team they have on the ice is not good enough. Maybe good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enought to make a run in the playoffs. As a Sharks fan, I'm just not used to that.

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