Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Deadline Musings

It's usually wise to avoid all things Hockeybuzz, but the rumormongering website's Sharks correspondent Ryan Garner brings up an interesting point in the wake of yesterday's pseudo-blockbuster deal (at least by this season's low standards) which saw Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore shipped to Ottawa in exchange for Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves. Garner's sentiment, in short: that should have been the Sharks.

Frankly, it's hard to disagree. Commodore is the physically imposing, Cup experience-touting blueliner missing from the Sharks lineup, while Stillman represents the speedy top flight left winger San Jose so desperately needs to play with Marleau. But with the ex-Canes off the market, Doug Wilson must now look elsewhere for a deadline addition. The potential candidates:

Brian Campbell, Buffalo - Let's face it. This isn't 1998 and Sandis Ozolinsh is not a legitimate power play quarterback. While the Sharks' man-advantage unit will always run through Joe Thornton, the lack of a potent offensive threat on the blueline who can also double as a competent defenseman has been glaring this season. Campbell can capably fill that void and, a veteran of the Eastern Conference Finals the last two seasons, has significant playoff experience.

Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay - Most of Campbell's descriptors apply to Boyle, but the Lightning defenseman also has the added attraction of being a right-hand shot, ideal for running a power play alongside Thornton. It's impossible to tell where Tampa Bay would be today had Boyle not been the victim of a freak accident during training camp, but they likely would be out of the Eastern Conference basement. Boyle also has a Stanley Cup ring.

Rob Blake, Los Angeles - It's unlikely he could be had for cheap from a division rival, and this certainly isn't the Blake of old, but the former Cup-winner with the Avalanche has just the mix of postseason experience, grit and puckhandling ability the Sharks crave on the back end.

Martin Straka, NY Rangers - With the Rangers being in the thick of things in the East, it's unlikely they'll deal a key cog of their top line, but Straka is an impending UFA. His veteran savvy and playmaking ability would mesh well with Marleau on San Jose's second line, but once again, he'll be tough to pry from the Rangers.

So there you have it. With two weeks left, the onus will be on DW to shake things up heading into the postseason despite the team's recent surge.

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