Even after trading defenseman Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the San Jose Sharks wouldn’t classify themselves as sellers.
“This doesn’t take away our goal of trying to make the playoffs this year,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a CSN Bay Area report. “We have to play better on a 60-minute basis for longer periods of time, to accomplish that.”
Although they have struggled mightily since their 7-0-0 start to the season, the Sharks are still very much in the race for a playoff spot.
“The reality is, we haven’t played up to the way we think we’re capable of playing,” Wilson said. “We haven’t been very consistent. But, this is a hockey trade that involves a player I have tremendous respect for…he’s a pending UFA. Pittsburgh was willing to pay very full value for him.”
The Penguins surrendered two second-round picks for the 33-year-old physical blueliner, although one of them will become a third-round selection if Murray fails to re-sign with Pittsbrugh or the team doesn’t win at least two playoff rounds.
It’s worth noting that Wilson’s comments largely echo what Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said after he shipped Brenden Morrow to the Penguins.
“The guys are focused,” Nieuwendyk said. “I talked to them this morning because it is a big deal when you move your captain (but) this doesn’t change our mindset at all of making the playoffs.”
With the race for the playoff spots tight this season, it’s difficult to find true sellers, but as Wilson put it, “Pittsburgh was very aggressive.”
Report: Despite acquisitions, Penguins still pursuing Iginla
Report: Flyers show interest in trading for Dan Boyle
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.