Micheal Haley rejoined the San Jose Sharks late in the 2018-19 season.
It came as quite the shock, as the Sharks were well stocked with forwards more skilled than Haley. Claimed off of waivers from the Florida Panthers on Feb. 20, Haley reprised his fourth line role from his previous stint with the Sharks from 2014 to 2017.
He was dressed over Joonas Donskoi on several nights. Exactly no one, save Peter DeBoer, thought this was a good idea.
Allegedly brought on to add toughness to the Sharks, Haley kind of did so.
Looking at this quote from Vegas tough-guy Ryan Reaves, it is tough to argue that he was truly able to do so:
Ryan Reaves gave an honest, thoughtful answer on if he thought he got into Micheal Haley's head in the 1st period: pic.twitter.com/1x7EwibcBq— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 19, 2019
Haley contributed one goal and two assists in 19 games with the Sharks.
Also, he had 45 penalty minutes in those 19 games; while some will point to this as Haley demonstrating his toughness and grit, the reality is that he put the Sharks in shorthanded situations too often.
Career Summary (via Hockey Viz):
Looking at his career arc, and given what we know about aging curves, it is more than fair to say that we have seen the best hockey the 33-year-old Haley will play.
Evaluating the above graphs and looking for trends is difficult, as Haley has spent much of his career bouncing between the AHL and the NHL, or as a healthy scratch.
RAPM Chart (via Evolving Hockey):
Yikes, those charts don’t look great.
Still, credit where credit is due, Haley did have a positive impact on the defensive side of things. Haley did not see any power play time, which is relieving as it is unsurprising.
I had to go with Haley’s lone goal for the Sharks as his season highlight.
That he was on the ice defending against a 6-on-5 with less than a minute left, is surprising, but bear in mind that the Sharks were up 4-2 at this point.
The puck was stripped by Brent Burns, who then chipped it out of the zone; Haley won the race to the loose puck in the neutral zone, and knocked in his first goal of the season.
What comes next?
Haley will be an unrestricted free-agent (UFA) as of July 1. Even though he will not cost the Sharks much (his last contract carried a cap hit of $625,000), it would not be a good idea for the San Jose to re-sign Haley.
Bringing him back is a possibility, though, considering DeBoer’s comments about the team needing to be tougher. Even if that is the goal, the recent signings of Lean Bergmann and Jeffrey Viel, could render Haley’s services redundant.
Doug Wilson has better options than bringing back Haley yet again; let’s all hope he realizes this.