So I know it's a little early to start with the rosterbation but, I can't help it. Below is my first thoughts on what the Sharks could do for next year:
What you are probably asking yourself is where is Nabakov and Setoguchi? Rob Blake? Before I get into the players that are not on the roster above let me make my case for the players I think we must resign. Follow me past the jump.
- Patrick Marleau
The career Shark and top goal scorer is one of the premiere players in the league. Mabye he flew under the radar over the last few years (from a nation media standpoint) but after a career year and the fact that he was almost the only player that could score against the Blackhawks in these playoffs; Patrick Marleau is a top priority to re-sign. It seems that he is willing to take some sort of home discount to stay a Shark, but with him and Ilya Kovalchuc k as the top scoring UFAs this year there will be teams throwing a lot of money at Patty to try to lure him away. I think the Sharks can secure his services with an 9 year - $50m front loaded contract. It is worth noting that this would be a pay cut from Patty's current salary, but the fact that this contract would most likely carry him to his retirement may make this attractive for him. Plus his wife doesn't have to move :P
- Joe Pavelski
After the sensational first two playoff rounds that the Big Pavelski put together along with his back to back 25 goal and 50+ point regular season performances, it is pretty clear that Pavelski is a stud. He probably could be a very good 1st line center for somebody, and there will be takers - but he is an amazing 2nd line center who I believe can continue to progress his game. I think a 5 year $20 and change contract may be just in order.
- Manny Malholtra
He skates, he hits, he passes, he shoots, he wins faceoffs. Other than faceoffs he is not awesome at any one facet of the game, but his very solid all around. He can play any position on the 2nd or 3rd line well, and could do a serviceable job on the top line in a pinch. Dude took near the league minimum to play for Sharks this last year - and play he did. I love having this guy on the team and feel that a 2-3 year deal at $1.8m per is a nice number for him and a nice number for us.
- Scott Nichol
The best forth line center we have had in recent years. He is gritty, he is speedy, he wins faceoffs, and he puts it on the line every second of every shift. I think he is getting the right amount now for his role - and a similar 1 year contract keeps him on this team. What the team gets from him at his contract price is extremely valuable.
Let me start by saying that I am, for the time being, assuming that Rob Blake is going to retire. If he doesn't retire I would still welcome him on the team, I would say that $1.75m is what I would pay for a guaranteed hooking penalty and some quality veteran leadership . If Blake did take a much reduced salary you could trade Huskins off to make room for him.
- Evgeni Nabokov
No doubt, Evgeni Nabokov is a very good goalie. But with the current cap situation the Sharks have and the free agent goalie the way it is I don't see Nabby in teal next year. If Cristobal Huet can get the crazy money he got Nabby is in for a major payday. Thomas Griess was relatively untested this year - but did well during his starts. We also have this guy Alex "so fast he can smell your farts before you lay them" Stalock who also did pretty well in the AHL this last year. On top of that the Sharks paid $1+ million for a 6'5" Swede, Henrik Karlsson, to marinate in the Swedish Leagues. With three of the four Conference Final Teams using rookie goaltenders I have to believe that the Sharks can find a solid netminder in one of these guys.
This is where the salary cap really blows. Setoguchi has shown that he can be a quick and elusive sniper with good physicality when he is on his game. When he is on his game. Inconsistency was an issue with his game this season, though he did have some injuries early in the season that seemed to knock him off his rhythm. With 62 goals over his first three seasons, and the fact that he can play a fast and physical game Seto will, IMHO, draw a great deal of attention this offseason. Assuming that the Sharks want to keep Patty Marleau and also have some depth on the 3rd and 4th lines (read actually be able to field a 4th line) there doesn't seem to be enough room to get Seto the money he deserves. I think that Seto could garner around $3m per season contract on the open market. If the Sharks tendered a $3m per year offer sheet to Seto and another team matched their offer the Sharks would receive 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks in compensation. The Sharks could use these picks as is, package a deal to move up in the draft and get a player they really want, or use them to make one of Doug Wilson's mega hit - or facepalmingly miss trades (let's hope it's a mega hit). Lacking first round picks in the last two drafts and with a depleted farm system I would say that some extra draft picks are just what this team could use.
Jed Ortmeyer & Brad Staubitz
I personally like the gritty, blue collar game that Ortmeyer brings to the table - but I think that we have some youngsters (McLaren, and Ferriero come to mind) that I think could bring the same if not more of what Jed adds to the Sharks. As far as Staubitz goes - hey I like the facial redecoration that he gave Jordin Tootoo as much as the next guy - but I think that the Sharks can find some grit that can also do something with the puck and not draw stupid penalties every time his skates touch frozen water.
- Dan Hamhuis
Sound defensively and can log some big minutes. Good first pass, and he is coming into the prime years of his career. Maybe not the big name Dman that would be ideal, but he would be a solid addition to our defensive end. I think he could either play with either Marc-Edouard Vlasic or on the top line with Dan Boyle. I personally like him on the Pickles line, keeping Murray and Boyle together for another year as they seem to have a nice chemistry together. Putting Hamhuis on the Pickles line should allow that line to log bigger minutes than they did this season - with Blake doing a "DW draws a downward slope with his hand" whenever he plays over 20mins. This would mean more rest for Boyler, a nice thing since he did not seem to skate the puck up nearly as quickly or with as much agility in the latter half of the season. If Demers can continue to grow his defensive game, and Kent Huskins continues to be quietly solid, the third D pairing could add some more offensive pop. I think the true wild card will be if Derek Joslin, Mike Moore, or Nick Petrecki have a great training camp and preseason will they make the team.
Alternatives: Zbynek Michalek, Dennis Seidenburg.
- Matthew Lombardi
Lombardi plays a fast game and has played center and on the wing. His speed may be comparable to Seto's and he has shown a bit of a scoring touch. A solid passer, I think he would work well with Pavelski and Clowe to round out our second line. Also age 28 he is entering into the prime of his career. I think 3-4 years at 2.4 per would be a solid contract for both parties. With Lombardi we would do a lot to soften the loss of Setoguchi at a reasonable price.
Alternatives: Raffi Torres, Lee Stempniak
"Jmoney end this shit already..."
Those are my thoughts as of this moment in time. Probably I will get nothing right and DW has some sort of blockbuster deal up his sleeve to get the top pick in the draft with out giving up a starter, a draft pick, or a great lasagna recipe. I would love to hear your feedback, and feel free to rip my insane ramblings a new one. Peace.