According to TSN reports, the San Jose Sharks have traded veteran tough guy Jody Shelley to the New York Rangers in exchange for a sixth round draft choice. The pick could become a fifth rounder if the Rangers resign Shelley, who will be a unrestricted free agent after the season.
What does this mean for team teal? Well, with Shelley's 725K contract coming off the books, a bit of extra cap room will be an added bonus. More importantly, this shows a willingness on the part of GM Doug Wilson to get younger.
At 34-years-old, Shelley wasn't able to keep up with faster and leaner opponents, and his limited ice time would force other lines to pickup the slack.
But with him out of the picture, 22-year-old rookie Frazer McLaren can get back into the lineup and prepare for the stretch run.
The 6'4" 225 pound rookie has contributed a goal and five assists in 23 games with a plus/minus rating of plus-six. In comparison, the 6'3" 225 pound Shelley had no goals and three assists in 36 games with a plus/minus rating of plus-one.
Unlike Shelley, McLaren can play a more consistent role and allows Sharks' head coach Todd McLellan to roll his fourth line more often than with Shelley in the lineup. Why? Because McLaren isn't your prototypical "goon."
The 22-year-old has showed impressive speed for a big man, can play strong along the boards similar to Ryane Clowe, and has an immense amount of offensive potential.
Even if McLaren were only to play on the fourth line for an entire season, a full year out of him could bring 15-20 points to the table. Where as Shelley has only reached a single-season double-digit point total one time in his eight year career.
Wilson clearly understood he had a player in McLaren who could drop the gloves with the heavyweights (the only thing Shelley brought to the table), but also a player who could contribute much more secondary scoring.
With Shelley now in New York, the probable fourth line for San Jose (when healthy) will feature McLaren alongside Torrey Mitchell and Brad Staubitz, with Jamie McGinn on the outside looking in.
In any given playoff game, the Sharks will have the opportunity to go big on their fourth line with both McLaren and Staubitz in the lineup, or they can choose to go with offense and insert Jamie McGinn.
Either way, the Sharks now have a much clearer plan for the fourth line heading into the postseason.
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