Sharks in 2002-2003 part 2

Not exactly “I’ll do the forwards in a separate message” as I original said I would, but a question came up that (I think) neatly answers my thoughts on the forwards, so rather than write it a second time, I’ll just use that message as my comments…

> Random thought I had last night: Kipper for Jovanovski. Maybe throw in
> Heins. Balance out with picks or whatever.

> I have this (possibly baseless) anti-Cloutier bias, think Kipper could
> be a #1. Is Toskala ready for prime time as a backup?

It’s an interesting deal. Vancouver won’t — Kipper’s unproven, Hedberg’s
performance or no. For Jovo? Not enough.

Personally, I’d want to staff up our forwards. I’m just not worried about
defense.

Going into next year, we have:

Rags, Rat, Stuart, Hannan, Marchment, Jillson. If I’m the Sharks, I talk to
suter about coming back for $400–500K and mentor Jillson, and take on the
role of 7th D (reprising Bob rouse) and locker room guy, and playing the
minutes that Jillson isn’t ready for.

I just don’t see that as needing an upgrade. Heins fades into the sunset, an
experiment that was good enough to crack into the NHL, but not good enough
to crack the Sharks. Maybe someone else can use him (Andy Sutton,a nyone?)
but his value’s minimal.

Would you trade Rags and Kipper for Jovo? I’d bet that’s what you’d need to
do to get a return phone call that isn’t a snide comment. And I’m not sure
that’d get him.

I might, actually.

I’d look more to upgrade the forwards. I think next year you see Marleau
moving to #1 center and Damphousse moving to #2 center. My big focus is
bringing back selanne. You don’t do that, the other moves don’t matter. We
slip down the depth scale. If we can do that AND something else, great.

Me, I try to bring back Suter and Matteau at the $400K range. That clears up
a million or so. Don’t take Korky’s option and bring in Hyvonen for less.
That’s $1.5 mil freed up after paying for replacment players. On top of what
we paid Selanne last year, plus Selanne’s willingness to take a pay cut,
we’re right now pretty close to a deal, without hosing depth, and our black
ace crew (Matteau and Suter) give us great veteran depth and leadership, so
we don’t go too young.

You figure Graves slides the depth chart to some degree, maybe to the 4th
line spot Matteau had, and we have an opening in the top six forwards
(nolan, marleau, Selanne, Damphousse, Sturm, who?). Fill that spot and we’re
really happy. We need to give Cheechoo a chance to make the team — but to
step right into top six? I dunno. But the third/fourth lines are also full.

To me, we go into next year this way:

Selanne/marleau/
Nolan/damphousse/sturm
Thornton/ricci/sundstrom
Harvey/bradley/graves

aces: cheechoo, matteau

defense:

rags, rat
Stuart, marchment
Hannon, jillson

aces: Suter

Goal: nabokov, kiprusoff

This implies Smith, Korolyuk and Heins aren’t on the team.

And I don’t mess this up other than find a way to fill that , which
IMHO is the only real need we have — of course, that only real need is the
first line RW scorer (yes, I’m saying that the nolan line is our 2nd line).

You won’t get that by giving up kipper, heins, korky, smith or unproven
prospects. It’s a tough spot to fill. If I can’t fill it, then I guess we
let Graves and Cheechoo try to fill it and see what happens. But unless we
need to use some of that lineup to get that key player, I leave it alone and
not dink with the lineup just to dink with it. I’d rather not try to improve
the defense, when I expect that Stuart/Jillson/Hannan will all improve next
year and the rest (other than Suter) won’t decline.

IMHO, of course.