Conclusions from a 4th of July Weekend
There are two sides to blogging.
On the one hand, there's the money, the endless supply of women, the recreational drug use, binge drinking, all night parties, stardom and the devoted readership of millions. Love it.
On the other hand, however, is something many bloggers don't realize until they are knee deep in rosterbation and salary cap figures only a few days after the season has ended. Blogging takes some fun out of being a fan.
Before I covered the Sharks, did I lose sleep over the team's salary cap issues? Did I curse Doug Wilson for not being more proactive? Did I research hundreds of prospects in the draft so that I could criticize the Sharks' scouts?Well, no.
I'm not going to lie, I've been in a pretty crappy mood lately. I've been pissed at the Sharks' complacency, worried about the cap, and flat out astonished by the lack of, well, anything so far this offseason. Then the Huskins signing happened, and I kinda went off the deep end.
So I disconnected. On Friday morning at 3:30 AM, I packed up the car and headed due north to my favorite place on the planet: Lake Tahoe. After a few days on the water with family and friends, I felt refreshed. I was a calmer man.
That was, however, before I was stuck in traffic for nine hours coming back. Traffic is my least favorite thing in the entire world. Terrible.
Let's just say that I had plenty of time to think things over. I did talk to Plank on Saturday, so I already had some new ideas floating around in my head. I came to four conclusions, all of which I will share with you... now.
- Doug Wilson is playing the waiting game: When Wilson came out and told fans that there would be changes, everyone expected them right away... myself included. Not including McGinn, there are only eight forwards on the current roster. Although we knew that Clowe would probably sign, many of us thought that the four remaining forward spots would be filled with top-tier free agents. That's not the case. Currently, there is merely $1.77 MM left on the cap to fill the roster. Ouchies. While we can all get mad at Doug for his lack of moves, I'm starting to see what he's doing. Instead of selling low at the draft or cashing in at the trade deadline, he's sitting on his hands. That doesn't mean that a big trade isn't coming, he's just waiting for the right moment. After the free agent frenzy dies down, teams will have some time to look at the roster they have assembled. Many may believe that they now have a chance to compete, or even contend if one more piece is added. (Plank has an article coming, which will cover just that) That's when Doug Wilson will re-open the dealership and boast his "Like New" Jonathan Cheechoo and "Only used by an old lady who drove it to Church" Milan Michalek. Perhaps a stylish German model (Ehrhoff), would be attractive. He might even dangle some Marleau, but the luxury models inside the dealership always cost more. Point is, everyone knows he's trying to make moves right now. By waiting, he's maximizing the value he can get in return.
- Three of Cheechoo, Michalek, Lukowich, Ehrhoff, Murray, Marleau, Shelley and Nabokov will be moved: Between these eight players, over $26 MM of cap space is committed. Not all of these players will be moved, but at least three (possibly more, if Shelley is one) will have to be shipped in order to field a competitive team next year. I'm not talking competitive as in being able to compete for a playoff spot, but competitive as in being able to field a legal NHL roster. I don't know which of the players will be moved, but something is coming.
- The Sharks top prospects (Couture, Petrecki) will have a shot of making the team out of training camp: Perhaps the reason that Wilson hasn't gone out and signed multiple players is because he believes that our farm system has some players who are ready to see regular time at the NHL level.
- The 2010 NHL Draft will be much busier for the Sharks: When salary is dumped, something has to come back. It's usually draft picks. Four of the eight players above would probably return you a first round pick, which is vital for a team who's farm system looks like three M&M's in a jar full of rice. (Ok, so maybe that analogy doesn't make sense to you, but it does to me, so meh.)
All in all, you might have been thinking those same things, and we've touched on many of them already. However, I'm putting my thoughts down on digital paper so that I can just get them out there. I'm not happy with the direction of the Sharks roster so far this season, but that could all change in about a second. News will come, and I'm going to do my best to just sit back and chill. I'm going to try to remember how fun it is to be a fan, and not take anything that happens over this offseaon personally.
If anything else like the Huskins deal happens, though, well... that might be the point of no return for me.