Even more musings about the end of the Sharks season.
First, Dave Pollak has the full list of sharks injuries. Joe Thornton not only played with a separated shoulder (surgery evaluation to come later when the swelling goes down), but Robidas separated the end of one finger from the rest of his hand an d he’s been playing with it since. The wimp. he’s scheduled to get it wired back together now.
Clowe didn’t have a concussion, he also had a separated shoulder. Demers, high ankle sprain. Heatley a broken hand from the regular season (explains why he couldn’t score) and a high ankle injury earlier in the playoffs (explains why he looked slow). the wimp.
There were knees, skate cuts, broken noses, ankles. The surgery count stands at two, with three more under evaluation.
Gotta love hockey players, the wimps.
Notably absent on the list from my expectations was Setoguchi, now a restricted free agent. I’m really tempted to make him my whipping boy but if you look at his numbers (18 games, 10 points), that’s actually not bad. His -7 is weak, but that’s true of a number of sharks I have no intention of yelling at. So I’ll give him 2/3 of a pass, but to be honest, I thought his performance in the playoffs was substandard, and ditto for various parts of the regular season. There’s a fine line between streaky and “oh, c’mon and get it going”, and right now, Setoguchi’s career path seems closer to Jonathan Cheechoo than Ryan Clowe. If there’s a top 6 shakeup on the sharks, I would be picking him as the player to shake up, if I could. I certainly would be trying to sign him for a shorter deal for not so much money with incentives.
If your interested in the free agent list, Pollak has it as well.
(Eleven players who saw action in the post-season have contracts that are about to expire. Restricted free agents are Setoguchi, Benn Ferriero, Jamie McGinn, and Andrew Desjardins. The unrestricteds are Nichol, Wellwood, Ben Eager, Jamal Mayers, Ian White, Niclas Wallin and Kent Huskins.)
Setoguchi is the only restricted I’m on the fence over. If someone wants to sign him off our hands, I’ll take the compensation.
Unrestricted? I’ll bring back Nichol happily, and Ian White (who impressed me beyond expectations). I like Wallin for what he is as well.
Wellwood? He showed more than I expected, but… I think there’s a reason why he’s bounced around a lot, and he’s smallish, and he tends to fade as he settles into a team. The name Todd Elik comes to mind. Sign him for black ace money on a one year with incentives and let him earn playing time? sure. anything more than that? No thanks.
Jamal Mayers? another black ace candidate at best. Love his character, wouldn’t mind having that in the locker room. Is there room on the roster for him, given the depth in Worcester and what some of the younger players have shown? I doubt it. His depth chart is fading to black.
Kent Huskins? thanks, Kent. write if you get work.
Ben Eager? Well, that’s — complicated. Brings an awful lot to the table, including, it seems a tendency to let his intention to make a difference in the game get the better of his hockey judgement. Can that be better controlled? Well, Steve Downie is a strong indication that answer is yes. If the Sharks think they can work with him on this, then definitely, he has a spot on the 4th line. But if he’s too much of a loose cannon.. Well, both raffi Torres and Steve Downie are going to be on the free agent market in some way… But I lean towards keeping Eager, with questions I don’t know enough to answer.
Ferriero, Mcginn, Desjardins — Mcginn is on my 4th line. Ferriero and Desjardins probably make my team at least as black aces and playing some 3rd/4th line time. maybe earn more. Braun makes this team next year. I wouldn’t mind seeing Mike Moore on the blueline instead of huskins.
If you think about it, the whipping boys of the last couple of seasons have been Marleau (“at times enigmatic” to quote myself), Thornton (“too easy going”), Heatley, and probably Vlasic. And those were merely our #1, #2 and #4 scorers, and Vlasic was third in blueline scoring and second in blueline +/-. I think they all proved themselves out this year. Not sure who the new whipping boys will be moving forward. Actually, I do. Probably Thornton, Heatley and Marleau, no matter what they do. Me, I guess I nominated Seto for that role.
All in all, I give the team a B, but this team should have been able to get a better grade than that, so it’s good, but underperforming. And it’ll be interesting to see how wilson figures out how to solve that. I sure don’t have an obvious answer.