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.

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