Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
Getty

Will Sharks buy at deadline? ‘Our history speaks for itself,’ says Wilson

5 Comments

In a wide-ranging interview with the Mercury News, Sharks GM Doug Wilson touched on a number of subjects about his team — a team that, heading into tonight’s game in Vancouver, sits atop the Pacific Division.

San Jose is going to make the playoffs, gunning to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. In light of that, Wilson was asked the obvious:

Are you buying at the deadline?

“If something comes along that makes us a better team, absolutely,” he said. “Our history speaks for itself. We’ve always done that.”

San Jose has made the playoffs in 11 of the last 12 seasons. For context, here’s a look at Wilson’s most recent deadline activity:

2016: Acquired Roman Polak, Nick Spaling and James Reimer.

2015 (missed playoffs): Traded away Andrew Desjardins, Tyler Kennedy and James Sheppard.

2014: No deals of significance.

2013: Acquired Kennedy, Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan; traded away Ryane Clowe, Michal Handzus and Douglas Murray.

2012: Acquired Dominic Moore, T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik; traded away Jamie McGinn (in the Galiardi-Winnik deal).

Not much of a pattern here, and the ’13 deadline was especially curious — Wilson was both a buyer and seller, remodeling his roster for the playoffs while bringing in a bounty of picks for the future.

A year later, Wilson essentially stood pat and did nothing.

If we’re to harbor a guess, the Sharks and Wilson may be in a similar position this year. It’s possible they’ve already done their deadline shopping. Mikkel Boedker, signed in free agency, found his stride in January after rough start — four goals and nine points in 13 games. Wilson also waived Matt Nieto and traded away Tommy Wingels, opening up bigger opportunities at forward for Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier.

Last week, head coach Peter DeBoer said these changes made the Sharks a more formidable team than a year ago.

“I like our team,” DeBoer explained. “I think we’re better than last year, sitting where we are right now. The young guys have added a dimension to our team. I think we’re deeper.”

If there is something the Sharks might look to address, it’s speed. Though they’re regarded as one of the NHL’s best skating clubs, they were wowed at how slow they were compared to the Pens in last year’s Cup Final, which was one of the big reasons Boedker was brought aboard.

And hey, you can never have too much speed.

“We were fast,” DeBoer said of last year’s team, with a chuckle. “Until we saw Pittsburgh.”

Avs claim Barberio from Montreal, waive Gelinas

Getty
5 Comments

Colorado was smacked 5-0 in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, so it wasn’t entirely surprising to see a roster shakeup Thursday morning.

The Avs claimed d-man Mark Barberio off waivers from Montreal, per Sportsnet. In a related move, the club waived blueliner Eric Gelinas.

Barberio, 26, is the second player to join Colorado via waivers recently, as ex-Sharks forward Matt Nieto did the same last month. Nieto has been a lineup fixture ever since, and it’s likely Barberio will be the same — he played 26 games for Montreal, notching four assists while posting pretty solid possession metrics and averaging over 15 minutes per night.

As for Gelinas, today’s move is the latest in a series of low points.

At one time considered a promising young d-man — he signed a two-year, $3.15 million extension with the Devils in ’15 — he fell out of favor in New Jersey and was flipped to Colorado at last year’s deadline for a third-round pick.

Things didn’t improve much in Denver. Between this year and the last, he’s only played 32 games while averaging less than 12 minutes per night. Often, he’s been parked in the press box as a healthy scratch.

As for Barberio, he’s in the first of a two-year deal that pays $750,000 annually. So it’s a nice piece of business for the Avs, who will (presumably) send Gelinas to the AHL if he clears waivers.

After blowout loss, Wild recall prized prospect Tuch

Getty
4 Comments

Minnesota suffered one of its worst defeats of the season on Wednesday, a 5-1 thumping in Calgary.

Perhaps it was time to send a bit of a message. Just hours after the Saddledome debacle, the Wild recalled Alex Tuch from AHL Iowa.

Tuch, of course, is the ballyhooed youngster taken 18th overall at the ’14 draft. The big-bodied forward has starred at virtually every level — including the American League, where he scored a pair of goals in last weekend’s All-Star Game.

“At some point we have to see where he’s at,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said, per the Star-Tribune. “He’s a 6-foot-4 guy with skill that’s led our team in all the different metrics in Iowa, whether it’s Corsi, scoring chances or plus-minus.”

Tuch, 20, is only in his first year of professional hockey. He spent the previous two campaigns lighting it up at Boston College, and has transitioned seamlessly to the next level with 11 goals and 22 points in 34 games for Iowa — despite being one of the youngest players on the roster.

Tuch’s recall also comes with Charlie Coyle mired in an awful slump.

Coyle hasn’t scored a single goal in his last 17 games and has failed to respond to criticisms from head coach Bruce Boudreau. Things seemed to hit a low last night, when Coyle was demoted to the fourth line.

“I don’t know. I’m at a loss,” Boudreau said in trying to explain Coyle’s struggles. “We’ll figure it out. I’m told he’s gone through this every year. I’ll have a talk with him [Thursday] and see if we can’t get him straightened out.”

The Wild next play on Saturday, in Vancouver, which is where Tuch’s expected to make his NHL debut.

Chayka hasn’t talked Doan trade in ‘several weeks’

Getty

Coyotes GM John Chayka was a busy man on Wednesday — trading goalie Justin Peters to Dallas, and forward Henrik Samuelsson to Edmonton — actions that may speak louder than words.

That’s telling, because his words were pretty audible to begin with.

“I haven’t had any discussions in the last several weeks,” Chayka said of potentially trading captain Shane Doan, per Arizona Sports. “A month away [from the trade deadline], it’s not something that’s pressing on either side.”

Chayka essentially confirmed his attention has been elsewhere recently. He’s continually tinkered with his roster makeup over the last few weeks, first by acquiring ex-Jets center Alex Burmistrov off waivers.

Then he sent Anthony Duclair to the AHL — while giving yet another rookie, Christian Fischer, a recall and his NHL debut — before pulling off yesterday’s trades.

Chayka could also be focused on other, bigger deals that don’t include Doan.

Martin Hanzal is reportedly coveted by a number of playoff-bound teams, while veteran forwards — and pending UFAs — like Radim Vrbata and Ryan White are likely to be sold off as well.

Simply put, the Coyotes still need some significant retooling. Chayka sounds like he’s putting that atop the priority list, with a potential Doan trade somewhere below.

“We’re just focused on our own team here in terms of improving in the short-term and the long-term,” he said.

Coyotes make another move, flip Samuelsson to Oilers

Getty

Just hours after sending goalie Justin Peters to Dallas, Arizona made its second trade of the day by sending Henrik Samuelsson — the 27th overall pick in 2012 — to Edmonton in exchange for Mitch Moroz, the 32nd pick that same year.

Moroz and Samuelsson aren’t just draft-mates. The two were former teammates in junior, helping the WHL Oil Kings capture the ’14 Memorial Cup.

Samuelsson, 22, has only made three appearances for the Coyotes since being drafted, all of them coming in ’14-15. The son of longtime NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, Henrik’s spent most of his pro career in the American League, and only has three points in 20 games this season for Tucson.

Moroz has yet to make his NHL debut, and has played exclusively in the American League. Like Samuelsson, he’s struggled offensively this year, with just three points in 17 games.

In the end, this is pretty much a flip of one-time prospects who have plenty in common, including the need for a fresh opportunity (though it should be mentioned Moroz plays wing, while Samuelsson’s a center).

It also keeps with Coyotes GM John Chayka’s theme of tinkering with his club. He’s made a series of small moves this season, and has been active on the waiver wire.