Trades, in my humble opinion, are one of the greatest things about the sport of hockey. Every team makes them every year, draft picks can be traded, star players can be traded; it's just madness waiting to happen. "We have a trade to announce" is one of my favorite six word phrases (right up there with "free pizza in the conference room"). That's one of the only reasons I even watch the NHL Draft.
Because of my near-unhealthy obsession with trades and the history of trades, I've taken to charting out all the transactions that have been made to create the current roster. For the uninitiated, that means going back until I hit either a free agent, a waiver claim, or a draft pick given to the Sharks by the league. The latter includes expansion and dispersal drafts as well as the normal entry draft.
Keeping with tradition, I've added a new feature to the roster chart this season. All players in the Sharks organization signed to NHL deals have been included, rather than just those on the NHL roster. Also, it's now in PDF form - no more loading a massive image file!
Another new feature for this season: infographic! Because words are hard.
- While I haven't seen charts for all teams in the NHL, I'm fairly confident in saying that the Sharks have the largest chart in both players and transactions. The organization really values asset retention, preferring to trade players away in return for draft picks that hopefully pan out. And, with the Sharks' success in the draft, that strategy has been fairly successful.
- The emphasis on asset retention could be explained by the dearth of free agents. Outside of the last four years, only five free agents appear on the chart. And only four of the free agents from the last four years are on the NHL roster. The rest are undrafted/minor league free agents; actually, two of the roster players (Desjardins and Irwin) started out as undrafted free agents. Basically, it confirms the notion that 40-year-old Rob Blake and just-bought-out Scott Gomez are neck-and-neck in "highest profile Sharks free agent."
- Any guesses as to when Doug Wilson took over the GM job? While it's true Wilson has been general manager for over ten years at this point and should be the executor of most of the moves, it's amazing at how much his first year as general manager still impacts the current roster.
- That said, the 2003 draft is known as the greatest draft of all time, which could help with that a bit.
- It was mentioned on the infographic, but the link to Pat Falloon has finally passed. That may or may not have been the main reason why I disliked the TJ Galiardi trade.
- Also mentioned: Mike Craig is the non draft pick of the Sharks. Not only did the agreement to not select him lead to Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, and Martin Havlat (who, I think we can all agree, are very good players), but it also led to the Sharks acquiring Owen Nolan (not pictured). Not Mike Craig is fantastic.
- There are quite a few draft picks the Sharks traded away that became good players: Chris Pronger, Vincent Lecavalier, David Legwand, Brad Richardson, Marc Staal... But, given the players the Sharks were able to get due to those picks, are there any regrets?
- This is your annual reminder that the Sharks basically got Logan Couture for Vesa Toskala and post-DUI Mark Bell.