San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two

Offseason Report: San Jose Sharks


From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

43-29-10, 96 points, second in the Pacific Division, seventh in the Western Conference. Lost to St. Louis (4-1) in the conference quarterfinals.


Adam Burish, Brad Stuart


Daniel Winnik, Torrey Mitchell

2012 Draft

First round, 17th overall — Tomas Hertl (Slavia, Czech Republic)

Looking back

Despite a disappointing 2011-12 campaign and the subsequent questioning of Todd McLellan’s and Doug Wilson’s job security, the Sharks went largely unchanged. For some, that was an odd decision given San Jose posted its lowest point total in six seasons.

Wilson’s lone noteworthy acquisitions were defenseman Brad Stuart (who returned to the Bay Area to play in a top-four role) and Adam Burish, brought aboard to add more sandpaper to the lineup (Burish wasted no time confirming he’d add abrasiveness.) The Sharks signed steady defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to a five-year extension and re-upped with TJ Galiardi, but lost bottom-six forwards Daniel Winnik and Torrey Mitchell to free agency.

UFA forward Dominic Moore remains unsigned, and his status will likely remain undecided as he deals with his wife’s liver cancer.

Looking forward

The most noteworthy changes occurred behind the bench, where Hockey Hall of Famer Larry Robinson and ex-Caps assistant Jim Johnson came aboard as McLellan’s right-hand men. Robinson’s presence looms large, given he’s won a Stanley Cup as a head coach (and lost a Cup finals as well) — but while it might look like he’s a coach-in-waiting should McLellan get fired, Big Bird insisted he’s not there to take McLellan’s job.

Robinson’s job, one would assume, is to fix San Jose’s penalty kill. The Sharks were awful while shorthanded a season ago, finishing 29th in the NHL on the PK (76.9 percent).

One thing to watch will be how Wilson treats his roster as the start of the season draws near. He’s got a history of shaking things up (see: Dany Heatley, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat) and has been uncharacteristically silent on the trade front…so far.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Sharks’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

Ryan Johansen
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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.