San Jose Sharks Sign Kyle Wellwood, Acquire Ben Eager

MJ Kasprzak@BayAreaCheezhedSenior Writer IIJanuary 18, 2011

Ben Eager should add more toughness to the San Jose Sharks
Ben Eager should add more toughness to the San Jose SharksHarry How/Getty Images

After Patrick Marleau reached his 1000th game, he was rewarded with some new teammates.

The San Jose Sharks appear to have conceded that they lack the talent necessary to be a contender in the deep Western Conference, where 2.5 games separate the eighth-best (i.e. last playoff) team from the 14th-best (i.e. second-worst).

San Jose has picked up Kyle Wellwood on waivers. Wellwood, 27, played in the Kontinental Hockey League of Russia this season before being let go, having scored just eight points in 25 games.

However, he had 25 points in 75 games last season for the Vancouver Canucks and has 160 points in 338 games in his NHL career.

Wellwood should add a little secondary scoring to a team that scored just six goals during a recent five-game losing streak. San Jose's scoring is down about a quarter of a goal a game from last season.

The Sharks also traded away a fifth-round pick to get tough guy Ben Eager from the Atlanta Thrashers. Eager, 26, has 10 points and 77 penalty minutes in 34 games so far this season. Over his career, he has played in 289 games and recorded 62 points and 698 PIM; in last year's Stanley Cup championship playoff run, he registered three points and 20 PIM in 18 games.

Eager will help the Sharks with their transition from the skating team they have always been to a grinding, physical team their personnel best fits now. Despite being bigger than almost any team in the league, the Sharks routinely get outhit by wide margins, such as Monday's 27-16 count.

San Jose also activated forward John McCarthy from injured reserve. To make room for the additions, defenceman Justin Braun and forwards Andrew Desjardins and Brandon Mashinter were sent down to the team's AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks.

The move of Braun is a bit curious considering his points per game (nine in 15 with an even rating) are higher than anyone but Dan Boyle on the blue line, and Derek Joslin (four in 15 with a minus-two rating) was an option. But Mashinter added only physical presence unnecessary with the addition of Eager, and Desjardins had only three NHL games of experience.

The Sharks travel next to Vancouver to take on Wellwood's former teammates Thursday.

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