Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post Episode 55 – No News Is Bad News?

July 8th, 2009, 8:13 am

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

We’re a week past the opening of free agency, and the Sharks have made no moves besides the re-signing of a few players.  The Dudes talk about whether this lack of action is cause for concern.  Also, now that the Sharks are in a tough salary cap situation, Mike and Doug posit several things the Sharks could do to get out of the predicament.


18 Comments to “Episode 55 – No News Is Bad News?”

  1. […] though the Sharks have been inactive, we haven’t.  New podcast here.  This time of year is ripe for speculation, and that’s what we do best, so this week is […]

  2. Jeremy says:

    Your thought about Cheechoo and sending him to the minors is an interesting one. I think it’d be a PR nightmare, but it’s certainly an option. How would waivers work in that situation? I believe he’d have to pass through re-entry waivers, if he were recalled (and a team could claim him and only have to pay half his salary). Half his salary could be enticing to other teams – and then the Sharks get nothing. But does he have to pass through waivers to get sent down?

  3. Mike says:

    Yes, he would have to pass through waivers in both directions. On the way down, a team could claim him, and they would have to pay the whole contract. Considering he has only one more year after this one, I’d say it’s not likely they’d bring him back through re-entry ever… it would probably just be a buyout in 2010.

  4. Phelpsphanphive says:


    People get confused about this and it’s annoying when you understand the reality and other people who you’re looking to for insight don’t.

    Heatley and the sharks would be a fine match.

    #1. We dont know that he has character flaws. that is an unknown. He won tournament best player twice at the international level for Team Canada. Of all Canada’s stars he’s been one of their best players over the last decade. You have to remember that Ottawa had a blame fest a year ago with Ray Emery and it turned out Emery wasn’t raelly at fault; Ottawa just sucked. Now everyone is getting on Heatley if he wants to leave badly enough to cause up this much of a stir maybe he has a good reason. We don’t know so at the very least you guys should be saying it’s an unknown, not that “he has character issues.” We don’t know that.

    #2. Most importantly here, Heatley does not effect the cap issue. Right now we need to sign 4 players for less than 2 mil. That’s impossible so no matter what we’re going to have to make a trade to fill out our roster.

    If we traded Michalek and Ehrhoff, or Michalek and Cheechoo for Heatley, then we’d still be in the same cap situation, only we’d have to sign 5 players now instead of 4 for less than 2 mil. That leaves us in the same exact place. We would not be any worse off after trading for Heatley. Do you follow me? Like right now, we’re going to have to make a trade to make filling out our roster possible. And if we trade for Heatley, then we will be in the same type of situation. We will still need to make a trade to fill out our roster.

    I think you guys are looking at it like either we trade for Heatley, or we trade for cap space or a group of players to fill out our roster. What I’m saying is it’s not either or. We could trade for Heatley, be in the same exact cap situation, and just need to sign 5 players for less than 2 mil instead of 4 players for less than 2 mil. Is there really a big difference there? Either way you don’t have enough cap space to sign the players, so either way another trade would have to happen.

    So please stop misinforming the sharks fans that don’t know any better. We could very easily trade Michalek and Ehrhoff for Heatley, have less than 2 mil cap space to sign 5 players. And then we could trade Cheechoo for a draft pick, or worst case scenario we could waive Cheechoo, and then we’d have 5 mil in cap space to sign 5 players. That’s sufficient. If you want to go further you can trade Nabby, who is grossly overpaid, and then sign say… the 2nd best goalie in Europe, since we missed the best one, or some other FA goalie for cheap. That’s what the scouts are for. Finding a good goalie for cheap if you need to go that route. And I haven’t even mentioned Marleau could be traded.

    So really between Marleau, Nabokov, and Cheechoo, even after trading Michalek/Ehrhoff for Heatley, one could still clear up 14 + million in cap space for this season if they wanted to.

    So there you go. The sharks could definitely trade for Heatley and still have a bunch of options.

  5. Phelpsphanphive says:


    Getting Heatley would not cripple the Sharks cap wise for five years. Worst case scenario if the sharks trade for him is they can always trade him a year later. Teams always are looking for star players.

  6. Phelpsphanphive says:

    One more thing.

    I’m listening to your podcast saying DW ha drafted well in the 1st rounds… Lol guys there’s no way in hell anyone can make that argument. They released 3 1st round picks just last week from the last decade.

    But what you have to look at is not who they drafted, but who they drafted compared to who they could have drafted.

    Michalek, Bernier, etc, decent NHL players, sure, but compared to Parise, Phaneuf, Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Shea Weber… Doug Wilson could have gotten any of these players, and two of some of them. Instead he got Michalek and Bernier in 2003. Setoguchi was a good pick but who got picked right afterwards? Kopitar. Better player. Setoguchi finally had a better season than Kopitar but it took playing on a line with Thornton to make it happen, and an off season by Kopitar playing under a new coach with a defensive system for the first time. Setoguchi is volume shooter goalscorer. Kopitar is a goalscorer, dangler, and set up man. So you’re doing the Sharks nad the fans a disservice telling eveyrone that we’re getting good 1st round picks. If the Sharks think they’re doing well when they’re not then they won’t be motivated to improve. And if the fans think we’re doing well when we’re not the fans won’t be motivated to pressure the management to do better. You can make the argument that the Sharks have done above average in the latter rounds, but in the 1st round the Sharks have been one of the bottom 3rd worst teams at drafting.

  7. Mike says:

    First of all, several “hockey people” (and I’m not even sure if I know what that means) including our own Randy Hahn has expressed reservations about Heatley from a character standpoint. He’s reportedly had problems with three coaches now, requested a trade, then wouldn’t accept one to EDM. Whether or not he has “character flaws” I agree isn’t known 100%, but as the 8-ball would say, SIGNS POINT TO YES. It’s a helluva gamble to get a guy like that with a $7.5M cap hit until the end of time.

    Second of all, about the first round stuff, please read the post I made over at our blog about the draft, and check out the spreadsheet PPP put together. The data doesn’t support your assertion that the Sharks are poor first round drafters. And just because we released previous first round picks doesn’t mean the Sharks are poor at drafting. Also, I don’t accept the ‘hindsight argument’ when it comes to drafting, because every team every year could have drafted someone better than they did.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Phelps, I totally agree with your first point. No one cares about character when you’re winning. If Heatley gets you closer to winning, take the chance.

    But you are way off on your second point. The salary cap is a huge factor in what happens – from both teams – and your scenarios are naive about the situation, and being able to trade. Ottawa is currently over the cap for next year. They cannot take anything close to Heatley’s cap hit in return, or they still have to unload salary. Now, they are in a better position than the Sharks to unload salary, because they could waive (demote) players to the minors. For the Sharks, there is definitely a big difference between needing 4 players and needing 5 players! At a minimum, it’s close to a $500k difference. Now, you could fill out the roster with AHL players, but does that get the team closer to winning? Probably not.
    The biggest obstacle in your vision to get an extra $14M in cap space is no trade clauses. If Marleau and Nabby don’t want to leave, or don’t want to go where you’d like, they can refuse. And then you are stuck with their salary. And really, unless you are trading them for picks only, you are not clearing their entire cap hit. So at this point, you’d have to ask, which teams have the cap space to take on $6M and give picks in return – probably no one that Patty or Nabby would waive their no trade clause to go to.
    And you do have to think long-term. If the Sharks get Heatley (and his no trade clause – so moving him next year is not a snap of the fingers), then they have Joe and Heater eating up $15M in cap space. That’s two players and more than 25% of next year’s cap. Throw in Boyle, and you’ve got 3 players eating up almost $22M next year. And that’s getting close to 45% of the cap.

    Heatley playing with Joe might be magical, but it absolutely would cripple the team’s ability to be as competitive as they are now.

  9. Phelpsphanphive says:


    That’s because you and so many others judge draft success on how many picks play in the NHL, not on how many picks become notable players in the NHL.

    Here is the only way to fairly assess drafting in the NHL. If San Jose has the 10th pick in the 1st round, but they pick a player who ends up to not be nearly as good as one or more players who got picked after the 10th pick in that round, then they have not drafted well at all.

    And to look at drafting overall, you have to look at which all-star players the Sharks missed out on in the early rounds (when they should have gotten them) vs how many all-star players the Sharks drafted in the latter rounds when most teams don’t get all-stars. It’s really a simple concept. Just look at the +/- of drafting impact players by the Sharks. Every all-star calibre player who the Sharks could have gotten but did not in the early rounds is a -1, and every all-star calibre player who the Sharks draft in the latter rounds, or even in the early rounds where they are supposed to get their all-star calibre, impact players, counts as a +1. This is a foolproof way of telling how well the Sharks have drafted impact players. Sure, your way may tell us how good the Sharks have been at drafting players who make it to the NHL but have little to no impact on the team. My way tells how well they’ve actually done at getting the good players who were available to them.

    So just off the top of my head. All-star calibre impact players the sharks have missed out on over the past decade: Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Ryan Suter… lol … it’s funny that you guys want DW to trade Michalek for Ryan Suter, because in the 2003 NHL entry draft, DW picked Michalek with the 6th overall pick, then with the 7th overall pick Nashville picked Ryan Sutuer. Guess we wouldn’t have to hope Nashville is stupid enough to give him up for Michalek if DW had just drafted Suter in the first place. Obviously Nashville did a better job drafting in that 1st round than the Sharks did, just as Calgary, Phili, Carolina, Florida, Buffalo, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and others did. Other players DW missed out on are Braydon Coburn, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, and Shea Weber. So right there just in one draft Doug Wilson missed out on 10 impact, potential all-star players, drafting Steve Bernier and Milan Michalek instead, neither of whom are impact players or potential all-stars. So right there that makes Doug Wilson a -10 in the 1st round of that draft when it comes to impact players. The evidence is all there. All you have to do is drop your previous view on this matter and just accept that this is the reality, not whatever you believed before. Doug Wilson also missed out on Anze Kopitar. Now he’s a -11.

    He did draft Setoguchi, who is almost an impact player, and could potentially be an all-star since he gets padded stats playing with Thornton. I’ll count him though as a +. That makes DW, Tim Burke and co. a -10 again. Clowe got drafted in the latter rounds. Not really in the same league as all those players I mentioned but what the hell.

    There, DW has missed out on 9 more impact, all-star players than he has found just from the two drafts that come to mind. That is god awful. Plus he just let go of three of the last six I believe first round picks he’s made. They’re so bad that half of his last first round picks have not even made the team. And all but one of the other ones he’s made are not even impact players.

    So don’t tell me the evidence is not there. You have to be bat shit crazy to actually think that. Just because you guys are biased towards the Sharks, have season tickets, love your team above all else, does not excuse you looking past the facts to just see what you want to see, to believe that your beloved team and beloved management are doing a good job when they aren’t. You can point to the 2003 NHL entry draft as the biggest reason why the Ducks beat the Sharks. You cannot argue that. Anaheim got Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf from that draft. San Jose got Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier from that draft. Michalek did nothing in the series against Anaheim, while Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, along with Bobby Ryan almost single handedly beat the Sharks. Yes I’m sure you’ll argue that Getzlaf and Perry really aren’t that important or that good of players, that Doug Wilson did not miss out on much, that it was really Hiller who beat the Sharks because he did such an amazing of job at stopping all those terribly difficult shots from the point by the Sharks. Of course he was just average against the Red Wings once he started facing some actual good scoring opportunities. Hmmm I wonder why that is.

    The fact is the reason the Sharks have not won a cup yet is because of all the star players they have past up in the draft. When you consider that the Sharks top line could have Zach Parise and Ryan Getzlaf (instead of Michalek and Bernier) on it in addition to Thornton, and then Marleau and Kopitar on the second line (Kopitar instead of Setoguchi), it’s easy to see that the Sharks could have won a Cup right now.

    Here is what the lineup woudl look like if Doug Wilson did not miss out on good players in the recent drafts.

    Marleau – Thornton – Parise
    Kopitar – Getzlaf – Clowe
    Mcginn – Pavelski – Cheechoo

    and so on, with the same defense. That would be the best core in the league. And we could have had it. And now you know, so maybe it’s time to write a new article on the drafting, a more accurate one, where you don’t just do the simple “Lukas Kaspar made the NHL, he’s a good solid 1st round pick by the Sharks. Or “Michalek is a 2nd line forward right now. Good 1st round pick Doug!” Without evne looking at all the better players who were still available that the Sharks could ahve had.

    Because that’s not how the NHL works. It’s not just a solitaire game where if your picks make the NHL they’re good picks, and if they don’t they’re bad. Hockey is a game played against other teams, so every aspect of winning comes down to being better than the other team. You play against the other team on the ice, and you evaluate how good your team is by comparing it to other teams. So of course then the way to tell how well you are drafting is to also compare your picks to other taems picks. And since SJ wants to win a Cup, they need to be one of the best teams at drafting.

    So that’s why your system is flawed. It’s not solitaire. You have to compare our picks to other team’s picks, and not just how many of our picks made the NHL vs how many of their picks made the NHL, but how good our picks turned out vs how good their picks turned out. We might have 5 1st round picks who made the NHL out of the last 10, and they’re all as good as Steve Bernier for example, and maybe Phili only has 4 out of the last 10 picks in the NHL, for example. But if their 4 NHL players are all-star calibre, and our 5 are Bernier calibre, then of course even though they have less picks from the 1st round that made the NHL they still did a better job. Your way of looking at the draft does not take any of what I’ve written about into consideration. It is very flawed. Any system that brings you to the conclusion that DW has done a good job drafting in the early rounds is a flawed system, and a system that has been designed to make your beloved team come out in a good light. It won’t help your team being biased like this. You need to be fair.

  10. Phelpsphanphive says:


    You’re focusing on all the reasons that would make it more difficult to make the trade than if there were no salary cap issues at all. But that does not mean they can’t do it. Just because Nabby and PM was no-trade clauses, and I used them in my example, does not mean this trade cannot be done. #1 There are teams out there who definitely want Patrick Marleau, even if they have to take on most of his salary. #2 Their having no-trade clauses does make it more difficult to trade them, but if Doug Wilson lets them know they are not wanted here do you really think either of them will want to stay? Both would likely in that scenario give Doug Wilson a list of teams, and at the very least if you don’t think he could get rid of one of them then in my opinion you’re way off base. With Patrick Marleau of course you would want to get a good return, but with Nabby the issue is that he’s taking up a huge amount of salary cap for his production. Nabby has a no-trade but not anything that says he can’t be waived. With Patrick Marleau you don’t threaten him with waiving him because you don’t want to waive him in any scenario. With Nabby you don’t want to threaten him either because you don’t want to be disrespectful to any player, but you can tell him “Sorry Nabby there is no place on this team for you anymore. We don’t want to pay your cap hit so the reality is that we will end up waiving you if we can’t trade you.”

    So there are definitely ways to trade Nabby and Marleau. You may disagree with potentially waiving Nabby, but that’s just one example. You don’t have to tell him you might waive him to trade him. There are different ways for DW to get rid of them without causing bad publicity if he wants to move them.

    #3. Say you’re right and both Marleau and Nabby can’t be moved. Do you still think the Sharks can’t make the trade work? That’s the beauty of the salary cap. People like you always use it as an excuse for why deals can’t be done, but the opposite also rings true. No it’s not a “reason” why trades can go can work that otherwise would not, but there is almost always a way to make a trade happen because of all the different player salaries.

    So if Ottawa is 2 mil over the salary right now, then they have a way to get under the cap. With Heatley, they’re 2 mil over. After my example of a trade for Heatley, they’ll be 2 mil over. There is no guarantee they can trade Heatley, so they would not have signed Kovalev in the first place if they did not have a way to get under the cap even with Heatley. The Sharks would be giving them 1 or 2 extra roster places in exchange for Heatley anyway, which means 1 or 2 of their current players going against the cap would have to sent down to the minors.

    Anyway here are two trade examples that help the Sharks and work under the cap. These are just two examples of trades that would work. There are many more that work as well.

    San Jose offers Milan Michalek (4.3mil), Jonathan Cheechoo (3mil), Jamie Mcginn (1mil), and a 2nd round pick next year for Dany Heatley (7.5) and Jason Smith (2.6).

    Ottawa takes on 8.3mil in salary, and gives 10.1mil back to San Jose.

    San Jose goes from having 1.4mil in cap space to being .4mil over the cap.
    Ottawa goes from being 1.95mil over the cap to being .15mil over the cap (but with 1 extra roster player). Because Ottawa has an extra roster player, a forward, Ottawa will waive/send down one of the following players:
    Chris Kelly 2,125,000 cap hit, Chris Neil 2,000,000 cap hit, Jarkko Ruutu 1,300,000 cap hit, Christoph Schubert 883,333 cap hit, Nick Foligno 850,000 cap hit, Ilja Zubov 850,000 cap hit, James O’Brien 845,833 cap hit, Shean Donovan 625,000 cap hit, Ryan Shannon 600,000 cap hit, Jesse Winchester 550,000, Cody Bass 513,333.

    No matter which of those players Ottawa waives or sends down, Ottawa gets under the cap. It’s just a question of whether it puts them 400k under the cap or a couple mil under the cap.

    So Ottawa is set.

    To the Sharks. The are .4 over the cap and need to sign 5 forwards I believe. They now have an 8th NHL defenseman in Jason Smith. They only need 6 + Joslin and Mike Moore in the AHL in case of an injury.

    San Jose then either trades Jason Smith (2.6mil) asap, or simply waives him. Now the Sharks go from .4mil over the cap to 2.2mil under the cap. That’s not enough to sign 5 lower line players though, not to mention 5 good ones. San Jose still has an extra defenseman, so they trade or waive or Doug Murray (2.5mil). Now the Sharks have 4.7 in cap space. Now not only do they have enough to sign 5 forwards, but they can sign five good ones for the respective lines. 4th line players cost between 500k – 700k. So three fourth liners at 600k each average costs 1.8 mil of that 4.7 in cap space. That then leaves 2.9mil left to sign just two third line players. Meaning DW can spend almost 1.5mil on each third liner. He can get good third liners for that price.

    So that works out just fine under the cap. Your only possible complaint here could be that you don’t like the players going back and forth, that you don’t think both sides would take that trade. But complaining about that would just be proving my point because you’d be complaining about the players now, not the cap. Initially your only complaint was that it wouldn’t work under the cap. I just showed you that it can work under the cap. If you now complain that yes, this example works under the cap, but the player don’t work, that’s irrelevant. Because now that I’ve proved it can work under the cap, i’ve proved that even if Ottawa does not like that particular combination of players, that it can work with other players too. If it works with these players it can work with many combinations of other players as well. I have given you a plausible example where San Jose takes on a few extra million from Ottawa in players Ottawa is not high on, which is what Ottawa wants. I have given you an example where both teams end up far enough under the cap that they have room to fill out the rest of their roster will good players. If you want to complain that Ottawa would not want any of the following players, which are the players the multiple combinations of deals that would work under the cap could be made from, that’s one thing. Those players are Ehrhoff, Murray, Vlasic even, Lukowich, Cheechoo, Michalek, Mcginn, Couture, Moore, Joslin. If you don’t think Ottawa has interest in any of those players then of course no deal could be made. But don’t tell me there is not a deal to be made that leaves both teams with sufficient salary room, because I just showed you that there is. You can carry your tune and try to find flaw with it no matter what, and that’s the whole problem. Even if there was some small flaw to my example, which there is not, but even if there was, if you found it, I bet if you looked at it and said to yourself “I’ve found a flaw in this example, how can I fix it?” instead of “I’ve found a flaw, now I can prove myself right by saying there is no way this deal can be done” then you could actually fix it and make it work. And same thing with DW. If he looks at the situation without even trying to make a deal and says to himself this can’t work, of course he’s not gonna learn that hey now that i actually study it I see there are ways to make it work. Which is what you’re doing. You’re looking at all the problems with this, like how SJ is cap strapped and needs to sign so many players, how Ottawa is over the cap, instead of doing what I just did, which is looking at it the scenario like “Okay, if I really wanted to get Heatley, is there a way I can get around the initial problems and make a deal that works for both teams?”

    And there is here, just like there almost always is. In a league where you can waive salary, trade other players to make another trade work, cancel cap hits by sending players both ways, and where you have so many different cap hits to work with, there is almost always a way to balance it out in a way that can work for both teams.

    I’m sorry if you don’t want to see this but it’s the truth.

    Here is what SJ would look like after my Heatley trade.

    1.6mil player-Mitchell-1.6mil player
    600kmil player (average) – 600kmil player – 600kmil player

    Dan Boyle – Christian Ehrhoff
    Rob Blake – Vlasic
    Lukowich – Huskins
    (Joslin and Moore in AHL)

    And there you go. Instead of Cheechoo and Michalek, we have Heatley, and I’ve actually improved the cap situation doing that trade from where it was. Before that trade, we had 1.5mil in cap to sign 4 players. Afterwards, I made 4.7mil to sign 5 players. So not only can I make the trade work, but I can improve our cap situation while doing it. That should really tell you something.

    The other trade is instead of Michalek and Cheechoo to Ottawa, it’s Michalek and Ehrhoff. And then instead of trading/waiving Murray and Jason Smith later for cap reasons, I would trade Cheechoo and Smith for cap reasons. The end result is basically the same, just instead of Ehrhoff being left on the team, Murray is left on the team. Precisely why the 1st deal is so much better for the Sharks. Still if one were interested in Heatley even if they had to trade Ehrhoff that second example is just another good one that works.

    Also if you don’t think Ottawa would want to dump Jason Smith, he’s not the only player that would work. Take your pick of any 2mil + salary on Ottawa who you think they would want to dump. Maybe the change means they have to send down 2 players instead of 1, or something small like that.

  11. Phelpsphanphive says:

    Dudes on hockey,

    Please get all the facts straight before saying things on the air. What you say impacts the opinions of fans who don’t know any better but to get their opinions from other people, instead of thinking for themselves. So if you guys say anything that is incorrect, it’s just going to make more Sharks fans incorrect on that issue as well. Just make sure you rethink everything a couple of times, and look at it from every angle, before saying something can’t be done when it can, or saying the Sharks are good at drafting when they’ve been one of the worst teams at drafting in the 1st round since their inception into the NHL. Before Setoguchi, they had only drafted 1 single impact forward with all their top 5 1st round picks, their top 10 overall 1st round picks. And especially recently there have just been so many great young talents coming into the NHL, but San Jose has not gotten any of them except Setoguchi, who is not even in the same league as the players I’m referring to.

  12. Mike says:


    Here is the only way to fairly assess drafting in the NHL. If San Jose has the 10th pick in the 1st round, but they pick a player who ends up to not be nearly as good as one or more players who got picked after the 10th pick in that round, then they have not drafted well at all.

    A lot of people, including me, disagree with this. There are two major problems with this approach. One, you’re evaluating with 20/20 hindsight, which isn’t fair. You’re presupposing that teams can predict with extreme accuracy which players will turn out good, and which won’t. Remember, they are acting when these kids are just 18 years old, and have years to go to mature physically and mentally. To borrow your phrase, you must be batshit crazy if you think the players (who are actual people remember) can be evaluated and forecasted like robots or computer software.

    Second, this approach means that every team is a bad drafter. Let’s look at 2001. I’ll give PIT and CAR a pass for Fleury and Stall, but by your logic, FLA, CBJ, SJS, NSH, ATL are poor drafters because they passed over Phaneuf. Then we can say MTL, PHI, NYR, LAK, CHI, NYI, and WAS are bad drafters because they passed on Getzlaf. Of course BOS, EDM, and VAN are bad because they didn’t draft Corey Perry.

    I’m sure we’ll have a completely different set of results for 2002, and every other draft year before and since. How is this a better evaluation system again?

    Also, thanks for the podcast advice, but we’ll take it from here. Nothing in the lengthy polemics above have proven to me that we have said anything “incorrect”, just different from what you believe.

  13. Evilducks says:

    In 1999 all 30 teams (including the team that drafted him) drafted other players before Henrik Zetterberg. All teams in the NHL are therefor terrible at drafting.

    In 1998 all 30 teams (including the team that drafted him) drafted other players before Pavel Datsyuk. All teams in the NHL are therefor terrible at drafting.

  14. Joshhatrick says:

    Mike, Evilducks,

    I have to disagree with you guys.

    What Phelpsphanfive was saying is not the same as what you think he’s saying.

    He did not say every team that passed on Phaneuf is bad at drafting. And then every team that passed on Getzlaf is bad at drafting. No, what he said, which I think he put brilliantly, is that if you could have had a great player at your pick, but you passed on him, you’ve done a bad job.

    For example, San Jose passed on Phaneuf, Carter, Parise, and so many others to draft Michalek. In other words they passed on dozens of great players to pick one who isn’t great. That means they performed poorly in that draft. But there are other teams who also passed on Phaneuf, Carter, Parise, but who passed on them to draft another great player. That means they still ended up with a great player, which is what matters, therefore they did a good job in that round. A perfect job? No, but not everyone can be perfect. Still good though.

    Mike, you made the incorrect argument that “FLA, CBJ, SJS, NSH, ATL are poor drafters because they passed over Phaneuf,” and that “we can say MTL, PHI, NYR, LAK, CHI, NYI, and WAS are bad drafters because they passed on Getzlaf,” and that “of course BOS, EDM, and VAN are bad because they didn’t draft Corey Perry.”

    That is not what he was saying at all. I don’t understand how you could even think that. What’s so brilliant, and you’ll see in a second, is that even though is system is so simple, it really is flawless for what it’s looking at. It’s basically a base analysis for good or bad drafting. On top of this formula you could mathematically take into account draft order to make it even more specific, but even without doing that on a scientific level, it still can be used to tell how well a team has drafted. It would not surprise me if this is a more basic kind of the formula that Ken Holland uses to assess past drafts.

    I’ll go team by team. Florida did pass on a lot of great players, much like the Sharks, but they passed on all of them to draft Nathan Horton, who is a very good player in his own right. So did they do great? No, but at least they still ended up with a top line player with one of the better wrist shots in the league, as opposed to the Sharks ending up with Michalek. CBJ passed on many too to pick Zherdev. That was not a very good pick by CBJ, but Zherdev is more skilled than Michalek, and has a higher ceiling than Michalek. So they did do better than the Sharks, even though they did not do great. Buffalo drafted Vanek, who is a premier player. So again, just because they passed on Phaneuf does not mean it’s a bad pick. That is not what phelpsfan was saying. Nashville passed on all those great players for Ryan Sutuer, who is a very good player right now, and may very well develop into a great player. Not a perfect pick, no, but way better then drafting Michalek. So was it a great 1st round for Nashville and Florida? No, but it was still a good 1st round because they ended up with some great young players. And those are teams that don’t even measure themselves by Cups. If the Sharks want to win a Cup, they do not only need to be better than teams like Nashville, Columbus, and Florida, which they have not, but they need to be the best. Which they weren’t hahahaha. Not even close. Moving on. Atlanta passed on Phaneuf, Getzlaf, Parise and company to draft Braydon Coburn. Great pick? No, but he’s a better player than Michalek, and a better pick because they drafted him later in the draft. Calgary drafted Phaneuf. Obviously a better pick. Montreal drafted A Kostitsyn. Persoanlly I’d rather have him than Michalek because he has better hands but I realize objectively it’s a wash. Montreal did not do a good job there. That being said they picked 4 picks later and thus had 3 less good players left to choose from, yet at worst they got a player who is as good as Michalek, so it’s still a better pick because they got him later. You mentioned Philadelphia as drafting poorly by his logic. Completely not what he meant. Didn’t he mention Richards and or Carter? Philadelphia passed on Getzlaf, but in order to draft Jeff Carter! It may not be the perfect pick depending on who you ask, but it’s a damn good one. New York Rangers drafted Hugh Jessiman at #12. Bad pick. LA drafted Dustin Brown 13th. Very good pick. They could have gotten Getzlaf or Parise but Brown is still a great pick, because bottom line they got a great player from the 1st round. The objective is to draft an all-star and they did that. Chicago drafted Brent Seabrook at 14th overall. Not a perfect pick but a good one. As good as or better player than Michalek, and they got him later. Islanders drafted Robert Nilsson 15th overall. Bad pick. So far two teams have done worse than the Sharks in the draft, one has done about the same, and that means 11 of the first 15 have done better so far. San Jose drafted Steve Bernier 16th overall, with Parise still on the board. Terrible pick. Just awful. New Jersey picked Parise 17th overall. Great pick obviously. Washington drafted Eric Fehr 18th overall. Bad pick. But they made up for it by drafting Mike Green, Alex Semin, and Backstrom in subsequent drafts and/or rounds. Anaheim drafted Getzlaf next. Great pick. Minnesota drafted Brent Burns 20th. Better player than Michalek and much later in the draft. Way to go Minny. Edmonton drafted Marc-Antoine Pouliot 22nd. So far hasn’t turned out to be as good a player as Michalek, but you have to remember now that these picks are in the late 1st round, and the Sharks drafted Michalek early. Vancouver drafted Ryan Kesler at 23rd. As good a player or better than Michalek and much later in the round. Philadelphia drafted Mike Richards 24th overall. They got two franchise players in one round. I wouldn’t really be able to count picks 10-20 usualyl because it’s much harder to draft franchise players there than at 6th overall (comparing those picks to Michalek), yet most teams still managed to do it.

    Through the first 24 picks in the draft, 14 franchise players were drafted. San Jose was one of the minority teams who did not pick a franchise player, and they have been one of the teams not to get a franchise player in almost every single draft since… forever? They drafted Marleau once upon a time… I remember that…

    Through the first 10 picks of the draft, San Jose, Columbus, and Montreal were the only teams not to draft a franchise player.

    That’s pretty bad. And now that it’s been spelled out to you I don’t see how you can deny what’s right in front of your eyes. I mean just tell me the last time the Sharks made a draft pick as good as Phaneuf, or Getzlaf, or Zach Parise, or Eric Staal, or Thomas Vanek? When, EVER?????

    You can’t. And that’s all there is to it. You’ll say Marleau but he isn’t on that level, and that was a decade ago, and Doug Wilson did not draft him. You’ll then say Setoguchi but he isn’t on that level either. There’s no one, just face it. They had about 100 opportunities to make a pick like that, and they missed every single one. If that isn’t bad then I don’t know what is.

    Doug Wilson was named General Manager in May of 2003. Since then, there have been 7 NHL entry drafts. In those 7 NHL entry drafts with Doug Wilson at the helm, the Sharks have not drafted a single franchise player. They have not drafted a single MVP candidate, or a single Smithe candidate. They have not drafted a single 50 goal scorer. They have not even drafted a 40 goal scorer. They have not even drafted a single All-Star player in that time.

    TERRIBLE. How can you not see this? How???

    And I’m not asking for very much from you. All I’m asking for is one. Name me one premier player the Sharks, and specifically Doug Wilson, has ever drafted. Throughout the entire history of the Sharks, just name me one Yzerman type pick, one player that the Sharks picked who is as good as Getzlaf, Phaneuf, Forsberg, Sakic, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Lecavalier, whoever else. There simply isn’t one. And considering you need players like that to win Cups, that really explains it all The Sharks drafting has just been bad. I know you’re a season ticket holder who drools at whatever Doug Wilson throws in front of you, but you need to put your prejudice aside when you do this blog and podcast. You have a responsibility to see the truth, and to talk about it, or else you’re just another idiotic Sharks fan who thinks the team, the management, the drafting, and development is way better than it really is.

    The evidence is right in front of you. The question is, are you ready to open up your eyes?

  15. Mike says:


    Thanks for your reasoned comments. First let me respond to this:

    He did not say every team that passed on Phaneuf is bad at drafting. And then every team that passed on Getzlaf is bad at drafting. No, what he said, which I think he put brilliantly, is that if you could have had a great player at your pick, but you passed on him, you’ve done a bad job.

    I was responding to this quote from PH^3:

    If San Jose has the 10th pick in the 1st round, but they pick a player who ends up to not be nearly as good as one or more players who got picked after the 10th pick in that round, then they have not drafted well at all.

    I think that’s consistent with what I said. To take a few examples, Zherdev, Horton, Suter, Jessiman, yes Carter, and even Vanek are not “nearly as good” as Getzlaf. By the original poster’s criteria, they have “not drafted well at all”.

    Doug Wilson was named General Manager in May of 2003. Since then, there have been 7 NHL entry drafts. In those 7 NHL entry drafts with Doug Wilson at the helm, the Sharks have not drafted a single franchise player. They have not drafted a single MVP candidate, or a single Smithe candidate. They have not drafted a single 50 goal scorer. They have not even drafted a 40 goal scorer. They have not even drafted a single All-Star player in that time.

    That’s a pretty tough criteria, considering it’s not really fair to even consider 2005 picks as developed (like Jack Johnson, Gilbert Brule, Martin Hanzal, etc.). Looking at some other teams, the same is true for Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, L.A., and Minnesota. And I only got through half the list. Oh, and the Red Wings too.

    I don’t want to concentrate too much more on 2003, because I think we are focusing too much on one draft year. Of course I agree that the Sharks could have made a better pick than they did that year in the first round. I don’t see that as the end of the world, or as a sign that the Sharks are horrible at drafting.

    Throughout the entire history of the Sharks, just name me one Yzerman type pick, one player that the Sharks picked who is as good as Getzlaf, Phaneuf, Forsberg, Sakic, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Lecavalier, whoever else.

    Pat Falloon. But seriously though, the Sharks didn’t have an opportunity to draft any of those players, save Phaneuf and Getzlaf, which we’ve already beaten to death. Part of the reason we haven’t had those opportunities is the Sharks haven’t had a top-5 pick since 1998. As I’ve written about on our blog, the track record of players tails off quickly, starting somewhere between #5 and #10.

  16. Joshhatrick says:


    He said “if they don’t pick a player who is NEARLY as good.”

    That’s the difference. Carter is not as good as Getzlaf. But is he not nearly as good? No, he is still very good. That’s the distinction he made. Do you really think drafting Jeff Carter when Ryan Getzlaf is still available means you’ve “failed?” No. He means drafting Milan Michalek when you could have drafted Getzlaf or Phaneuf or Carter even means you’ve failed. You’re not always going to get the best player available, but if there are 20 top players with all-star potential available through the first two rounds of the draft and you don’t even get one of them, then you’ve failed. You don’t have to get teh best one. Just one of them, at lesat when there are so many, like there were in 2003.

    So there’s the distinction. He said if you don’t draft someone nearly as good as a player picked after your pick, you’ve failed, but you interpreted that as “if you don’t draft someone just as good, you’ve failed.”

    That small distinction is why his analysis of the Sharks drafting remains correct, as well as his formula.

  17. Joshhatrick says:


    my god you are really trying hard to dance around this.

    It’s simple, really.

    Name one franchise player the sharks have drafted in the last decade. ONE. To say the sharks didn’t have a chance to draft any of the names mentioned AS EXAMPLES by that guy is ridiculous. They are examples. The Sharks may not have had the opportunity to draft a player on that list, but they have had plenty of opportunities to draft players “like” those, of similar ability. Remember all those early 1st round picks in the early 90’s? Who do we have to show for those drafts?

    Obviously those aren’t Doug Wilson’s fault. But since he took over, the same terrible drafting has continued.

    So, I’ll say it again. Name me a franchise player the sharks have drafted in the last decade, in the same mold as probably every single other NHL franchise has drafted over the last decade. I’m going to have to check at some point but I would not be surprised if the Sharks are actually the only team in the entire NHL not to draft a franchise player in the last decade.

    Actually, let’s make that all-star. Because in your effort to dance around the truth you will say that Vlasic or Pavelski or whoever is a franchise player.

    So, let’s make that all-star. Name me an all-star the sharks have picked in the last decade.

    And then, after that, maybe try to find another NHL team who hasn’t drafted an all-star in the last decade. Even if you find one or two it won’t change the truth that the sharks drafting is really really bad in the early rounds, but actually checking may help you realize how bad the sharks drafting has really been.

    I mean not one all-star for a decade. That raelly does say it all. So dance all you like but you can’t win without all-stars, and franchise players, and it’s going to be really hard to acquire enough of them to win a stanley cup when you aren’t drafting any of your own.

    And, oh yeah, the sharks can’t win a cup to save their lives. they can’t even score. as much as i follow them because they’re my home team, i know that they’re nohere close to the cup. not because they lack heart. no. they just don’t have very much talent. they don’t have one true goalscorer on their team. and you need at least a couple.

  18. Mike says:


    I’m afraid we’re going to have to agree to disagree. My view of the draft is it’s to serve two goals:

    1. To draft NHL players.
    2. To draft great NHL players.

    The Sharks, as you say and I readily admit, are not particularly good at number 2. However, they seem to be better than many at #1. I’ve never said that the Sharks are the best at drafting. But they seem to have a knack for drafting guys that make an NHL roster. And while it might be nicer to just go ahead and draft the stars, if you have NHL players, you have trade value. The Sharks traded two good home-grown talents to get Thornton, and two good home-grown talents to get Boyle.

    I must say, you have a knack for dragging me down this rabbit hole :-).

    So, I’ll say it again. Name me a franchise player the sharks have drafted in the last decade, in the same mold as probably every single other NHL franchise has drafted over the last decade. I’m going to have to check at some point but I would not be surprised if the Sharks are actually the only team in the entire NHL not to draft a franchise player in the last decade.

    Clearly they haven’t. Unfortunately for this discussion, all teams are not created equal in the draft. The Sharks haven’t had a top-5 pick in that time. Considering the steep decline of the success rate for players outside the top five, I’d say that’s a crucial element. So here’s a list of teams that haven’t drafted an All-Star out of the top 5 in the last 10 years (a ‘franchise player’ is too hard to define):

    Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, NY Islanders, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Vancouver.

    The teams that have had only one is pretty significant as well, including Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Nashville, New Jersey, the Rangers, Ottawa, and Washington.

    While it’s disappointing the Sharks haven’t been able to pick a elite player out of the draft for themselves recently, if you normalize the playing field, they are not alone. Pittsburgh is a good example. If they didn’t get Malkin, Crosby, Fleury, and Staal (all top two) you think they would have won the Cup? The Sharks, to their credit or deficit, did not have the opportunity to draft those players.

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