The remaining 52:
San Jose has cut three players from training camp, including 2015 2nd round pick Jeremy Roy.
It was to be expected. Roy will return to Blainville-Boisbriand where he hopes to stay healthy and establish himself as one of the best defenseman in the QMJHL. He played in yesterday's preseason game against the Canucks where he logged 17:06 minutes (with PP time) and one shot on goal. Roy possesses the most upside as a two-way D among all Sharks prospects. His development hasn't gone quite as expected, but we'll see what he can do this coming season.
The remaining 52:
Burns and San Jose are not on the verge of agreeing to an extension just yet. [Part 1]
Right now, Brent Burns is at the top of the potential 2017 unrestricted free agent class. He has one year left on his contract, but all signs point to him re-signing in San Jose. After Brad Marchand signed an eight year deal with Boston, the focus has shifted to Burns; and NHL Insider Bob McKenzie has the latest details:
While Marchand's agent Wade Arnott had been working hard throughout September and during the World Cup to conclude an agreement with Boston, talks between San Jose GM Doug Wilson and Burns' agent Ron Salcer are not believed to be nearly as far advanced.
McKenzie also suggests that Burns' AAV (average annual value) could be above Dustin Byfuglien's $7.6 million contract but below P.K. Subban's $9 million deal. Of course, term matters, and generally the shorter the term, the higher the AAV. As we wrote a couple months ago, trying to keep the length below seven or eight years is important considering Burns' age and style of play. Wilson isn't known for handing out those kinds of contracts anyway, but he very rarely has to deal with a player of #88's caliber.
So now, all we can do is wait. It's unlikely Burns signs a massive extension before the season starts. But we're still a long way from hitting the panic button. In the meantime, let's watch Pacific Division rivals scramble to sign their restricted free agents before the season starts. Anaheim has Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell (KHL rumors and all) to lock up. Calgary needs to retain their young superstar Johnny Gaudreau. Around the league, Jacob Trouba has asked for a trade out of Winnipeg, while Nikita Kucherov and Rasmus Ristolainen are the other high profile RFA's who have yet to sign with Tampa Bay and Buffalo, respectively.
Stay tuned for updates on Brent Burns. Sharks hockey is back tomorrow! Preseason game against Vancouver.
San Jose has made 10 cuts as training camp is set to begin.
Jacob Middleton, Jason Fram, and Jalen Chatfield are the try-out players who survived the first round of cuts. Here are the remaining 54 players.
San Jose has released a list of 64 players who will attend their training camp set to begin in a few days. With the World Cup of Hockey underway, a few players will miss the start of camp as they represent their country (or continent) in Toronto. Joe Pavelski is captaining the United States. Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns are with Canada. Joonas Donskoi is with Finland and Mikkel Boedker on Team Europe.
Invitees Tyler Nother, Darren Raddysh, Jacob Middleton, Jason Fram, Jalen Chatfield, Luke Philp, and Jermaine Loewen will all be playing for a contract. Just a few more weeks until NHL hockey is back!
Training camp is about to begin which means the 2016 offseason is coming to an end. It was the Sharks shortest offseason in history after making the Stanley Cup Finals a few months ago. With added depth and familiarity of Coach DeBoer and his system, San Jose heads into the season with one goal in mind: Win the franchise's first Cup. Here is a full recap of what went down this summer.
GM Doug Wilson didn't have any huge names to re-sign this offseason. Tomas Hertl was by far the #1 priority, and Wilson made no mistake in signing him to a team-friendly bridge contract. Two years, $3 million a year gave the organization some extra cap space to work with in free agency. If Hertl continues to progress, he'll be in for a big payday a couple years down the line. RFA Matt Nieto was re-signed to a one year, $735k deal. Next season will be make-or-break for him, as he has struggled since his rookie year and is at risk of sliding down the depth chart. Dylan DeMelo signed a two-year contract, but it will be tough for him to win a spot in the top-6 defensive group. Minor leaguers Ryan Carpenter, Micheal Haley, and Aaron Dell were brought back. Dell will likely compete for the backup job on the big club during training camp.
Unrestricted free agents Nick Spaling, Dainius Zubrus, Roman Polak, and James Reimer walked. Matt Tennyson also moved on. Most of the Sharks minor league UFA's will not return, clearing roster space for the influx of young prospects who will begin their professional careers with the Barracuda.
The 2016 Draft was a bit underwhelming for Sharks fans, as the team did not have a first round pick (but does have Martin Jones) and would not make their first selection until late in the second round. They had just one pick in the top-110 and five picks total.
San Jose took college forward Dylan Gambrell 60th overall. He was passed over in the two previous drafts but exploded this past season at the University of Denver. Gambrell can be described as a well-rounded, hard working center who's good in all three zones. His upside isn't huge, but if he proves last year was not a fluke and can develop some more offensively, he may be a serviceable middle-6 center a few years down the line. For now, the 20-year-old is entering his sophomore year and will be leaned on heavily to produce offense.
Noah Gregor was the Sharks fourth round pick, but no one would have batted an eye if Gregor was taken 60th and Gambrell 111th. The WHL forward had a great season with Moose Jaw in a secondary role behind Brayden Point and Brett Howden. It was his first full year in the Junior league after missing most of the previous with a broken clavicle. He's a speedy center with quick hands and good hockey sense. He's undersized and will need to bulk up, but has plenty of time to marinate, being one of the youngest prospects in the system.
San Jose took a third center, Manuel Wiederer, from Moncton in the QMJHL in the fifth round. In the sixth, they went OHL defenseman Mark Shoemaker, and with their seventh rounder, selected Swedish winger Joachim Blichfeld. A trend in this draft was picking older players who were in their second or third year of eligibility. They are closer to the pro ranks, but lack the upside of a 17 or 18 year old prospect of similar caliber. The Sharks also focused on restocking their center depth, and while they didn't get a chance to pick up any high-end guys, they added some decent depth to a prospect pool that has been on the upswing in recent years.
Like last offseason, Doug Wilson made some noise in free agency. The big acquisition was forward Mikkel Boedker, who took less money and term to sign with San Jose and compete for a Cup. Four years at $4 million per is a very good contract for a scoring middle-6 winger. Boedker has a combination of speed and skill that the Sharks lacked against Pittsburgh. He's played on bad teams for most of his career, and his possession numbers are subpar, but the 26-year-old should fit in nicely on the second or third line. A history of being successful on the powerplay, he could end up on the second unit for San Jose. Overall, a terrific decision by Wilson to go out and acquire a good prime-aged winger who will make the Sharks forward group even more dangerous.
David Schlemko was the other July 1st signing by the organization. The 29-year-old defenseman was inked to a four year deal worth $2.1 million per year. It's no secret as to why a third pairing D was sought out by the team this offseason. Brenden Dillon and Roman Polak were picked apart in the Finals. Polak is gone, and the Sharks would like more stability. Dylan DeMelo played well when he was in the lineup, but probably didn't do enough to be penciled in as the #6 to start the season. Schlemko played in the bottom-4 on New Jersey and should provide Brenden Dillon a more suitable partner. Like Boedker, he is good on the PP and could be the lone D on the second unit. The four year term is quite long for a defenseman who has had one good year in the NHL, but San Jose is hoping he's just a late bloomer and can patch the most notable weakness in their lineup.
Career minor league defenseman Dan Kelly was also signed. He will start the season on a suspension but figures to see some time with the Barracuda.
For better or worse, Doug Wilson did not make one trade this offseason. We'll lean towards "better". He did not sacrifice the future to go 'all-in' but rather acquired prime-aged depth players via free agency to supplement the team. A move for a backup goaltender could still be possible if no one from within takes a firm grasp on the spot.
Unlike previous seasons, the organization's vision for this season could not be more clear: Win a Stanley Cup. A somewhat surprising run to the Finals in June proved that the team does have the horses to achieve this. The offseason was successful in filling in holes that were badly exposed by Pittsburgh a few months ago.
Speed and skill. Mikkel Boedker has it in spades. Prospects looking to breakthrough like Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin, and Marcus Sorensen all have unique combinations of these traits. A healthy, complete season from Logan Couture will go a long way. The continued growth of younger players such as Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi add a new element to the team as well. The defense is solidly built with no glaring question marks. Martin Jones broke out into a borderline top-10 goaltender in his first full year as a starter. On paper, the 2016-17 San Jose Sharks are even better than last year's team that came within two wins of the holy grail.
We all know the nucleus of this team though. The performance of aging core players Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, and Brent Burns will be the biggest determinant in how successful the coming season will be. All three of these players exceeded expectations in 2015-16. Will Joe Thornton come close to the point per game pace he scored at? Will Joe Pavelski notch yet another 35+ goal season? Can Brent Burns repeat his Norris-caliber year? All questions that will be answered one way or the other in the 2016-17 campaign.
San Jose is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender heading into the season. We'll see if they can finally exorcise their demons and come out of it a winner.
Final Grade: A-
The organization has released a list of players who will be participating in San Jose's rookie camp, which is slated to begin shortly. There are two groups: A rookie group who will travel to Colorado to play in a mini-tournament against Avalanche and Ducks prospects. The second is a smaller, U50 group containing some other players/prospects who have played less than 50 NHL games.
The Sharks training camp is set to begin September 23.
Players invited on a tryout: RW Jermaine Loewen, C Luke Philp, D Jalen Chatfield, D Jacob Middleton, D Tyler Nother, D Darren Raddysh, D Jason Fram.
It's that time of year again: Hockey leagues around the world are starting up and the next crop of draft eligible players will make their case to be selected at the 2017 NHL Draft next June in Chicago. We are happy to report that we will continue our coverage leading up to the draft. Monthly consensus rankings of the top-31 (welcome, Las Vegas!) and various articles will be posted to give you a better look at young talent poised to enter the league.
These consensus lists are compiled using a point system, based on recent draft rankings from reputable sources around the hockey world. Without further ado, we kick off our 2017 Draft coverage with the preseason ranking.
Preseason Consensus Rankings
Nolan Patrick has been the clear cut top ranked player from this draft class for a while now. We've been spoiled with uber-elite prospects the last couple of years with Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, and Auston Matthews. Patrick may not possess the franchise cornerstone potential of those three, but he's an exceptional prospect in his own right who brings a unique skill set to the table.
By all accounts, Timothy Liljegren is the best defenseman in the 2017 class. But the same could have been said about Jakob Chychrun at this point last year. There will surely be some big risers and fallers as the season progresses. San Jose's first round pick in 2015, Timo Meier, was an unknown at the start of the season. It wasn't until late January when he came into the discussion as a potential first rounder. Fast forward a few months, and he was picked ninth overall by the Sharks.
It's hard to put a label on this draft class right now. It seems relatively deep, but lacks in the quality and quantity of top-end talents we saw in 2015 and 2016. That description can change once we see how well these prospects perform in their draft year, though.
Another season of hockey is upon us!
How will added pieces this offseason fit in?
Like last year, the Sharks once again made some noise in the offseason and signed a couple players that will make a significant impact on the team this coming season. 26 year old winger Mikkel Boedker was signed to a four year, $16 million contract. 29 year old defenseman David Schlemko was signed to a four year, $8.4 million contract. It's a lot of term for both players, but they are upgrades over some of the guys in the Sharks bottom-6 and third defensive pair.
These players were acquired to push the team over the edge. Last season, San Jose came within two wins of a Stanley Cup but was clearly outplayed by Pittsburgh in the Finals. The speed and skill of the Pens proved too much, and the series would have been over earlier if it wasn't for some extraordinary goaltending by Martin Jones. Pittsburgh's third line dominated the Sharks, while the bottom pair of Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak was badly exposed. Both Boedker and Schlemko were signed to patch these holes, and help the team go for its first ever Stanley Cup.
Boedker has spent most of his career playing significant minutes on bad teams. In eight years and 463 regular season games in the NHL, Boedker has made the postseason just twice for a total of 20 games. His last run was with the 2011-12 Coyotes who were swept by Los Angeles in the Western Conference Final. He's in a much different situation with the Sharks, a team being labeled as contenders heading into the season.
Boedker's point totals look pretty flashy, but as mentioned above, he's played a lot of minutes on teams that aren't exactly loaded with star power. With San Jose, he'll likely play in the middle-6 alongside Couture or Hertl/Tierney/3rd line center. Similar to last offseason with Ward, we'll have to wait and see where he fits and who he finds chemistry with. There is a chance he could ride shotgun with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski on the top line as well. Boedker's combination of speed and skill is his best asset.
A cause of concern with the Danish winger is his extremely subpar possession numbers. He's more of a complimentary forward than one who will drive offense. Boedker's play in the defensive zone is lacking and he has developed a reputation for being a bit of a streaky scorer. But as mentioned above, he hasn't exactly played with high quality talent for much of his career. We'll see if he can flourish with better teammates in San Jose.
As for hard stat predictions, a lot depends on whether he ends up on the second powerplay unit or not. He's been very successful on the PP in the past. We expect to see Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi's as fixtures on the second unit. Joel Ward and Chris Tierney are in the mix as well. At least one defensemen should be included; Schlemko, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, or Dylan DeMelo (if he's in the lineup) are viable candidates. My guess is Boedker will be a regular on that unit, although it is awfully crowded and the names above don't even include potential breakthroughs by Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin, or another surprise player.
With all that said, Boedker should get between 14-17 minutes per game. It's a step down from what he's used to, but that's what happens when you're on a team loaded with depth that has a coach who likes to roll the lines. I would be thrilled to see him notch anything above 15 goals, 30 assists, and 45 points if he is a regular on the second PP unit and plays 82 games. It may take some time to adjust to a new system and find the right linemates, so a more realistic expectation would be between 35 and 40 points.
Something important to note is that Boedker took less money to play on a team that could make a run for the Cup. According to Darren Dreger, Boedker had an offer with more term and dollars elsewhere, but wanted to win with San Jose. As a fan, you love to see that kind of stuff. The signing solidifies the Sharks as having a top-5 offense in the NHL. Their depth is matched by very few, if any, other teams in the league.
Schlemko played seven seasons with the Coyotes organization before being waived twice and ultimately ending up with the Devils in 2015-16. Last year was the only time he played over 50 games in his career, and it's no coincidence that it was his best season since being signed as an undrafted free agent back in 2007. Like Boedker, he's been a victim of being on some not-so-great teams.
With New Jersey, Schlemko played on the second or third pair, averaging over 18 and a half minutes per game. With the Sharks, it appears he will be penciled in on the third pair with Brenden Dillon. Dillon had a disappointing season but perhaps with a more stable partner like Schlemko, he will rebound. Dylan DeMelo, Mirco Mueller, and Tim Heed will likely challenge for spots during training camp, but unless a current NHL defenseman is moved, the top-6 looks to be set in stone.
Schlemko plays a safe game in which he does not make many mistakes. His underlying numbers were very good, albeit on an offensively challenged Devils team.
He's also a useful special teams player. In New Jersey, he played on the #1 PP unit and posted pretty impressive numbers. He will almost certainly get a look on the Sharks second unit and has a good chance of sticking over Vlasic/DeMelo. Schlemko plays on PK as well. He could take some pressure off Brent Burns, who was on the ice for almost 500 minutes more than the next closest Shark last year.
Expect Schlemko to play 16-19 minutes per game with a role on both the powerplay and penalty kill. 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points is an optimistic estimate of production. He does not have a long track record of success in the NHL, with last year being the only 'good' season of his career. The four year term may be a bit risky, but the $2.1 million cap hit is low if he lives up to expectations.
It's hard to ask the big guns on the team to repeat what they did last year. Acquiring Boedker and Schlemko, getting a full season out of Couture, and breakthroughs from young, internal talent will hopefully lessen the load for the older core to handle. It will also make the Sharks a better all-around team.
According to reports, Joe Pavelski will wear the 'C' for Team USA next month at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
It's hard to think of a better choice. Pavelski was named captain of the Sharks last offseason. That worked out pretty well, as the franchise made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time ever. At the center of it all was Little Joe, scoring 38 goals and 78 points during the regular season and leading the postseason with 14 goals. Joe Thornton wasn't too bad, either.
The tournament, in its inaugural year, will take place from September 17th - October 1st. It consists of eight teams; USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Europe, and North America (U23 team). Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Tomas Hertl, Joonas Donskoi, and Mikkel Boedker will play for their respective countries.
As August slowly creeps along, we finally have something to write about. San Jose has released brand new secondary logos.
They were designed by the same man who created the team's original logo. As of right now, they will not appear on any jersey next season and will only be used in "a limited number of marketing applications".
A bit anti-climatic, but pretty cool design nonetheless.