I miss Dany Heatley. There, I said it. Sure, he was overpaid and was slow at times, but you got to give it to the guy, he just knew how to put the puck into the fucking net.
Remember two seasons ago when Joe Pavelski played on the third line? Remember how awesome it was? The Sharks didn’t just have forward depth then, they had pure scoring depth. Or at the very least, they had a nice variety of skill sets. Marleau and Setoguchi gave Jumbo two dangerous options at all times, Heatley was a sniper on the second line, Torrey Mitchell had a ton of speed that could push the puck up on the third line. Granted, it didn’t hurt that Clowe had a career year playing alongside Couture and Heatley, and having Pavelski’s playmaking ability on the third unit between Mitchell and Kyle Wellwood.
Then in the offseason, GM Doug Wilson made some big moves to a team that just got swept by the Chicago Blackhawks (sound familiar?). He shipped off Devin Setoguchi, among others, including top prospect Charlie Coyle, for Brent Burns. I’ve always had mixed feelings about this move, mainly because I love both of these guys, and it’s really unfortunate to see both of them struggle in their new surroundings. Then he did what no one thought possible: he sent Heatley and his overinflated contract to the Wild for injury-prone playmaker, Martin Havlat. I loved this move at the time.
Fast forward to last season, and the trade deadline. Wilson saw a need to fix a horrendous penalty kill, so he sent away Jamie McGinn (in the midst of a breakout year, mind you) to the Avalanche for T.J. Galliardi and Daniel Winnik. This move confused me a bit at the time, but I understood the big picture. However, when I continued to see that the new faces were actually not out and playing on the penalty kill, while McGinn was burying goal after goal in Colorado, I couldn’t understand just what the fuck happened. What exactly were the Sharks getting out of this deal?
And after last season’s early playoff exit, the Sharks let Torrey Mitchell head up to Minnesota (I’m still ok with this), while also failing to re-sign Winnick, who went to Anaheim, where he is enjoying a stellar season.
I am no expert in player negotiations, and have no credibility whatsoever, but it seems to me like Doug Wilson has tampered too much with the lineup. What was at one time, a diverse and deep roster, full of veterans, guys in their prime, young talent, and future prospects, has morphed into a group of guys with varied levels of the same skill sets.
To help illustrate, I’ve grouped all the forwards on the roster into just one basic category.
Joe Thornton – Playmaker
Patrick Marleau – Pure Scorer
Joe Pavelski – Playmaker
Logan Couture – Playmaker
Martin Havlat – Playmaker
Ryane Clowe – Honestly, what is he this year? Goon?
Michael Handzus – Defensive-Minded
Tim Kennedy – Pure Scorer (although it’s hard to tell yet)
Tommy Wingels – Speed/Energy
Scott Gomez – Playmaker
Adam Burish – Energy/Toughness
T.J. Galliardi – Speed/Energy?
Andrew Desjardins – Energy/Toughness
James Sheppard – Speed/Energy
Matt Pelech – Goon (God, does he even know what’s going on out there?)
At best, the Sharks have two pure scorers, in Marleau and Kennedy. The roster is overloaded with playmakers, which isn’t a bad thing, but the Sharks need someone whose sole purpose is to score goals. Let’s bring in more scorers to be the yin to the playmakers’ yang. That’s why Stamkos is so good in Tampa. Martin St. Louis gives him the puck, and he shoots. And as much as I hate him, Corey Perry is a pure scorer, while Getzlaf is the playmaker who gets him the puck.
Right now, the Sharks look like two overly-polite guys holding the door open for each other.
“Here you go, take a shot.”
“Oh no, I insist, you shoot.”
“No, I couldn’t. Please, you take the shot.”
It’s about at this time that Toews (playmaker) steals the puck and passes it off to Kane (pure scorer) for another god damn goal against.
Until the Sharks start getting some scoring (which starts with shooting), then I don’t see this season getting any better anytime soon.
Buckle up. This could be a long season.