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Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be compared to Miikka Kiprusoff because the San Jose Sharks traded the goalie for a second-round pick they used to select the defenceman.
At first glance, the Calgary Flames would appear to have won that trade. However, after his first partial season in Saskatchewan that culminated in a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, he has not gotten out of the first round. His career is coming to an end, while the Sharks can still view Pickles as part of their core.
Moreover, he would never have been a starter in San Jose.
The Sharks have had better goalies who have usually made less money in that time. Evgeni Nabokov and Antti Niemi have better stats in almost every season than Kipper and much more playoff success. Even Vesa Toskala had a better playoff record and was sought by the Toronto Maple Leafs as a starting goalie.
Meanwhile, Pickles has been plugging along, munching minutes and forcing players wide to disrupt the attack. At 25, he still has the potential of being a true No. 2 defenceman and will almost certainly be a top-four defenceman into the next decade.
Those facts along with his mild cap hit of $3.1 million next season may make him desirable enough to be a trade option. But on a team that lacks core players under 30, the Sharks will need to make a decision to either re-sign him or trade him before next year's deadline when he might fetch the biggest return.