San Jose has narrowed it's training camp roster down to 30 after significant cuts today.
The remaining group:
Marcus Sorensen, a bit surprisingly, is no longer in the mix for a spot in the opening night lineup. He'll need some time to adjust to North American hockey in the AHL before potentially making his NHL debut later this season. Other notable cuts include Julius Bergman, Ryan Carpenter, Rourke Chartier, and Joakim Ryan.
Kevin Labanc has impressed during the preseason and as a result, is still competing for an open forward spot. Nikolay Goldobin and Barclay Goodrow are still around, too. Alex Schoenborn is injured and not in the mix. Timo Meier has mono and is out a month.
So ultimately, the Sharks still have two or three forwards to cut. Goldobin, Goodrow, Haley, and Labanc are at the most risk. Then you have Nieto, Wingels, and Karlsson, who look like safer bets to make the lineup, but may still be passed over by someone in the first group. We'll see how that group performs in the next preseason game, but right now it's very close. Labanc has gained a lot of ground on Goldobin and Goodrow. Haley is a punishing candidate for 13th forward. It will be interesting to see how things play out heading into next week.
On defense, Dylan DeMelo, Tim Heed, and Mirco Mueller are still around but on the outside looking in. If the Sharks carry seven defensemen, one of them will stick and act as #7. It's a tough spot developmentally, but someone has to fill the role. The organization may rotate these guys between NHL and AHL to insure they aren't just sitting in the press box. Of course, injuries are inevitable. I don't doubt we'll see these guys at some point or another during the season.
In net, it looks like the Sharks have found their tandem. As expected, Dell has won the backup role and is set to start the season behind Martin Jones. If he falters, expect GM Doug Wilson to make a move for a different option.
NHL hockey is just over a week away!
Top prospect Timo Meier will be sidelined for a month after being diagnosed with mono.
An unfortunate roadblock for the 2015 ninth overall pick, who was a prime candidate to earn a spot on the team out of training camp. Meier will be out of action until at least the end of October, and will likely start his professional career with the AHL Barracuda before potentially joining the big club this season.
This does give an opportunity to other prospects who were battling Meier for a roster spot. Nikolay Goldobin and Marcus Sorensen specifically. At this point, it looks like there are three forward spots that are not 'set in stone'. Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Joonas Donskoi, Mikkel Boedker, Joel Ward, and Chris Tierney are guaranteed. Tommy Wingels, Matt Nieto, and Melker Karlsson have the inside track for the last three. But Barclay Goodrow, Nikolay Goldobin, Marcus Sorensen, and even Kevin Labanc are in the running to steal a job.
It's not 'Timo Time' in San Jose just yet. But Meier has the mentality and work ethic to come back better than ever from a setback like this. In the meantime, the Sharks have plenty of depth up front to step in and compete.
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!