Monday, May 5, 2008


Yes, they showed heart, resiliency, guts, gumption and all those other great nouns that seemed to be inexplicably removed from the Sharks' dictionary in years past by storming back from a 3-0 series deficit to at least make things interesting. But at the end of the day, this year's version of the San Jose Sharks, the purported "team of destiny" that so many confidently picked to raise Lord Stanley's chalice was an exact replica of the past two equally disappointing incarnations, bowing out once again in Game 6 of the second round. Sure the Sharks can take some positives with the way they battled back when staring death in the eye, but moral victories aren't what this team needs. Moral victories aren't going to save Ron Wilson's job. Moral victories don't win you the Stanley Cup.

I'll file report cards for the players and provide more analysis in the days to come, but the prime objective of the offseason should be to find a fitting replacement for Ron Wilson. His laughable containment-style defense and passive offensive system combined with his insufferable apathy makes him the polar opposite of what this team needs behind the bench. No, they don't need a motivator, no matter what so-called pundits -- particularly those north of the 49th -- say. Professional athletes don't need someone to motivate them, they need someone who can properly utilize their talents and be able to adapt to various opposing gameplans instead of stubbornly implementing a completely static power play entirely reliant on a crowded Joe Thornton making unbelievable passes that never come. Doug Wilson has a host of options as far as a replacement goes -- Pat Burns comes to mind -- but what's urgent is getting Ron Wilson out of the Bay Area.

Also, despite a rather underwhelming postseason performance, Brian Campbell needs to be retained. Say what you will about his lack of physicality and occasional defensive mishaps, Campbell is the power-play quarterback and offensive blueliner that has been missing for so long on the Sharks' back end. As painful as it is to say, his poor playoff campaign is actually a positive in terms of contract negotiations as it likely knocks over five hundred thousand off his asking price.

As far as trades go, I really don't believe the Sharks can get fair value if they try to trade Patrick Marleau, so there's no reason to do so. However, Matt Carle and Kyle McLaren both need to be dealt to free up valuable cap space to sign Campbell as well as key RFAs such as Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe and Christian Ehrhoff. I imagine they will be traded at the draft either for picks or marginal roster players in return, but as long as Doug Wilson is able to shed salary, the moves will be successful. It's going to be another long summer in Sharks territory, best to get started early.


GregSJ said...

It's amazing how fast Matt Carle has gone from a potential all star to a weak link

Gautham Ganesan said...

It's amazing how fast Matt Carle has gone from a potential all star to a weak link

He was certainly mired in a season-long sophomore slump, but a lot of his ineffectiveness was due to Ron Wilson failing to give him a sufficient amount of ice time -- if Wilson played Carle at all. I still believe Carle will someday be in the upper echelon of offensive NHL defensemen, but this team needs cap relief if they are to improve over the off-season and with Doug Wilson having signed Carle to a sizable -- and questionable -- contract extension last Thanksgiving, he's an easy target to move. I'm sure a rebuilding team like Tampa would swap a mid-round pick and second-tier prospect for him.

GregSJ said...

I agree that it will take a different coach to mold Matt Carle into a top tier defensemen. I do question his on ice intelligence however as he made a lot of stupid plays late in the year. Considering his success in college, I would have assumed that he would already have a good foundation and be beyond making cross ice passes in his own zone. By any chance did you read Ryan Garner's blog on I don't think moving Carle will be as hard as he says given that teams will usually trade for young prospects that have shown less in their first 2 years then Carle. However he does raise a good point with McLaren.
BTW keep up with posting! You have great analysis and I enjoy your prospective.