The perpetual thorn-in-the-side of the Sharks franchise, Steve Ott, was traded to the St. Louis Blues last night in the blockbuster trade that also involved Halak and Miller swapping positions between the pipes. After Doug Wilson acquired Raffi Torres in a deadline deal last season, I now expect the horrifically unexpected. And I thought that, this year, Steve Ott would be the horrific surprise. But fear not, Sharks fans, Ott will not be in teal for the foreseeable future.
Whether or not the Sharks make a deadline move is still up in the air. With every forward short of Tomas Hertl returning from injury lately, a trade for a forward seems unlikely. But it could have happened. Remember, this Sharks team is only a few weeks removed from having Kearns, McCarthy, Hayes and Brown ALL in the lineup at once.
Steve Ott could have filled a role to bolster the bottom six. Back in his Dallas days, the most frustrating thing about playing against Ott wasn't his displays of world-class douchiness. The frustrating thing was that he seemed to get an important goal after one of those displays.
Beyond some of these basic stats, he's also won 54.5% of his face-offs over his career. That certainly seems like the kind of skill the Sharks like to have out of their centers. Not to mention the "grit" that gives us Mike Brown on a regular basis. And that was one of the main reasons I was having nightmares.
Honestly, he's not looking too sharp this season. Especially when his plus/minus is -26 on the year. But can anyone really look good on Buffalo right now? Maybe not. But his relative corsi is -4.1. In other words, the Sabres are outshot more with him when he's playing. So even on the Sabres, they're still worse with him on the ice. The Sharks dodged a bullet here. Luckily, San Jose's lack of room under the salary cap likely kept them from making a full heel turn. Because really, a Torres-Ott-Burish line would have been an affront to the hockey gods.
Thank you, Martin Havlat. Your crippling cap hit might have saved the Sharks from making a horrible mistake. At least until Ott becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. And then becomes the "biggest free agent signing" in Sharks history.
...And the nightmares are back.