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The Daily Chum: A trade deadline roundtable with Fear the FIn writers

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What’s the Sharks’ best strategy at the deadline?

NHL Stanley Cup Final - Media Day Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With the trade deadline just 16 days away, we got a group of Fear the Fin writers together to answer questions about what the San Jose Sharks should do (or not do, as the case may be). Go ahead and complain about our terrible answers in the comments. I for one, can’t wait.

Jacob Sundstrom

1. Should the Sharks make a move at the trade deadline? If so, what?

The only reason the Sharks should make a move at the deadline is if it’s a home run deal. They’re fine.

2. Now let’s put on the speculation cap. Do you think the Sharks will do anything at the trade deadline?

So naturally Roman Polak is coming back.

3. San Jose has six more points at this point in the season than it did at the same point last year. What do you think of the team?

This is a much better team than last year’s squad and I like their chances at making a run back to the Stanley Cup Final so long as they get healthy and stay that way through the playoffs.

Mac Bass

1. Should the Sharks make a move at the trade deadline? If so, what?

I think the Sharks should make a move if someone like Duchene is a possibility. We all know we need a Thornton replacement soon and Duchene is capable of being a first line center on a team like ours. Rumors say Tavares is also available and if that's a possibility, then it would be tough to not want in on him.

2. Now let’s put on the speculation cap. Do you think the Sharks will do anything at the trade deadline?

I think we could be seeing a big time deal like one of the prior mentioned situations. Scary to think what we would give up, but those are both great players.

3. San Jose has six more points at this point in the season than it did at the same point last year. What do you think of the team?

I think this is the best all around Sharks team we've had. They took the team from last year and infused it with some young talent. Very excited to see what happens in the playoffs.

Erik Johnsgard

1. Should the Sharks make a move at the trade deadline? If so, what?

If recent history is any guide, sellers tend to win out at the trade deadline, and with only two committed sellers at this point in an absurdly close season, the bidding wars are likely to get pretty ugly. I think the Sharks could certainly use some minor upgrades in the form of a bottom six winger or a seventh defenseman, but I'm more than a little concerned about what that would cost.

Considering San Jose's cap situation, it's unlikely that they'll be in on bidding for any big names (don't order a Bishop or Sharp jersey or anything), and I don't think a Jarome Iginla or Gabriel Landeskog are what the Sharks need right now. Center depth is certainly not a concern here, so Martin Hanzal is not likely to be a huge help. I could get behind a couple of later picks for a Ron Hainsey or a John-Michael Liles, but apart from that kind of tinkering, the Sharks would be best served to stand pat and let this machine do what it did last year, and hopefully someone else can take care of the freaking Penguins for them.

2. Now let’s put on the speculation cap. Do you think the Sharks will do anything at the trade deadline?

That said, a Shane Doan trade would not shock me at all. Doug Wilson has been mentioned in rumors about Doan's availability for years now, and this year it seems like Doan is more open to move than he has been in the past. The question there is whether Wilson can (or is willing to) pony up more to the Desert Dogs than Bob Murray in Anaheim or Dean Lombardi in LA, since Doan has final say on his destination, and has made it clear that he doesn't want to travel too far from home.

The Ducks have a need to move a promising young defenseman to avoid losing one in the expansion draft, and the Kings have a clean draft sheet in 2017. Is DW willing to outbid, say, Cam Fowler and a second? The only other big move that could be a possibility is an attempt to shore up the backup goaltender position. Aaron Dell has been amazing in limited action, but by the time the real crunch comes around in March, when the Sharks play 16 games in 31 days, the deadline will have come and gone. If Calgary's feeling bold, I wouldn't rule out a reunion between Joe Pavelski and fellow Beaver Brian Elliott.

3. San Jose has six more points at this point in the season than it did at the same point last year. What do you think of the team?

Recent woes aside (I hate you, First Niagara Center, I hate you so much), I have trouble thinking of many things that could derail this team to the point of worrying about making the dance. I don't put a whole lot of stock in the Sharks scoring woes when they've spent so much time missing Tomas Hertl and with Mikkel Boedker shooting -80%. The Sharks have quietly cruised along this season to a points per game number seventh in the NHL, despite that, and they finally seem to have the big three key ingredients to winning in this league.

Teams don't get far in the playoffs without stand out stars at first line center, number one defenseman, and goaltender, and San Jose has those three positions sewn up, finally. That said, hockey is weird, and seven games is not always a large enough sample size to ensure the best team wins (tragically enough for the 2016 Florida Panthers), but with a little bit of luck, I don't see any compelling reason San Jose can't be the representative of the West for a second year. I'd always rather be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and vindicated anyway.

Kyle Demetrius

1. Should the Sharks make a move at the trade deadline? If so, what?

The Sharks should not make a move at the deadline. They are deep, have a stable of kids playing well/ready to come up, and trading for deadline help would mean unloading some of that depth. Are any of the rental targets better than what the Sharks currently have? No they are not. The only caveat would be snagging Matt Duchene. If you can do that, you do it.

2. Now let’s put on the speculation cap. Do you think the Sharks will do anything at the trade deadline?

I think the Sharks will make a deadline move. Doug Wilson has been active on deadlines passed. Some good (Reimer) and some big misses (Guerin) over the years. I think Wilson will acquire a backup goalie. Maybe because they don't trust Dell and want a veteran presence, but most likely they need a goalie to expose for the expansion. Jones needs to be protected and Dell doesn't meet the requirements. So bringing someone in to have a veteran presence and meets expansion criteria is what they will do.

3. San Jose has six more points at this point in the season than it did at the same point last year. What do you think of the team?

I wrote and rewrote about four different ideas of how I felt about the Sharks this season. Each time it didn't feel right because the 2017 Sharks are different than years past. San Jose has long been a Cup contender, but never got that close. After last years surge to the finals, the expectations have risen. Now we, as fans, know these Sharks are capable of going the distance and capturing Lord Stanley's mug. This has brought a sense of urgency and expectation to 2017.

Every three game losing streak feels like doom. Every Martin Jones less than stellar stretch feels like San Jose is cooked. We know as fans this is wrong and ups and downs happen. We know that the stakes only matter come Round 1. We also know that getting back to the Finals in back-to-back years is very rare. However this Sharks team is deep and skilled and I think come April, San Jose will be feared and we will forget the worrying we did in January. I believe San Jose will make a run again; but no matter where that run ends, it will be fun.

Matt Harrington

1. Should the Sharks make a move at the trade deadline? If so, what?

I think it makes sense for San Jose to stay quiet at the deadline. If you look at the rookie success of Kevin Labanc and a superstar season from Brent Burns, you've seen that the Sharks have already proved themselves as a solid contender. If the Sharks were to acquire a big name player like Shane Doan or Matt Duchene, they wouldn't get away with it without paying a pretty penny.

The success of the Barracuda and their numerous players that have played with the Sharks so far this year have proved that the Sharks already have a significant amount of depth and the importance of the prospects. Although it might be nice to see the Sharks pull off a big trade, it may not be worth jeopardizing the future.

2. Now let’s put on the speculation cap. Do you think the Sharks will do anything at the trade deadline?

Based on past trade deadlines, I don't expect the Sharks to make any big moves. That doesn't mean they won't make any, though. I could definitely see Wilson trading for a 3rd-4th line player that could add some depth up front. Who is that player? I'm not exactly sure, but we'll see if Wilson has any tricks up his sleeve.

3. San Jose has six more points at this point in the season than it did at the same point last year. What do you think of the team?

Overall, I think San Jose has had a great season so far. The biggest difference I've noticed this year is the amount of consistency. Last year, the Sharks were about a .500 team until January, when they boosted their way to a 3rd place finish in the Pacific. They have also been improving their "home ice advantage", already surpassing their total regular season home win total from last year. The bounce back of Patrick Marleau has also been nice to see. It is hard to believe he is 2nd on the team in goals after such a poor season last year. If they can avoid losing streaks like the one they just had, I think they are in great shape to take the Pacific Division crown.

Mark Weber

1. Should the Sharks make a move at the trade deadline? If so, what?

I believe they definitely should make a move for someone at the deadline. As of now the Sharks overall depth is amazing but other than Brent Burns there doesn't seem to be anyone on the team who is looking to score everytime they have the puck. The Sharks need a shooter in the top 9 forwards who can supplement Burns' shot activity.

2. Now let’s put on the speculation cap. Do you think the Sharks will do anything at the trade deadline?

Doug Wilson traditionally makes deadline moves but much in the way Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans do with the Giants. Never the big splashy move but always a depth move that on the surface seems boring but always serves a purpose. Long story short, I do expect some movement but nothing that'll blow anyone out of the water.

3. San Jose has six more points at this point in the season than it did at the same point last year. What do you think of the team?

With the Sharks sitting six points ahead of where they were at this point last year I certainly say that I think this year's club is better than last year's Stanley cup team. The defense has been incredible and the Martin Jones / Aaron Dell tandem in net has provided possibly the best one two punch in the NHL. Obviously the offense isn't what it was last year, with the Sharks struggling to put together lengthy win streaks or 5+ goal games this year. But as the old adage goes, defense wins championships. An A+ defense can mask a C- offense but an A+ offense can't always mask a C- defense.

East Bay Ry

1. Should the Sharks make a move at the trade deadline? If so, what?

Yes. The Sharks have a very good, deep roster, but it is by no means perfect. They should definitely be looking to improve before the playoffs. Teams should always be looking to improve themselves. Of the Sharks skaters who have played at least 50 minutes this season, all but four are above 50% xGF%. One of these guys, Matt Nieto, is already gone. Two, Karlsson and Boedker, likely aren't going anywhere. That brings us to Michael Haley. He's not good, and the Sharks already have better options in the organization. In Moneyball, Micheal Lewis describes the tension between Billy Beane and Art Howe over Howe's insistence on playing Carlos Pena against the GM's wishes. Ultimately, Beane traded Pena to Detroit, removing that option from Howe. I am afraid that this might be what it takes to get Haley out of the Sharks lineup. Is there a single one of us who thinks he won't get horribly exposed in a close playoff series?

So, I am fully in favor of sending Haley to Vancouver. He'd fit in perfectly there, as exactly none of their skaters are above 50% xGF%.

Beyond that, I kind of hope Doug Wilson makes an unexpected addition that dramatically bolsters the core. Their window is now, so I wouldn't be disappointed if he sent a substantial package of futures to Colorado for Matt Duchene or to St Louis for Kevin Shattenkirk.

Finally, Wilson should be trading with other GMs who have an established record of making bad trades. Doesn't really matter who or what the trade is for, if you know Peter Chiarelli or Jim Benning or Joe Sakic is going to trade you a dollar for three quarters, trade with them as possible.

2. Now let’s put on the speculation cap. Do you think the Sharks will do anything at the trade deadline?

They're totally trading for Roman Polak again, aren't they? Like he's already got his plane tickets booked?

That depressing, yet highly plausible, scenario aside, I don't expect them to do much more than tinker around the edges. That includes:

A) A Roman Polak style depth defender.

2) A forward none of us have heard of, who turns out to be decent.

III) A guy we all forgot was still in the league, who turns out to be done.

3. San Jose has six more points at this point in the season than it did at the same point last year. What do you think of the team?

Remember that their point total last season was lower than we (I) expected it to be, partly because of Logan Couture's broken leg. Right now, they are right about where I expected them to be-- securely in a playoff spot and on track for just over 100 points. Some players are doing better than anticipated, others worse, but overall, they're right where I expected. They are a good team that is capable of winning any game that isn't played in Buffalo. With a bold move, they could establish themselves as the clear favorite in the west.