The San Jose Sharks have improved very much over the off-season making three separate trades with the Minnesota Wild (will talk more about that later on in the post). Along with the trades, came the three key free agent signings the Sharks made. The Sharks signed Defenders Jim Vandermeer and Colin White to 1 year, $1M contracts apiece while signing Forward Michal Handzus to a 2 year, $5M ($2.5M cap hit) contract. All three of these veterans will make a big impact on the team; Although their roster is full with talented Centers, Handzus will provide a much needed 3rd line scoring touch while Vandermeer and White provide big, physical bodies on the blue-line.
From June 24th-August 6th, the Sharks made three separate trades with the Wild. Over the course of those trades, the Sharks acquired Defenseman Brent Burns ($3.55M cap hit), and Forwards Martin Havlat ($5M cap hit) and James Sheppard ($725K cap hit) while giving up the services of Forwards Dany Heatley ($7.5M cap hit), Devin Setoguchi ($3M cap hit), and Charlie Coyle. Dany Heatley was not the player he once was as a Senator with the Sharks posting just 65 goals and 81 assist for a total of 146 points in 2 seasons as a Shark missing only two games last season because of a suspension. In Devin Setoguchi’s career as a Shark, he put up 84 goals along with 75 assist for a total of 159 points in four seasons. In those four seasons, Setoguchi only played in 267 games due to multiple leg and upper body injuries.
Charlie Coyle was drafted 28th overall by the Sharks in the 2010 NHL entry draft so although he’s never played an NHL game, he’s a promising young prospect. Martin Havlat won’t be able to put in the amount of goals Heatley did, but he should be able to spark the Sharks and post a higher point mark than Heatley did. In Brent Burns, you get a guy who posted 46 points in 80 games last season with the Wild, and with him just entering his prime, his point totals should increase easily this season playing along side Dan Boyle on the Powerplay. James Sheppard was originally drafted 9th overall by the Wild in the 2006 NHL entry draft but he wasn’t able to show the Wild that they made the right choice drafting him. But with the Sharks, you should see a more hyped James Sheppard’s who is ready to prove himself and earn his new contract at the end of the season as he will be an RFA. I will now post the trades and signings as they happened…
Trades: F Devin Setoguchi, F Charlie Coyle and a 2011 1st round pick to the Wild in exchange for D Brent Burns and a 2012 2nd round pick. F Dany Heatley to the Wild in exchange for F Martin Havlat. 2013 3rd round pick to the Wild in exchange for F James Sheppard.
Signings: D Jim Vandermeer (1 year, $1M), F Michal Handzus (2 years, $5M), D Colin White (1 year, $1M), D Matt Pelech (1 year, $525K), F Ben Guite (1 year, $525K), and F Andrew Murray (1 year, $575K)
Players lost due to free agency: D Ian White (Red Wings), F Scott Nichol (Blues), F Ben Eager (Oilers), D Kent Huskins (Blues), F Jamal Mayers (Blackhawks), D Niclas Wallin (Sweden), and F Kyle Wellwood (Jets)
You decide: Are the Sharks better than Vancouver?
Will the Sharks be the team to beat in the West?
Will Antti Niemi be able to carry the Sharks to the finals?
Leave your answers in the comments section below.
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