Following a healthy scratch in the Sharks’ 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers, Antti Suomela rejoined the Sharks’ lineup in Tuesday’s regulation win against Minnesota. However, when he returned, he was centring San Jose’s fourth line— a demotion to make room for Joe Thornton’s official debut as the third line centre. Suomela spent the game flanked by Rourke Chartier and Melker Karlsson, to which my reaction was one of gritted teeth.
There’s no way to beat around the bush on this one. The San Jose Sharks’ penalty killing units have scored more goals than the power play. It’s baffling, but given the way they’ve played, not completely surprising.
In what seems to be a continued narrative from the preseason, San Jose dominated possession for much of Wednesday night’s home opener against the Anaheim ducks, but failed to put the puck in the net and lost the game 5-2 as a result.
We know the basics about recent Sharks addition Antti Suomela. He lead last year’s Liiga in scoring with JYP Jyväskylä, but after San Jose beat numerous other teams to sign this undrafted free agent, what exactly can he contribute to the squad?
Months of speculation have boiled down into the Erik Karlsson move to San Jose, and now it’s over. Ottawa got back a disappointing jumble of mediocrity, and Doug Wilson looks like a God. All that’s left is to speculate what the San Jose Sharks will look like, and be able to complete, in the 2018-19 season. With this in mind, I take a look at what’s ahead.
The bait that San Jose have been throwing at big name trade candidates and free agents has finally caught, and the Sharks have netted two time Norris award winner Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.
The return is forward Chris Tierney, defenseman Dylan DeMelo, prospects Josh Norris (F) and Rudolfs Balcers (F), a 2020 first, 2019 second and two conditional picks.
It is also reported that Ottawa forward prospect Perron will also come to San Jose.
Karlsson is coming off a season plagued by a lingering ankle injury, but didn’t miss significant time in order to rehab it, some are arguing it was a down season for him, but others argue that he remained constant as the team around him got progressively worse. Whichever side you argue, there’s no denying the season limped along in Ottawa.
San Jose failed to land prominent free agent John Tavares early in the summer, but made the final shortlist of teams before Tavares eventually signed for $11 million over 7 years in his home city of Toronto.
It’s hard to complain about what San Jose are sending back to Ottawa, when the return is Erik Karlsson, generational defenseman.
Tierney is a third line ceiling centre and DeMelo a bottom pairing defenseman. Josh Norris is a prospect with a 2C cap and Balcers, despite being the prospect I was most excited about, was realistically a second line winger.
The conditions on the two other picks are looking like protection against San Jose flipping Karlsson to the Eastern Conference (as they did with Mike Hoffman), in which case they will get an additional first no later than 2022, and the other on him resigning in San Jose (a 2021 second which becomes a first if the Sharks reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals).
Feature image credit: NHL.COM
Liam Kirk will be attending the Arizona Coyotes rookie training camp this month, also representing the Coyotes at a rookie tournament in Las Vegas.
Kirk, who was a seventh round pick of the Coyotes in this summers draft, will fly out to Las Vegas for a three-day tournament against the prospects of the Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche.