Sharks Roster Tree

A thought came over me during the doldrums of the off-season. We all know the San Jose Sharks roster, and if we don't we can easily look it up on the umpteen sites that list NHL rosters (such as this one). But what isn't so readily available is how that roster came to be. Oh, you can see when contracts were signed and when the player was traded, but not all in the same place. And if you want to know if that player's pick was traded pre-draft? Forget it. Unfortunately, you can't just go to HockeyAncestry.com or something to figure out the lineage of the roster. And even if you could, it would probably cost you a monthly payment and send you a bunch of spam or something. 

So, running with the idea of a roster lineage, I created a Sharks Roster Tree, using the roster as it is today. Click the below image to see it full-size (warning: it is a very, very large image).

[UPDATED 9/8/10 3:20pm]: Through the help of comments and email, I was able to fully complete the chart. And in a case of Murphy's Law, of course those picks that I didn't get were the most complicated of all.

Sjsrostertree_medium 

No Sharks-drafted players before the 1995 draft affect the current roster. This could be a combination of things: fifteen years being a rather long time when talking about athletes, the lack of good players on the Sharks before 1995, and the NHL-wide trend of filling rosters with young and cheap draft picks.

After discovering a new branch, it turns out that Bob McGill, a defenseman acquired by the Sharks through the 1991 expansion draft, plays a role in acquiring Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, and Dany Heatley. Other early-era Sharks that influence today's roster are Ken Hammond (a free agent signing before the first season) and Mike Craig; that is, the St. Louis Blues giving high draft picks to the Sharks so they wouldn't choose Craig in the expansion draft. The pick that eventually became Chris Pronger is the first Entry Draft pick/player that still affects the roster (and in more ways than one - playing against Pronger still is not very fun). The earliest Sharks-drafted players to affect the NHL roster are the 1995-drafted goalies: Vesa Toskala and Miikka Kiprusoff have produced Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, respectively.

The most productive round in the draft for acquiring roster players (through trading Sharks drafted in that round or trading the draft picks themsevles) is, predictably, the first round. Since 1993, eight of the Sharks' first round picks affect the current roster. The second-most productive round is, suprisingly, the fourth round, with six of the Sharks' picks since 1993 affecting the roster. From there, the most productive rounds are the second, fifth, sixth, seventh, third, eighth, and finally ninth.

While the players the Sharks drafted in the ultra-deep 2003 draft have not been as great as some would like, that draft is the most productive in terms of how many picks influence the roster today. Five picks out of a possible nine indirectly (or directly, in the case of Joe Pavelski) influence the roster through trades. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Dan Boyle, and Dany Heatley all have their roots traced back to a draft pick in this round. 2007 is the second-most productive, with four draft picks influencing today's roster. However, the players that have been influenced by that round are Jamie McGinn, Kent Huskins, and Niclas Wallin, which is just a bit less impressive than 2003.

There are only four free agents on the current roster (Scott Nichol, Jamal Mayers, Antero Niittymaki, and Antti Niemi) and seven free agents on the tree, total (adding Ken Hammond, Tom Preissing and Josh Gorges). Thus, a large majority of the players that have played for the Sharks did not choose the to play for them initially, which is in line with the common perception that free agents aren't attracted to San Jose for various reasons. 

Notable Branches:

Logan Couture

Josh Hennessy, drafted 43rd overall in the second round in 2003, and former free agent signing Tom Preissing were traded to Chicago for Mark Bell on July 10, 2006. Almost a year later, Vesa Toskala (originally drafted 90th overall in the fourth round in 1995) and Mark Bell were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs on the first day of the 2007 NHL draft for Toronto's first, second, and fourth round picks in that draft. The Sharks subsequently traded Toronto's first and second round picks to St. Louis for their higher first round pick in that draft. Logan Couture was then selected with that pick.

One of the more noticable things about the genesis of Logan Couture is how many steps had to be taken for the Sharks to be in possession of St. Louis's first. The second is that of all the pieces traded, only Toskala and Hennessy were actually drafted and developed by the Sharks. Josh Hennessy has 1 point in 20 career NHL games and Toskala... well, the Toronto media has pretty much covered what has happened with Toskala. If you were to propose trading Vesa Toskala and Josh Hennessy for Logan Couture today, you would get laughed off of HF Boards. Yet, with a few steps in between, that is essentially what happened.

Devin Setoguchi

The Sharks traded their first, second, and seventh round picks to the Atlanta Thrashers to move up to eighth overall in the first round, drafting Devin Setoguchi with that pick.

This isn't notable so much as it is interesting to re-examine now, when you think about the players that were drafted with the picks the Sharks gave up. Well, maybe not players - Chad Denny was the second round pick, and he is currently playing in the ECHL, and the seventh rounder Myles Stoesz is a goon who was just promoted to the AHL this past season. But the player that was drafted with the Sharks' first round pick has been the subject of much recent rosterbation: Marc Staal

So, the question is, essentially, Devin Setoguchi or Marc Staal? Both have their merits. Setoguchi has proven chemistry with both Thornton and Pavelski, and has already had a thirty goal season. He's one of the fastest forwards on the Sharks, and enthusiastically dishes out hits unlike most other Sharks not named Douglas Murray. Marc Staal is one of the best young shut-down defensemen in the NHL, with excellent stick work and skating ability, as has been documented here previously. Pairing him with Vlasic would be a thing of absolute beauty. 

It really comes down to whether or not the Sharks need offense or defense more. At the time of the draft, offense was more of a need. At this juncture, it is obviously defense. But would the loss of Setoguchi hurt the Sharks more than Staal's defense helps? Personally, I would prefer Staal to Setoguchi on the roster as it is currently constructed simply because of the weak defense and the strength of the top six forwards, but it is very close. Tomorrow I might prefer Setoguchi, taking into account contracts (and lack thereof) and the speed that Setoguchi brings. Both can/would plug rather large holes on the Sharks, it's just a matter of whether you want the hole on the port side plugged or the hole on the starboard side. 

But really, the Rangers aren't going to let Staal get away, so the point is probably moot.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Miikka Kiprusoff, drafted 116th overall in the fifth round of the 1995 draft, was traded to the Calgary Flames for a second round pick in 2005 on November 16, 2003. The Sharks drafted Marc-Edouard Vlasic with that pick.

This is one of those trades that initally seem like an absolute fleecing by one team, but eventually evens out. Kiprusoff was being overshadowed by Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala, who were performing better than he was at the time, and so the Sharks traded him because of lack of space in the system. He went on to win the Vezina that season, and backstop the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals (beating the Sharks in the Western Conference Finals, no less). But then the Sharks drafted Vlasic in the 2005 draft, he made the team out of training camp, and has developed into one of the best young shut-down defensemen in the league. Meanwhile, Kiprusoff is on a long, expensive contract and his stats are trending down as he reaches his mid-thirties. 

Initially it was a horrible trade, even if it was due to the Sharks' hand being forced with having too many good goalies. But now? It's a pretty even trade, with the potential to start tipping towards the Sharks as Vlasic plays out his career.

Joe Thornton

*Takes a deep breath*

Ken Hammond was signed by the newly-formed San Jose Sharks on August 9, 1991. Less than a year later, he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for an eighth round pick in 1992. That pick and Bob McGill (who was claimed in the 1991 expansion draft from the Chicago Blackhawks) were traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Johan Garpenlov on March 9, 1992. On March 2, 1995, the Sharks traded Garpenlov to the Florida Panthers for a 1998 fifth round pick. Meanwhile, the Sharks traded the second overall pick in the 1993 draft (which eventually became Chris Pronger) to the Hartford Whalers on June 26, 1993 for the sixth overall pick in 1993, Sergei Makarov, a 1993 second round pick (Vlastimil Kroupa), and a 1993 third round pick. The Sharks chose Viktor Kozlov with that pick. Later, packaged with the aforementioned 1998 fifth round pick, the Sharks traded Viktor Kozlov to the Florida Panthers for David Lowry and their 1998 first round pick (which eventually became the first overall pick, Vincent Lecavalier) on November 13, 1997. Going back to the expansion draft, the St. Louis Blues traded the Sharks their 1991 second round pick and 1992 first round pick so the Sharks would not take goaltender Mike Craig on May 31, 1991. The Sharks took Andrei Narazov with that pick. On March 24, 1998, the Sharks packaged the Panthers' first round pick and Andrei Narazov to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Bryan Marchment, David Shaw, and Tampa Bay's first round pick in 1998 (which will eventually be the second overall pick, David Legwand). Jumping back a year, the Sharks traded Vlastimil Kroupa (who was part of the return for the Chris Pronger pick) to the New Jersey Devils on August 22, 1997 for a third round pick in the 1998 draft. At the 1998 draft, the Sharks traded that third round pick and Tampa Bay's first round pick to the Nashville Predators for their first and second round picks in the 1998 draft. The Sharks drafted Jonathan Cheechoo with the second round pick, and Brad Stuart with the first. On March 11, 2003, the Sharks traded Matt Bradley - a former fourth round pick in the 1996 draft - to the Penguins for Wayne Primeau. Finally, on November 30, 2005, the Sharks traded Marco Sturm (a 1996 first round pick), Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau to the Boston Bruins for Joe Thornton.

It's notable because the fact that the very last trade happened is still amazing. Also, because man that branch is long; it didn't seem like the Sharks, Lightning, Panthers, or Predators wanted to keep their first round picks. This branch is littered with all stars and future (or current) Hall of Famers, and yet the players that were actually traded for Joe Thornton were rather ordinary. It does make the trade seem less lopsided when taken in this context (I probably would rather have both Pronger and Lecavalier than Thornton alone).

Niclas Wallin

On February 25, 2007, the Sharks traded undrafted free agent Josh Gorges and their own 2007 first round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Craig Rivet and a fifth round pick in 2008. Over a year later, in response to the Dan Boyle trade, the Sharks traded Craig Rivet and their seventh round pick in 2010 to the Buffalo Sabres for Buffalo's second round picks in 2009 and 2010. On February 7, 2010, the Sharks traded Buffalo's 2010 second rounder for Niclas Wallin and a 2010 fifth round pick.

Of all the current Sharks roster players, the process of getting Wallin is the most involved, with nine players being somehow related to the acquisition of Wallin. While this is no longer the most complex by a long shot, that there are this many steps involved to get a borderline top 4 defenseman is a little disconcerting. Granted, the Sharks also acquired Julien Demers, William Wrenn, and Cody Ferriero without later trading them away (although Julien Demers was released by the Sharks earlier this summer). 

For the overall return, a first, a seventh, and Josh Gorges seems like a bit of an overpayment. I admit, my opinion of Wallin is shaded because of his sub-par play while injured in the few months he was on the Sharks last season and the contract he received this season. However, the combination of players given up and the players gained likely equates to the black sheep branch on a family tree, or just the near-dead, slightly-rotting branch on an actual tree, as the assets that the Sharks received are not equal to the assets that they gave up.

 

NOTE: There are four draft picks that I was unable to find out how the Sharks acquired them: Nashville's first in 1998 (Brad Stuart), Nashville's second in 1998 (Jonathan Cheechoo), Calgary's second in 2003 (Matt Carle), and Columbus's second in 2006 (Jamie McGinn). If anyone can magically come up with what the trades were, please let me know so I can adjust the chart accordingly. Thanks to all those who commented and emailed me, now the chart is complete and I can rest easy.

All research was done using WikipediaHockey-ReferencePro Sports Transactions, and Sharkspage.
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