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Joonas Donskoi is the scoring winger the Sharks need

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Going outside the organization is just poor asset management

Calgary Flames v San Jose Sharks Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With the trade deadline under a week away (March 1), it looks like the Sharks will stick with Aaron Dell as their backup netminder. So now Doug Wilson, furious tire kicker that he is, appears to have moved on to his next target: a scoring winger. It’s not hard to see why. The Sharks are seventh in the league in expected goals per 60 minutes at even strength, ninth in scoring chances for per 60 minutes and ... huh. Maybe scoring isn’t such a big problem after all?

San Jose is 12th in the league in shooting percentage and climbing the charts. I’m not calling the Sharks an elite scoring team, but keep in mind they’ve played most of the year without Tomas Hertl and are currently playing without Joonas Donskoi. Mix in that head coach Pete DeBoer relies on a not-so-optimized lineup and ... you get the idea.

Enter Donskoi. While trade rumors focus on acquiring Thomas Vanek, Patrick Sharp and Jarome Iginla, the Finnish forward will return to the San Jose lineup in short order without giving up assets and at a lower cap hit. Oh, and he has played pretty darn well with the Joes.

I’m not so convinced any of these players are better than Donskoi. Here’s a look at the primary points per 60 at even strength over the past two years for the four players:

  1. Thomas Vanek (1.68)
  2. Patrick Sharp (1.18)
  3. Joonas Donskoi (1.16)
  4. Jarome Iginla (1.08)

Vanek would be a legitimate upgrade in terms of scoring and frankly is the only player I’ve heard linked to San Jose that I find interesting. I have no interest in taking on Sharp’s awful contract and Iginla is just not a good enough hockey player to help the team at this point in his career.

Still, adding Donskoi back to the roster costs nothing. Adding Kevin Labanc back to the roster costs nothing. I’m all for going all in to win the Stanley Cup, but I’d argue trading for Vanek while shipping out a pair of draft picks increases your odds to win this year by only a little while hurting your odds at winning in the future by a little more.

Donskoi isn’t lighting up the scoresheet by any means this year (0.34 points per game) but when playing with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski has found some scoring success. I’d argue the Sharks aren’t in as dire need of scoring as many seem to think they are, but plugging Donskoi in on the top line certainly helps fill that hole (at the very least nearly as well as Vanek would).

The Sharks are a tough team to read when it comes to the trade deadline: things don’t leak in regards to specific deals. There could be a blockbuster coming for all we know. If San Jose is going to make a deal at the deadline, that’s what I think they should do. If they do go after Vanek, here’s how I think they should line up:

With Thomas Vanek

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Thomas Vanek

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier - Tomas Hertl - Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi - Chris Tierney - Kevin Labanc

Without Thomas Vanek

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Joonas Donskoi

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier - Tomas Hertl - Joel Ward

Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Kevin Labanc