Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sharks extend Vlasic

The Sharks announced earlier today that burgeoning young defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, still under his rookie contract through the 2008-09 season, has been signed to a four-year extension that will keep him in teal through the 2012-13 campaign. Financial terms of the deal are as of yet undisclosed.

Already a key cog on the Sharks' blueline, Vlasic is undoubtedly a critical component of the team's future and, with the contracts being doled out to young defensemen the past two summers, should receive somewhere in the ballpark of $3.1 million a year. Assuming those figures, the Sharks now have a respectable top three of Dan Boyle, Christian Ehrhoff and Vlasic on the back end locked up long-term at the reasonable annual rate of $13.1 million. The extension of Vlasic now, as opposed to next summer when the 21-year-old officially hits the restricted free agent market, is also a wise move, reducing the number of contracts Doug Wilson will have to deal with in the 2009 offseason when the likes of Torrey Mitchell, Ryane Clowe, Rob Blake, Mike Grier and Douglas Murray attain various levels of free agency.

It's quite possible that I am prescient. Or I peruse abysmally inaccurate hockey rumor blogs often enough to gauge information from one of them that miraculously sticks to the wall. Regardless, my estimate of $3.1 million was accurate as TSN reports that the 4-year deal is worth a grand sum of $12.4 million.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Report: Jeff Friesen still alive, invited to camp

The dog days of summer roll on with humidity peaking and hockey news scant. So, naturally, any semblance of puck-related happenings deserve to be mercilessly extrapolated and have their admittedly slim significance shamelessly overblown. Thus, it's with great pleasure that I direct you to an entry by Sharks prospect observer extraordinaire Max Giese on his blog Unfiltered Sports in which he claims a source close to the organization has confirmed that ex-Shark Jeff Friesen has received a training camp invite from San Jose. The source is unnamed, which is generally a red flag, but, hey, it's August, journalistic integrity has never been a hallmark here at Bleed Teal and as Against Me! once said, unsubstantiated rumors are good enough for me to base my life upon. After a prolific junior career with the Regina Pats of the WHL in which Friesen utilized his breakaway speed to rack up obcsene point totals, the left wing was selected 11th overall by the Sharks in the '94 draft and was widely viewed as a beacon of hope for the future. Things never really panned out and Friesen was finally shipped to the Ducks in the infamous Teemu Selanne deal in 2001.

But enough about the past. As far as present ramifications go, there really isn't a whole lot. First of all, even if the Sharks like what they see from the perennial Game 7 hero, the team is still in the neighborhood of $200,000 over the salary cap, which begs the question WHAT IS KYLE MCLAREN STILL DOING ON THE ROSTER, DW?!?! Ahem. Excuse me. Anyway, assuming K-Mac is shed, the Sharks would have the cap room to sign Friesen to serve as this season's career-resuscitation challenge. These experiments are largely hit or miss -- or, more appropriately, Roenick or Ozolinsh -- but at 32, it's certainly not outrageous to believe the former 30-goal scorer still has something left in the tank. Operating under the McLaren-out, Friesen-in assumption, the Sharks' depth chart looks something like this:

LW: Marleau, Michalek, Clowe, Friesen, Shelley
C: Thornton, Pavelski, Mitchell, Roenick, Goc
RW: Cheechoo, Setoguchi, Grier, fire hydrant (?)
D: Boyle, Blake, Ehrhoff, Vlasic, Murray, Lukowich, Joslin
G: Nabokov, Boucher, Greiss

Apart from the gaping hole at fourth-line right wing, which will likely be filled by moving Roenick over to the right side (although apparently pugnacious prospect Riley Armstrong, brother of Thrashers forward/Marian Hossa trade bait Colby, has the potential to make some waves at camp), the Sharks' roster looks rather set, indicating that a Friesen signing could very well be in the cards, at the very least as a replacement (read: upgrade) for Tomas Plihal. In other Sharks news, we are old.

Monday, August 18, 2008

McLellan's day with the Cup

Reason #7158 why the Stanley Cup is vastly superior to any other trophy in the wide world of professional sports: Each of its victors is awarded an entire day in full possession of the silver chalice. While this tidbit may not rank as high on the list of evidence stressing the Cup's irrefutable superiority to all other constituents of the sports trophy landscape as the fact that the team captain, not some moribund owner fresh off their fourth botox who couldn't give a rat's ass about their team's performance as long as it generates revenue, is the first to touch the Cup, it's still yet another unique tradition firmly entrenched in puck lore. Today was Todd McLellan's day with the Cup and the Red Wings assistant turned newly anointed Sharks bench boss elected to spend it in his hometown of Saskatoon, where it appears he received a parking ticket from an officer who had the veracity to subsequently request a photo with Lord Stanley (those crazy Canadian cops!) and had lunch at the Sheraton Cavalier with the mayor of Saskatoon.

Yes, if you haven't noticed, news indeed is that slow around the hockey world. But fear not, fellow puckheads: the preseason is a mere 34 days away! In news of a tad more consequence (albeit not much more), The Hockey News remind me why I canceled my subscription to their fine publication by posting their standings predictions. I'll have my own predictions a little closer to the season when questions regarding Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic and Martin Havlat's groin are (presumably) answered, but THN's projection of the Wild as Northwest Division champions is just one of many absurdities perpetuated by the magazine. Also, our good friends at The Battle of California inform us that the Golden State might as well be the Rickertale State as far as Versus (God's gift to upper-tier cable sports programming) is concerned. Finally, I realize I'm a little late to the boat on this one (that's an expression, right?), but as evident in this gameplay clip, it appears that our very own Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda are lending their broadcasting talent to 2K Sports' NHL 2K9 video game (the redheaded stepsister of hockey videogaming).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sharks re-sign Ryane Clowe

According to the Sharks' page at, Ryane Clowe has been re-signed with a salary of $1.6 million being reported for next season. Although no official statement has been made by the team, the Player's Association website has been notorious for breaking deals all offseason long. All that remains to be seen is the length of Clowe's term, which is unspecified by the PA. I'll save my unparalleled insight (which, undoubtedly, is what keeps you, my expansive reader base, from offing yourselves) for when the signing becomes official and we are aware of the contract length. However, if Clowe's cap hit over the term of the deal is in fact the $1.6 million he will be tendered next season, the Sharks will be ever-so-slightly under the cap although you know they'd still like to shed themselves of McLaren's contract in order to have the option of making a splash at the deadline.

UPDATE I lied. According to, the Clowe contract -- assuming it averages a $1.6 million cap hit, a largely unsubstantiated postulation at this point -- actually puts the Sharks exactly $225, 834 over the league's $56.7 million cap, making the divesting of McLaren a necessity rather than a convenience.

UPDATE part deux It's official. And it is a one-year deal, meaning the cap hit is indeed $1.6 million and the above cap space-related information still stands. Coming off a season drastically shortened by injury, a one-year deal makes sense for Clowe, who will have a longer period to prove himself and perhaps score a wealthier contract next offseason when he will once again have RFA status.