Sharks have lost experience on the defense and offense is unbalanced. We may be expecting too much with all the youngsters. I think Nichols is a good pick up, may give us some of the old Tony Granato style play. Not sure of Malhotra yet. Huskins was pretty much an unknown to me when he came here last year, as I dont recall him at all when he played for Ducks. Thats not a good thing considering how often the Sharks played the Ducks.
With salary cap, it seems that young, cheap players are important to a teams real success, if it has some stars already taking big chunks of the money. Maybe we will be lucky, and McGinn, Staubitz, Demers, etc (one or more of them) gets it together this season, and plays really well.
Dont know how much gas is in his tank, or how much he would demand, but Id like to see Brendan Shanahan brought in for a tryout. If he still has it, he can score 20 goals, and be a power forward with grit and experience. He sure has done a fair amount of damage to the Sharks over the years.
I think what Wilson has learned is that while it's nice to win the Presidents trophy and get Home Ice, those things havent made the difference in the playoffs. If the Sharks experience adversity and losing in the regular season, instead of perhaps having the wins come too easy or assumed, maybe they will really learn how to be scrappy, and to fight for a win (and I dont mean by fisticuffs, though Im happy they are not being marshmallows out there). I believe Wilson is not afraid to make a deal at the trade deadline, and at that point in the season, the teams weaknesses should really have shown themselves. Should one or two players come in at that time and actually perform as expected, we have a shot in the playoffs.
Having watched the team since the beginning, Ive seen people brought in with high expectations, who were busts. Heatley is not the first sniper we brought in with all due respect to our announcers. Anyone remember Ray Sheppard? Other late season acquisition failures like Belfour and Guerin also come to mind. I dont blame the mgnt for those players not performing or getting injured. I do blame them for not having Belfour signed for a few years when they got him though.
The salary cap has really changed things, and now it is important to succeed to have inexpensive young players and veterans who are really good to complement you core of expensive stars. Of course, it never hurts to have your goalie get on a roll in the playoffs too.