Sharks Gameday: San Jose Sharks a-struggling so let's take a look at Mikhail Grabovski



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Man oh man oh man oh man.

With all the Rick Nash news going on right now it's hard (for me at least) to kind of forget just how poorly the Sharks have been playing. This road trip has done no favors for San Jose as the team skidded into Columbus Tuesday and proceeded to get rolled 6-3 against the worst team in the League. That's the kind of performance that's bound to turn some heads, especially when it lands you at 1-4-1 on the nine game Road Trip From Hell.

And yet, I'm still not concerned in the short run. Sure maybe this team has a few pieces missing, but I figure that will be addressed when Martin Havlat returns from injury and Doug Wilson makes a move at the trade deadline by (hopefully) giving up a pick and some prospects. Sure maybe this team is in a big rut right now, but it's safe to say every team across the League goes through this at some point and the Sharks will eventually come out of it just like Chicago did and just like numerous teams have done before them. Sure maybe this team is getting older and has a core that has yet to light the world afire for a twenty game stretch, but the clock hasn't struck midnight just yet and Cinderella still has some shiny slippers that make her a sexy pick this postseason. And sure, maybe the Sharks are now in a dog fight for the Pacific Division but Phoenix and Los Angeles don't seem to have the horses to be able to get it done (although Maloney's acquisition of Antoine Vermette yesterday does look pretty good).

Maybe I'm naive, maybe I'm old, and maybe I'm too focused on next Monday.

Or maybe I've seen too many Sharks teams over the years to start screaming fire when a little pan of water will do the trick.

Because regardless of what happened Tuesday, or what even happens tonight, the Sharks are making it to the Big Dance come April and that's when the gloves come off and crazy things happen.

Clearly this hockey club needs a win, and clearly something needs to happen to get them there. But don't come telling me the sky is falling when all that's there is just some wicked rough rain. Technically you'll be right-- something is in fact falling from the sky-- but you've labelled the darn thing a travesty when it's nothing but a mere blip on the radar.

At any rate, in accordance with the Trade Deadline scriptures, today's gameday is deserving of a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs Mikhail Grabovski, a player who has been mentioned in trade rumors for the better part of this month. The previous asking price for Grabovski was allegedly a second round pick and a prospect, with the potential for that to be re-upped to a first round pick considering this is a seller's market.

A bargain for sure (and one I have a feeling the Leafs wouldn't be too keen on receiving), but worth a look considering this is in fact deadline season and he's a relevant player considering he'll be suiting up opposite of San Jose tonight.

At the age of 28 years old Grabovski is just coming into his prime. Fresh off a 29 goal year last season (and on pace for about 25 or so this year), Grabovski is a player who immediately jumps out at you as a worthwhile addition onto the roster considering he fulfills a lot of the Sharks needs. He's a good skater who can help put pressure on defensemen in transition, knows his way around the net, and has some good hands in the passing game as well.

His underlying numbers speak to that in more ways than one. Relative CORSI, which measures shots directed towards the net in comparison to teammates, is a place where Grabovski absolutely shines. He's been first on the Leafs during the last three seasons while playing in various situations, which means he has pushed the play in the right direction for just about 200 games now. That is an excellent indicator of just what kind of possession time you are able to get out of him, and marks that should make him an instant sell for any Sharks fan looking to round out the team's forward depth.

By no means should Grabovski be considered a defensive specialist, but his ability to keep play in the offensive zone and deliver quality play in his own end should make him a sufficient addition from a defensive standpoint as well.

Grabovski will be a UFA this upcoming offseason and will likely be looking for multi-year deal in the $4.5 MM range. That probably moves him out of San Jose's price range unless another piece gets jettisoned before July 1st, but I'm not sure it matters-- with the window for contention in the here and now, adding a player of Grabovski's stature would essentially fix the holes San Jose currently has amongst their forwards.

The complications here are many however-- with Toronto in a rare playoff run, jettisoning one of your best forwards due to next year's salary complications would be a tough sell in both the locker room as well as in the management office. San Jose could do their part by beating the Leafs tonight, but even a Toronto slide going into Monday might not be enough to tilt the scales towards moving Grabovski.

I think it's unlikely this actually happens (said the same thing about Nash and look where we're at!) but it's something that should be considered as you furiously hit the refresh button on Twitter the rest of this week.

Prediction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by Pavelski, McGinn, and Pavelski again for good measure.