Some assorted thoughts today as the Sharks open up play overseas with a 10:30 AM scrimmage against Adler Mannheim:
1) Puck Worlds has an excellent preview of the game today-- be sure to check out the article in it's entirety, as it covers everything from the opponent to the Sharks fascination with drafting German players. You can listen to the entire game at the Sharks main site as well as 98.5 KFOX.
2) Never say never (learned that the hard way), but I think it's safe to put to rest all of the rumors flying around connecting San Jose to Minnesota in a goalie-defenseman swap. The Wild have reportedly inked Jose
Threeormore Theodore to a one-year contract, meaning they have found a suitable replacement for for the time being. Maybe something opens up during the season between the two teams, but now? Nostranadamus.
3) Nostranadamus. I really like the ring of that, and it works on two levels-- for starters, Nostradamus was a seer who allegedly predicted a bunch of future world events before his death (the associations, of course, are likely due to individuals wrangling the text to fit the events-- in other words, the text is so vague that a loose interpretation of his predictions can fit almost anything). Since I'm predicting something here, there's a pretty solid basis for the reference. On a second level, the inclusion of the Spanish/Latin noun of "nada" in "Nostradamus" (resulting in "Nostranadamus") indicates that the individual making the prediction (me) doesn't feel that it will come true. It's either late and I think it's awesome, or it's awesome and I think I'm late. Wait, that's not right.
4) Back to Thomas Greiss-- started riffing about his situation on Twitter during a slow bus ride Wednesday afternoon. My conclusion? It's hard to think about moving him for solely prospects/picks considering he's a pretty solid goaltender who could have a lot of value at the NHL level. Al Stalock (23) and Greiss (24) are very close in age, meaning that I don't think it would result in a case of the Sharks hindering anyone's development. The goal of the organization is to produce a netminder who can provide stable minutes at the NHL level, and competition between these two players down in Worcester seems to be the best route to separate the wheat from the chaff in that regard. You see who is most capable and move on from there.
5) On that note, look at the last five years of NHL trades involving goaltenders if you have some free time today. Very limited value across the league, and Greiss is a guy who has seen only 19 games of action at this level. I'd say that his value is about as close to zero as you can get at this point-- not because he's not talented and lacks upside (over the past year my tune on Greiss has changed from skeptical to believer), but because there's just no market for him right now. Toss in the aforementioned idea that goalies net very little in return via trade and you have a situation where it's probably best to send him to Worcester and see what happens.
6) Also, let me say this-- trade proposals involvingare pretty far fetched in my opinion, unless you're packaging him with a guy like and/or some high level prospects, or a pure salary dump to a team who will give you peanuts (4-7th round pick) in return. There's just no need for him on any contending team right now. Maybe that changes over the course of the season, but there's a load of free agents still available on the market that can get you what Huskins will at a third of the price.
8) With reports that Andreas Lilja will be signing with the Sharks (David Pollak of Working The Corners reported it was not finalized, but stated, "Now, if I were into speculation, I’d speculate that I have a hard time seeing the Sharks bringing a guy to Europe, getting him on the doorstep of his native country and then telling him his services were no longer required. But I’m not the speculating kind and stranger things have happened in the NHL"), I leave you with this:
If Lilja does end up making the roster, I think you see a situation where he ends up making a league minimum salary.is demoted to Worcester to free up that roster slot. If that's the play the Sharks are looking at here it's a solid one-- Lilja will definitely be a better addition to the roster than Leach would be, and his credentials as a stable bottom pairing player only improves your depth in the event of injury. There's no chance San Jose gives him more than a one-year deal, which won't prevent a prospect from making the team next year...
...In essence, it's a safe play, and one that really doesn't have any drawbacks. Increase the competition level, assess your roster, and see which historically bottom-pairing defenseman is most suited to take on a role bigger than the one they're used to. It's not the guy San Jose needs, but it's a guy they could use.
Just don't expect Lilja to come in and start slaying top-end competition anytime soon.
To summarize, I like Lilja better than I like Leach, and think that the signing is a solid move for the organization to increase some lower pairing depth.