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

post DW Signs Hjalmarsson to Offer Sheet, Welcomes Stan Bowman to Oz

July 9th, 2010, 10:53 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike
That Cup won't buy you any cigarettes up in here

That Cup won't buy you any cigarettes up in here, but we'll take that pretty boy you got.

Sorry I haven’t posted lately, as we’ve said in the podcast, I’ve been out of town, and all the semi-interesting UFA stuff happened before I got back.  This morning, I get the first juicy news since my illustrious homecoming.  The Sharks have signed another difficult-to-spell person that no one expected.  This time, it’s a different Scanadavian country, and a different position- the Blackhawks’ Niklas Hjalmarsson was signed to a 4 year, $14M offer sheet, per Bob MacKenzieHjalmarsson averaged almost 20 minutes of ice time in the #4 hole, behind Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Brian Campbell.  I would be willing to wager (and I imagine DW does too) that Hjalmarsson would not be in that slot for 28 other teams (Philly possibly the only exception).  Assuming this is true, let’s look at at Hjalmarsson’s RFA options from his perspective:

  1. Sign with cash-strapped Chicago for a sizable home town discount, even though they have already lost Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, John Madden, and Dustin Byfuglien.
  2. Get traded by Chicago to a team that offers the best deal to Stan Bowman, which is essentially a crap shoot.  Look where Byfuglien ended up.
  3. Have some control over your future, and sign an offer sheet with a decent team for the kind of money that you are looking for.

Clearly Hjalmarsson chose #3, and who could blame him?  Doug Wilson recognized this, and pounced.  Now Stan Bowman, Chicago’s GM, is between a rock and a hard place.  On one hand, he can retain his excellent young defenseman, but will likely have to trade Patrick Sharp or even more to get under the cap again.  On the other hand, he lets NH go (I’m sick of typing Hjalmarsson), gets a 2011 1st 2nd and 3rd round draft pick in return (per TSN), and is in dire need of a #4, #5, and #6 defensemen.  The draft picks will soften the blow, but keep in mind they come from the Sharks, which will likely be late round picks.  No players are left in the upper twenties that are slam-dunk NHLers.  Those picks could easily end up being Matt Pelech and Marc-Andre Gragnani.

This also asks the question- why didn’t the Sharks do this with with Antti Niemi? It’s a good question, but like many, the answer is money.  I think that the Sharks only budgeted $2M or so for a goaltender, and Niemi would certainly want more than that.  We will find out after Niemi’s salary arbitration.

It’s too early to go into the possible Sharks roster ramifications because Chicago could match the deal, and tomorrow will look just like yesterday.  I’d put the chances of that right at 50-50.  Could this spark another GM feud like the Brian Burke- Kevin Lowe dustup?  Lucky for us, we have the first real taste of drama in the Sharks offseason.

10 Comments to “DW Signs Hjalmarsson to Offer Sheet, Welcomes Stan Bowman to Oz”

  1. Patrick says:

    Do the Sharks really give up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounders? I thought it was just 1st and 3rd.

    I love the move. I’d be happy to have NH at $3.5M, or I’d be happy if Chicago had to match at $3.5M. On the other hand, I think Chicago is unhappy either way, so great all around.

  2. evilducks says:

    1st and 3rd according to TSN. How long do they have to match? 24 hours?

  3. Mike says:

    Sorry guys, fixed. I was looking at the original CBA, and forgot that the compensation changes from year to year.

  4. WingsFanInSharkLand says:

    Any chance that ESPN (or Versus or TSN) hosts “The Decision” for Hjalmarsson and the Blackhawks tomorrow at 6PM?

  5. Ian says:

    I for one are glad that they didn’t try and poach Niemi as he was a product of his Defense which the Sharks do not have. Over at Second City Hockey most people basically say match the offer and pass on Niemi.

  6. Haie says:

    At this point, stacked teams are just looking for that solid goalie who won’t lose you a game, but if Chicago wants to match and let Niemi go, they are running the risk of filling that spot with a goalie who will choke and let in soft goals at the wrong time. This is a complete lose-lose for them, and I hope out of selfishness that they just let us have HJ to start their semi-rebuild now. They did already sweep us in the playoffs this year en route to the cup, so I can’t really see it as an embarrassing situation for them or that we’re just poaching their players. It could have been that DW wanted this guy all along, because trading picks is better than trading players or oversigning FA’s that don’t want to come to the west coast if you’re trying to win the cup now.

  7. Ruben says:

    Agreed Haie,

    The Hawks are in a lose-lose. With no goalie pipeline, they HAVE to sign Niemi (or Turco). Corey Crawford? I’d rather have Andrew Raycroft! I think SCH is being a little over-optimistic over how good their D is. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, but it couldn’t cover for Cristobal Huet, yet they think they can call up some AHLer and it will be all good?

    Niemi is good. Not great, but he outplayed Huet pretty solidly. I think he is priority 1 for Bowman, which means Hammer or Sharp are gone… maybe both (please)?

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