Author: Ryan Dadoun

Patrick Marleau

It’s San Jose Sharks Day at PHT


Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The San Jose Sharks.

After suffering a reverse sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the 2014 playoffs, Sharks GM Doug Wilson declared San Jose a “tomorrow team” in a summer that drew confusion and criticism from some, but went “exactly the right way,” according to the general manager. When all was said and done though, the result that San Jose missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

At the age of 35, Patrick Marleau took a significant step back offensively as he scored just 19 goals after reaching the 30-goal milestone for five straight campaigns, not including the lockout shortened season. Joe Thornton, who turned 36 in July, also saw a longstanding streak end as he recorded less than 70 points (65) in a season where he played in at least 70 games for the first time since 1999-2000.

San Jose still wasn’t bad offensively. Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture recorded 70 and 67 points respectively while Brent Burns tied for second among defensemen with 60 points. The Sharks just weren’t great in that regard though and their goaltending proved to be uninspired as well. Antti Niemi was a mixed bag and Alex Stalock, who had been a superb understudy in 2013-14, declined substantially last season.

With mediocrity being the Sharks’ calling card at both ends of the ice, they finished with a 40-33-9 record and were eight points behind Calgary for the third Pacific Division spot.

Off-season recap

Head coach Todd McLellan and the San Jose Sharks mutually agreed to part ways after failing to make the playoffs, which led to Peter DeBoer being named as the team’s new bench boss.

With that done, Sharks GM Doug Wilson moved on to the team’s biggest question mark going into the summer: the goaltending. Niemi was slated to become an unrestricted free agent and Wilson made his intentions clear by trading the netminder’s negotiating rights to Dallas. He later acquired Martin Jones, who enjoyed two strong season as the Kings’ backup goalie, to battle with Stalock for the top job.

San Jose also signed defenseman 34-year-old Paul Martin to a four-year, $19.4 million contract and forward Joel Ward to a three-year deal worth just under $10 million.

Once again the core of the Sharks hasn’t fundamentally changed, but at the same time the 2015-16 version of the team will certainly feature noteworthy differences from its predecessor.

PHT Morning Skate: Columnist argues Berglund’s injury isn’t a big setback for Blues

Patrik Berglund

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.

Jeff Gordon doesn’t see losing Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery) for at least four months as a big blow to the St. Louis Blues. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

What does the Los Angeles Kings’ decision to sign Christian Ehrhoff tell us about the Slava Voynov situation? (Puck Daddy)

Sidney Crosby is enthusiastic about the prospect of playing with Phil Kessel for a lot of different reasons. (DK Pittsburgh Sports)

Shane Doan is happy with the moves the Arizona Coyotes have made over the summer. (

Pavel Datsyuk’s recovery from his ankle surgery seems to be going well. (

Auston Matthews, who might be taken with the top pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, said that the prospect of playing with older competition and for coach Marc Crawford are two of the big reasons he decided to sign with the ZSC Lions. (Arizona Republic)

Kings ink prospect Sharipzyanov to entry-level contract

Damir Sharipzyanov

The Los Angeles Kings added to their pool of defensive prospects by signing Damir Sharipzyanov to a three-year, entry-level contract, per the team’s website.

Sharipzyanov had nine goals, 34 points, and 59 penalty minutes in 66 games in 2014-15 with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. A native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia, the 19-year-old blueliner made the transition to North America in 2013-14.

Internationally, he played for Russia in the 2014 Under-18 Worlds. While participating in this summer’s training camp for the 2016 World Juniors though, he suffered a wrist injury and consequently won’t be participating in the Kings’ rookie camp, per LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen.

The undrafted prospect is expected to continue his development in the OHL for the 2015-16 campaign.

Sabres interested in luring Franson

Cody Franson

The Buffalo Sabres already look a lot different from the team that finished in the NHL basement, but they might secure one more significant upgrade before training camp begins.

Cody Franson, who entered the summer as one of the highest profile UFA defensemen, is on the Buffalo Sabres’ radar. They’re hoping to ink the 28-year-old defenseman to a two-year deal, per two NHL sources that spoke to the Buffalo News. PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban has corroborated that Franson is in contract talks with Buffalo.

Buffalo has been cited as a potential destination for Franson in the past along with Pittsburgh and Boston. Among those three teams, the Sabres are in the best cap position by a wide margin as they have roughly $12 million in space, per General Fanager.

Franson had seven goals and 36 points in 78 games last season, despite seeing a significant decline in production after being moved from Toronto to Nashville on Feb. 15. Although the Predators were hoping his presence would bolster their chances of having a long playoff run, GM David Poile in retrospect felt that it wasn’t a good fit, in part because he was a right-handed shot.

Ladd wants to re-sign before season starts

Andrew Ladd

If captain Andrew Ladd enters the season without a new contract, it will naturally raise questions that he would like to avoid.

“It would be nicer to get it done before the year … especially in a market like this, there are questions every day, so it’d be nice to move past it at some point,” Ladd said, per TSN. “I’ve been around long enough that I know sometimes these things take time. I think both parties are interested in getting something done. All the things add up.”

The 29-year-old forward has one season remaining on his five-year, $22 million contract, but his next deal is expected to be more lucrative. After all, he’s coming off of a campaign where he scored 24 goals and a career-high 62 points.

The Free Press estimated back in July that Ladd would ultimately get “north of $6 million” annually on a contract “worth in the range of $40 million.”

That would be in the same ballpark as the extensions for Brandon Dubinsky (six-year, $35.1 million) and Ryan Callahan (six-year, $34.8 million). All three of those players are fairly close in age and are noteworthy for being able to contribute offensively while maintaining a physical presence. Callahan is also a former captain.

Of course time is running out for Ladd and the Jets to agree to terms before the campaign begins and if they fail to do so, Ladd’s public eagerness to put this behind him will only add fuel to the speculation as to what the sticking point is. Which will, of course, lead to those daily questions.