Wilson, as usual, was extremely active, shedding the dead weight of Douglas Murray and Ryane Clowe and promoting a team playing fast-paced hockey with a new confidence on the ice.
The jury is still out on the moves, though. The acquisition of Raffi Torres has many scratching their heads, but he will bring a toughness and tenacity to a team that saw Murray and Clowe depart without a physical presence in return.
Wilson did exactly what he said he would do—“refresh” not “rebuild.”
The Sharks now have a slew of picks in a 2013 draft that many are calling a very talented year for prospects. San Jose will have four picks in the first two rounds of the 2013 NHL draft.
Defenseman Douglas Murray was slowly becoming a liability on the ice. With the NHL becoming a faster-paced game, the Sharks needed to react. They did that by trading Murray, arguably the largest dead weight the team had on its roster, and promoting young legs to produce.
With the excess of defensemen in the Sharks’ system at the moment, the trade has not affected the team in any drastic way. It enabled Matt Irwin to take on a more effective role with San Jose, and will now open the door for others (most recently Matt Tennyson) to showcase their abilities at the next level.
General manager Doug Wilson turned Murray for second-round picks in 2013 and 2014, as the team builds toward the future, while attempting to remain competitive.
Ever since the acquisition of Scott Gomez, it seemed like the Sharks had given up on Handzus. The new Blackhawk was a healthy scratch in the few games before he was traded on Monday and paving the way for the club to grow together, knowing that Handzus’ time in San Jose was coming to an end.
Handzus did not return any productive draft picks, but the fact he is no longer on the roster gives the young legs a chance to produce on a nightly basis, as the team grows into a unit centered on speed and relentlessness on offense.
The move to trade Clowe at the trade deadline was inevitable for the Sharks. Clowe’s growing need for a multi-year contract was out of the question for San Jose, given his 2013 campaign so far (zero goals). With his impending free agency at the end of the season, his time in San Jose came to an end.
Wilson, alone, won this trade. Clowe, who has yet to score a goal this season for the Sharks, was turned for a second- and third-round pick in 2013, a draft class that is expected to be one of the best in years.
Of course, Clowe scored two goals and added an assist in his Rangers debut on Wednesday night, but Clowe—like Murray—was a growing liability on the ice for the Sharks and became expendable when the team decided to “refresh” and figure out which players were going to be a part of their future and which were not.
Clowe, evidently, was not.
Scott Hannan will make his return to San Jose on Friday when the Sharks play the Calgary Flames at HP Pavilion.
It seemed as though Wilson had his mind set on moving forward with a younger team until the Sharks went on a five-game winning streak. In that case, San Jose needed a veteran presence and physical play on the ice to replace Murray and Clowe.
Hannan becomes both the veteran and physical presence as he makes his return to the same team that drafted him in 1997.
If there is a player that can get booed in his first game with a new team, it is Raffi Torres with the Sharks at HP Pavilion on Friday night.
Torres’ reputation around the league is awful, and even worse amongst the Sharks franchise, after notably targeting both Milan Michalek and Joe Thornton in past seasons. Only the Sharks’ current roster knows how they will react to Torres entering their locker room on a daily basis.
What Torres will bring to the ice is gritty and determined hockey, and that is what the Sharks need during the playoffs. Torres has that playoff experience, and with the Sharks getting younger with the recent trades, experience is key.
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