Thursday, September 8, 2011

San Jose Sharks: Training Camp Starts September 17; Kyle Wellwood Still On the Market

San Jose Sharks training camp starts at Sharks Ice in nine days, and yet the current roster seems incomplete. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but it still feels that the Sharks are one player away from being complete as a team.

The position that needs to be filled is a third or fourth line player, preferably a winger. Currently, San Jose will start the season with Torrey Mitchell, Michal Handzus and Jamie McGinn on the third line, and any combination of Andrew Murray, James Sheppard, Andrew Desjardins and Benn Ferriero on the fourth line.

GM Doug Wilson would love to make one more move, seeing how active he has been this offseason. However, with 49 players currently under contract out of 50 potential spots, he has a mind to make this next move one with increasing dividends.

With players like J.P. Dumont and Kyle Wellwood still available on the free agent market, Wilson is likely to make one last move before the start of training camp on September 17.

The likeliest of scenarios is the acquisition of Wellwood, although i use "likeliness" as a full supporter of signing him weeks ago.

Wellwood put up seven points in eight games during last season's playoffs with the Sharks, and seemed to find chemistry with Torrey Mitchell and Joe Pavelski.

The 28-year-old journeyman has expressed undying interest in returning to the Sharks, even going as far as to put the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets on hold while Wilson deliberates bringing him on.

That deliberation has been going on for weeks now and Wellwood still has no home.

The last time that happened, he found himself playing in the KHL.

Is Wellwood even right for this team anymore?

The Sharks have changed so much this offseason that Wellwood's style of play may not even translate into the brand of hockey San Jose will be playing this season, one that relies on the first two lines for scoring and the rest on solid defensive effort.

However, as much as many want to shut down the idea of Wellwood's finesse play being a hinderance to the progression of this new style in San Jose, all teams can use a player like him.

It is being reported that the Sharks did extend a training camp tryout invitation to him, which shows you how interested San Jose is.

Wellwood would be taking a huge risk for his career attending that tryout and dismissing the offers from the Blue Jackets and Jets.

Wellwood supplies this team with a player that has been there and done that in San Jose. He was a key part of their playoff run last season. At the least, Wilson and Co. should sign and throw him into the fourth line mix of Desjardins, Sheppard, Murray and Ferriero. The best three players of training camp will start on the fourth line, and i can only surmise that Wellwood would be one of them.

Loyalty can only take you so far in the NHL, but loyalty to a team with eyes staring straight at the Stanley Cup is a dangerous way of thinking. Hopefully the Sharks will accept that consistent loyalty and sign Wellwood before training camp begins. If for nothing else, it would give him another shot at helping this team reach their ultimate goal that he seems to be so invested in.

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