San Jose Sharks: Off-Season Time

Anthony CasaleCorrespondent IMay 22, 2008

As the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings get geared up to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, there are 28 teams sitting at home, watching and waiting for it to end so they can get their chance to compete for the Cup. 

General Managers are pondering offseason moves that would help their teams compete that fall within the team’s salary restrictions. 

With that in mind, there are players and coaches who are looking for new contracts or jobs.  Players who want to improve on their play of last season. 

It’s not just the teams that have a list of wants for their favorite team next season.  The knowledgeable fans will always have input.  Below is a wish list of particular wants from this Sharks Fan.

1.  A new coach

Ok, so that seems a bit foolish to mention. 

They obviously need a coach, but the question lies with who is the right man to pursue for that job at stake?  As GM Doug Wilson said in the “State of the Sharks”, there are more than 40 candidates out there they are considering.  There are a slew of different opinions on this subject, which in turn, makes it extremely interesting.

My opinion on who should be the Sharks' coach is, arguably, the number one prospect.

Pat Burns.

The disappointments from the Sharks obviously come in the playoffs.  This, in essence, means if you do not want to be disappointed you need a playoff tested coach. 

Pat Burns fits. He won the Cup in 2003. 

Although the team is based on speed and offense, I believe the team needs to work on playing some defense in the defensive zone and not giving up easy chances. 

Pat Burns fits. 

It seems like these guys need a motivation to play (which I don’t think should be an issue among players) but, they say it themselves.  Jonathan Cheechoo mentioned in the conference that he wants a guy to challenge them.  You are going to need a guy that will ignite a little fire in the team. 

Pat Burns fits.

2.  A good Free Agent signing

I say “good” free agent signing because you can have a good signing without signing that big name. 

I believe the three potential needs on this team are a two way forward, a forward that will hit you and a defense minded defenseman.

I’ve looked long and hard (that’s what she said) at the candidates that filled the hitting forward.  To be honest I couldn’t find one that would either leave their current team, was young enough for my liking, or cheap enough.

There are plenty of two way forwards I think would fit.  Yeah, you could go for the “big” signing of a Dany Heatley, but I’m more a “smart with the money” type of guy. 

A smart free agent signing in my mind would be a guy from Phoenix in, Radim Vrbata.  The guy is young, talented and has a +/- of +6.  He had 27 goals and 29 assists to go along with that +/- rating.  He produced with a team that is struggling and is relatively cheap. 

A defenseman was tough to find also especially because I like to be smart with the money.  I found one good defensive minded defenseman not worth that boat load of money, Jan Hejda from the Columbus Blue Jackets.  He had no goals and 13 assists but still managed to be a +20. 

Of course you could go for the “big” free agent signing but, as long as they resign Campbell and with a group of young, up and coming defenseman, would it really be worth it?

3.  Keep the cap space room

I hear a great deal of talk surrounding the cap space and how the team isn’t using it all.  They say that like it is a horrible thing. 

If the team was in the bottom of the division and not making the playoffs, I would undoubtedly agree. The thing is, this team makes the playoffs and in the previous season, won the division. 

What is the big deal with keeping some money and still having a competitive team?  With having cap room during the season you can address your needs at the deadline much easier.  The Sharks “farm system” (I’m a big baseball guy) is polluted with talent.  That will always save cap with bringing up young guys. 

I think keeping the cap room is a fantastic idea and Doug Wilson is tremendously smart guy sticking to his guns.

4.  A Third Jersey

After much of the business talk I had to throw in a curve ball (again baseball guy here). 

Is it just me or does anyone want that slick black jersey back?  I have always wanted a jersey and now that I have the money to do so I want one.  Unfortunately, I have always wanted a black one and what to they do?  Take it away, what a catastrophe. 

Anyway, there was talk at the conference about the “alternate” jersey and they say it will be black.  I don’t know about anyone else but, I am pumped!

5.  Skating lesson for Pavelski and Cheechoo

I don’t know if this seemed like an illusion, but it seemed as if Pavelski and Cheechoo could not stay on their skates. 

I know of a few times—especially in the playoffs—where it cost them a few goals.  I wouldn’t mind seeing them work on that during the long off-season. 

If figure skating lessons are the answer, by all means sign them up. 

These are my beliefs in what I think would be a productive and efficient off-season.  Only time will tell if Doug Wilson is on the same page or on the other side of the spectrum.

Whatever the case I hope he does a good job of handling the money and bringing this team closer to the cup next year.  I have the upmost confidence in the guy.