Free agency is upon us and with it comes the dashed dreams of thousands who saw their favorite players move or decide to sign elsewhere. Defenseman A? He was THE GUY this team needed. Only missing piece. Without him, we crumble. Sign him and save the season. Don't and it will be over before it begins.
Inevitably, some signings blindside us with their seeming stupidity, but that's the fun of free agency. What dude can dupe a team into paying way too much for their services? What else can the Rangers possibles screw up. How many times can the Flames trade away and then resign the same set of guys? It's a spectacle of occasionally epicly stupid proportions.
The Sharks never fail to disappoint, in the sense that it doesn't seem to matter what DW does, it's never "the right move" for the organization. I, personally, have given up the hardcore doubting, and instead have moved on to just being generally confused by some of the choices the Sharks make each year. These guys know hockey much better than I do, so, I'm just going to let them run the team and let the pieces fall where they may. (at least until they do something amazingly stupid) I still have opinions though, and what is a blog for if not the biased opinions of a passionate fan? So here are my opinions on some of the moves/signings/non signings the Sharks have made so far this summer.
Because there's nothing like judging free agency a day and a half in.
Wallin (HAMBURGE!R): Of all the signings, this one boggles me the most. Much like Huskins last year, Wallin got a substantial raise despite not really showing us much in the way of contributions since we acquired him last season. 2.5 mil seems a little steep for a guy that really didn't contribute a whole lot this past season. The fact it's a one year dear is even more mind boggling. I don't understand this decision at all. I'm hoping it will make more sense once the season gets going.
On the upside I can still make HAMBURGER! jokes. (you have to say his nickname like Steve Martin did in those pink panther commercials.)
Patty: We needed to bring him back. No question. Not resigning Patty would have been a HUGE mistake in my opinion and I was very very very glad to see we decided to bring him back. If this man isn't a Shark for life, it will be a crime.
The Big JoePavelski: Hands down the odds on favorite for future captain (after whoever takes the C this season), Pavelski is an amazingly solid player who represents a bright spot in the Sharls future. He's amazing and we needed him back. So glad he got resigned.
Scott Nichol (NicholCity): This guy is pretty much everything the Sharks have needed for several season now. Tough, gritty, small, fast, sonofabitch who works his ass off and plays with an incredible passion every night. I love Scotty Nichol in teal. He's also very affordable at $760,000. Welcome back, Scotty!
Desjardins (Disorono): Likely to still be down with the boys in woostah, but I can make more "on the rocks" puns when he's on the ice, so, this is a net win.
Nittymaki (Tekka Maki or just Tekka): At 2 mil a year, this wasn't a terrible acquisition by DW. He stated they'd had their eyes on him for awhile, and the Sharks have a decent track record with finding talented players in people you might not expect. The upsides he provides are a willingness to work in a tandem and let Greiss see more ice time here in the Bigs. His season with the Lightning last season was also fairly solid and he does have success in his past. He's also very affordable. 4 million over 2 years is pretty good.
His downsides are that he's not exactly known for being a brick wall, which might cause issues with the current defensive corps the Sharks have. Also, this.
Not coming back
Nabby: When the season ended it was clear that one long time Shark would be on the move this summer. It was Nabby or Patty and most of us threw our lot in with Patty.
Nabby has been THE GUY in net for the past 10 years. He's a huge part of the Sharks, and while I'm going to miss him (and be really bitter if he gets signed by a division rival) it was time. It sucks, because I know from watching him he's still got a few good years left in net and when he's on he's a force. He's saved the Sharks bacon many time over the years and having that stalwart presence in another net will feel very very wrong. He was just too expensive though, and with cap constraints the way they are DW didn't really have much of a choice in letting him go. In order to sign Patty and JoePa AND have money left over for Seto, Nabby had to go.
I will feel better (or perhaps worse) about this once he signs with someone. Preferably in the East.
Malhotra: I am going to miss Manny a ton. Obviously Vancouver made him an offer he couldn't refuse, and coupled with his desire to summer there, it just made sense to move on. But we loved him and we'll miss him. He was great in teal.
Salary numbers provided by the wonderful folks over at CapGeek.com.