Friday, September 17, 2010

New Look Sharks Put Up Their Tents

The San Jose Sharks finally made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2010 and it will now be a season to improve upon, as they try to take steps to make it into the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. It all begins in training camp, where they will be looking to stock up their depth with some quality talent.  If there is one thing to be said about the Sharks going into training camp, it's that they have left some room for more depth going in, so it should be a good fight for spots in these next few weeks.

The Sharks were another team this Summer that didn't keep a very deep roster, likely deciding to concentrate on keeping the core group of guys, getting a cheaper identity in the crease and probably letting their system pick up some of the slack at this time of the year.  If that was the case, they're doing a pretty good job thus far.

Their Summer roster only has nine forwards, six defense and two goalies on it, with a fair argument that Thomas Greiss could still be on it, but I think Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki is more than enough to have there.

The big free-for-all will be in the forward ranks, where they have upwards of five jobs open, more than likely just four.  Fortunately, in the training camp group, there is some NHL experience listed in there, but in most cases, its somewhat limited.  Logan Couture, Benn Ferriero, Jamie McGinn and Frazer McLaren all saw some time with the big club last year and could be considered front runner for the job, but we'll see how it all pans out in the coming weeks.

Joe ThorntonDan BoyleAntti Niemi
Patrick MarleauKent HuskinsAntero Niittymaki
Dany HeatleyJason Demers
Ryane CloweDouglas Murray
Joe PavelskiMarc-Eduoard Vlasic
Devin SetoguchiNiclas Wallin
Scott Nichol
Jamal Mayers
Torrey Mitchell
Logan CoutureJustin BraunJ.P. Anderson
Dan DaSilvaTaylor DohertyThomas Greiss
Andrew DesjardinsMatt IrwinCarter Hutton
Benn FerrieroDerek JoslinHarri Sateri
Curt GogolJay LeachTyson Sexsmith
Kevin HendersonAndreas LiljaAlex Stalock
Tony LuciaJoe Loprieno
Cam MacIntyreMike Moore
James MarcouNick Petrecki
Brandon MashinterNick Schaus
John McCarthySean Sullivan
Jamie McGinn
Frazer McLaren
Cory Quirk
Michael Sgarbossa
T.J. Trevelyan
Tommy Wingels
Steven Zalewski

Salary CapWith so many jobs open at the moment, there is a little bit of room left to be taken up under the salary cap ceiling, but it could also be the very same cap space that determines who and how many will be making the move into the regular roster. The 17 players and one cap overage penalty come in at $55 million, leaving $4.4 million for four forwards and possibly a defenseman. That will have to be some quality depth for bargain basement prices for the Sharks to really pan out in the wins column this year.

It will be strange not having Evgeni Nabokov around, he's been a poolie favourite for quite some time now. Granted, with a Cup ring on one finger, Antti Niemi might turn out to be as hot of a commodity that Nabokov was as recently as last year.

The Sharks forwards will definitely be picked apart at the draft this year, this I can pretty well guarantee.  I like Joe Pavelski to go much higher than where he finished in the 2010 regular season, after having such a good playoff season.  There is a decent chance that Thornton, Marleau and Heatley will all go in the first round this year, plus Niemi would make for a very teal round.  Boyle is definitely going to be popular as well, likely going higher than most.

I'll have all my projections set soon, but I would be under the impression that there will be a good number of Sharks in the higher parts of the list.

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