Should the San Jose Sharks bring back former captain Owen Nolan?

owennolanbleeds.jpgBefore Patrick Marleau, Evgeni Nabokov and Joe Thornton, the player most hockey fans associated with the San Jose Shark was once-captain Owen Nolan. From a portion of the 1995-96 season through the first 60 games of the 2002-03 campaign, Nolan was the grizzly face of the franchise. His rugged play and Babe Ruth-style All-Star Game goal are enduing images of an era when the team would have been quite happy with making the playoffs, rather than a disappointment once they were booted.

He’s bounced around the league since then, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild during the last six years.

Even though he’s no longer the force he once was for middling but steadily improving Sharks teams, he’s still been a fairly productive player. He might not be able to hit the 25-goal mark again like he did in a surprising 08-09 season, but he’s hovered around the 16 goal mark with notable regularity in his twilight years.

So he won’t necessarily win you a Cup, but if you’re looking for a savvy veteran who can bring some goals and grit to the table, Nolan might be your guy. When you add the bonus of nostalgia – and the fact that he still skates in San Jose during the off-season and owns restaurants and a residence in the area – his old team in San Jose might actually be the perfect destination for Nolan.

San Jose Sharks blog Fear the Fin gives a few reasons why such a move would work.

First, he improves secondary scoring. Although he was in the middle of the pack among Minnesota’s forward group in terms of quality of competition according to, Nolan still chipped in 16 goals on a weak offensive team. Logan Couture will likely replace most of the scoring leaving with Manny Malhotra, but adding Nolan’s almost guaranteed 16 tallies (he’s scored 16 goals or more in each of his last five seasons) wouldn’t hurt. Nearing his 40’s, it’s unlikely that Nolan will hit the 25 goal mark he did two years ago, but playing with San Jose (a team that is better offensively by leaps and bounds), it’s not crazy to think he could net 20.

Second, Nolan brings the Sharks another player capable of playing penalty minutes. Although Wilson brought Jamal Mayers aboard to plug this hole, we’ve discussed how poor a penalty killer Mayers actually is. While Nolan hasn’t been the most defensively sound forward at points in his career, he did play 1.42 minutes per 60 on the penalty kill, top six amongst Wild forwards.


The last main thing that Nolan brings, in my opinion, is a veteran leadership that this team lacks on the lower lines. Nolan is one of the NHL’s elder statesmen, and a trusted voice around the NHL. While he had the reputation of being somewhat of a malcontent earlier in his career, those days appear to be past him. He’d be a perfect mentor and line mate for the young McGinn and Couture, and would help to make that line a real offensive weapon for the Sharks.

The prospective addition of Nolan reminds me somewhat of the addition of Jeremy Roenick just a few years ago. Doug Wilson doesn’t have a problem bringing on older players if he feels that they can add to the team.

I have to admit that I thought the Sharks would be hit much harder by their free agent-filled summer, but it seems like it might come down to how important their goalie of the decade Evgeni Nabokov really was. If the team can land Nolan and useful positional defenseman Willie Mitchell to the mix, they’ll have a veteran-heavy squad with their eyes fixed on the Stanley Cup.

However, unlike Nolan against Dominik Hasek all those years ago, I won’t be calling that shot.

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    Ducks come to terms with Lindholm, so what happens now?

    ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks  at Honda Center on October 14, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

    And now we wait for the other shoe to drop, because according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Anaheim Ducks have come to terms with defenseman Hampus Lindholm on a six-year contract extension with a cap hit of $5.25 million.

    It’s a win for the Ducks, who succeed in their quest to get Lindholm locked up with a lower cap hit than the Sabres got Rasmus Ristolainen ($5.4 million).

    But will the Ducks now have to make a trade? It’s been rumored for a while that Cam Fowler could be dealt once Lindholm’s deal got done. Anaheim may prefer to trade a veteran like Kevin Bieksa or Clayton Stoner, but Bieksa has a no-movement clause, and there may not be a market for those two anyway.

    The Ducks won’t get Lindholm back in the lineup right away, so there’s plenty of time for GM Bob Murray to make any moves that need to be made.

    Lindholm, 22, had 10 goals and 18 assists in 80 games last season, logging 22:00 of ice time per game.

    Pastrnak to have hearing for Girardi headshot


    Bruins forward David Pastrnak will have a hearing for his illegal check to the head of Rangers d-man Dan Girardi, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced.

    Pastrnak was whistled for a minor penalty on the play, which occurred in the second period of Boston’s 5-2 loss at MSG on Wednesday night. Girardi left the contest momentarily, but was able to return and finished with 16:15 TOI.

    “I don’t really know it makes contact with my face at first, but it is what it is, I’m kind of vulnerable,” Girardi said of the hit, per the New York Post. “He’s going to try to make a hit. He just hit me in the front of the face, so it wasn’t like it was the side-of-the-head hit or something.

    “As soon as I got up, I was fine.”

    Pastrnak, who did appear to leave his feet to make the hit, doesn’t have any history with the DoPS, and has never been subjected to supplemental discipline from the department.

    His hearing will take place on Friday.

    Former Isles goalie Kevin Poulin signs with KHL club

    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Goaltender Kevin Poulin #60 of the New York Islanders in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 12, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    Kevin Poulin is leaving the pro hockey scene in North America to sign with the KHL’s Astana Barys.

    It’s a one-year deal, per Igor Eronko of Sports-Express.

    The former Islanders goalie spent last season with the Stockton Heat of the AHL, where he had a 14-11-3 record with a 2.86 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage in 29 games.

    The 26-year-old last played in the NHL during the 2014-15 season. He made one appearance with the Isles that year.

    He had a few opportunities with the Islanders, but it was usually the result of players ahead of him on the depth chart getting injured.

    Poulin leaves the NHL with a career 18-25-3 record, a 3.07 goals-against-average and a .899 save percentage in 50 games.

    He’ll join former NHLers Vitaly Kolesnik and Henrik Karlsson in Astana Barys’ crease. Nigel Dawes, Brandon Bochenski, Martin St. Pierre, Cam Barker and Kevin Dallman are also on the roster.

    PHT Morning Skate: Hockey’s spookiest goalie masks

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    –Here are some of hockey’s all-time spookiest goalie masks. (Sports Illustrated)

    Beau Bennett‘s funny response to his name being left off the Stanley Cup. (BarDown)

    Alex Ovechkin made this young fan’s night by giving him one of his sticks. (Sportsnet)

    –Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Rangers and Bruins. (Top)

    –Everybody remembers Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph, Jacques Plante, Tom Barrasso and Sean Burke, but these are the teams you don’t remember them playing for. (The Hockey News)

    –Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre honors his late grandmother on the back of his goalie mask. (The Score)

    –Former NHL goalie Niklas Svedberg made an incredible stick save in a KHL game: