July 1st, 2011, 11:15 pm
Mike bet me a beer that we wouldn’t sign anyone today. Me likey beer.
After reportedly losing out on Maxim Talbot, the Sharks added depth defenseman, Jim Vandermeer, and third line veteran center, Michal Handzus, in what is turning out to be some pretty deliberate tweaks to the Sharks roster this offseason. We’ll break down the additions in more detail on the podcast next week, but this does mean Huskins won’t be back (phew) and that the Sharks realized the need for a legitimate 3rd line center and Handsy has been plying his trade and also putting up decent points in his career.
We wanted a new third line. We’re halfway there. Handzus down the middle with Torrey Mitchell having the ability to play either wing gives Doug Wilson the flexibility to acquire one more impact player. By targeting Talbot, we might have grabbed a glimpse at the type of player he’s after, a physical winger with character, grit and occasional scoring touch. I’ve peaked at the remaining free agents and I don’t really see anyone who fits the bill as an “impact” player. A physical unsung hero to do the dirty work and take some pressure off the top six. Perhaps the best players left in this category are Jamie Langenbrunner, who had a down year in 2010-11, and Owen Nolan, who didn’t play in the league in 2010-11.
I think it’s time for Doug Wilson to do what he does best.
Take advantage of teams in trouble.
We’ve seen Doug Wilson poach good players in bad situations time and time again. Tampa Bay was desperate to move Dan Boyle’s contract under new ownership, we got him for a song. Dany Heatley had Ottawa bent over a barrel and the Sharks waited until Murray caved in. DW nudged Niemi out of Chicago with his offer sheet to Hjalmarsson last summer. He knows how to play this game and after watching some teams spend like loons, he’s waiting for the other salary cap shoe to drop when they need to unload a solid player as a money casualty. Three potential targets off of needy GM’s:
Jason Chimera (Washington) – Chimera was linked to San Jose two years ago when the Sharks were looking to deal Ehrhoff. He has a big shot, he can hit people and has pretty decent speed and size. With Ward and Brouwer in town and the Caps needing to sign a few RFA’s, I think Chimera just lost his job and the Sharks can absorb his one year remaining at 1.875M pretty easily.
Jannik Hansen (Vancouver) – An RFA, we’ve seen Doug Wilson play the villain in this position before. He proved last summer he was not afraid of an offer sheet, especially if it could screw over a rival, so why not throw one Hansen’s way and either force Vancouver into a bad deal or get a good, young 3rd line player. A 3M offer isn’t out of bounds for the 25 year old Hansen. Vancouver would likely match and it would put them in a cap bind the rest of the year. If they didn’t, the Sharks give up a 2nd round pick as compensation, screw the Canucks and a good young player in Hansen. Win, win.
Scott Hartnell (Philly) – This is a monster reach, but the way the Flyers have been going, you never know what they’re thinking out there. The Flyers don’t have much cap space and need to sign RFA Wayne Simmonds, who is their new Scott Hartnell. If we offered Torrey Mitchell and change in return, they would get a useful bottom six winger plus the salary cap relief needed to get Simmonds into the fold. Like I said, a reach – but that’s what blogs are for, right? Hartnell and Handzus together with their mullets flowing in the wind. Beautiful, just beautiful.
We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks…