Sunday, February 17, 2008

Team To Watch: San Jose Sharks

With the deadline just nine days away, and the GMs meetings starting tomorrow, the team I am most interested in watching (other than the Leafs) is the San Jose Sharks. No contender has more cap room to spend than the sharks, who have between 10 and 12 million dollars in cap space.

The Sharks most pressing need is an offensive defenseman. They want a guy who can lead their powerplay and a guy with a decent shot from the point. There are several guys available who can provide this.

Bryan McCabe is one guy the Sharks are looking at. He has a big shot, and has been a key part of the Toronto powerplay for years. His contract is quite large, but the Sharks are one of the few teams in the league who can afford it. With that said, McCabe has a NTC and is unlikely to waive it for San Jose.

Tomas Kaberle, the other big Leaf defenseman, is also on the Sharks radar. He's cheap at just over 4 million per, and has a few years left on his contract, meaning he will make the Sharks better in the long term as well as now. Kaberle is unlikely to waive his NTC either, and I'm not totally sold that the Leafs want to move him anyways. The sharks would need to put together one hell of a package to lure the Czech to California.

Dan Boyle is available, and the Sharks are keeping a close eye on him. He's been overshadowed by the big three in Tampa for years, but the Sharks feel he would improve their club greatly. Boyle has had two big injuries this year which is scaring some teams away, but not the Sharks. If Boyle is to be dealt, the sharks will be right there.

Brian Campbell is iffy, as the Sabres continue to try and sign him. If Campbell is dealt, the Sharks will be all over him. In fact, I've heard they are very interested in bringing him in, and locking him up long term.

Finally, Rob Blake. The veteran D-man would fit in great with the Sharks, however, rumour has the Sharks not interested in trading prospects to a division rival. I don't see the Sharks getting Blake...

Up front, the Sharks would like to add a little bit more offense. Mats Sundin has been mentioned a lot, as has Marian Hossa. Overall, the Sharks main target is an offensive defenseman, but if they can improve their scoring up front, they wont be afraid to make that deal.

Patrick Marleau could be on his way out if the Sharks can find a replacement (Hossa, Sundin). His large contract and offensive struggles, however, will make him a tough sell. The Sharks are unlikely to deal Logan Couture, who is their top ranked prospect. They made sure last draft that they got him, it's unlikely they will make him part of any deal. Prospects Setoguchi and Petrecki are being shopped around, as is current Shark Matt Carle. Ty Wishart is another prospect who a lot of teams have interest in, though the Sharks are in no hurry to deal him.

Overall, I expect the Sharks to be very active in the trading market. They have a lot of young players and prospects to deal, and a lot of cap room to work with. The Sharks should look a lot more dangerous after 3 pm on February 26th.

Tomorrow's Team: Montreal Canadiens