As the trade deadline nears, the San Jose Sharks will be looking at just one thing to upgrade; their defense.
Their defensemen have been up and down this year, with Dan Boyle being the only consistent one with eight goals and 32 points. Jason Demers has two goals and 15 points, but he was just sent down to the Stockton Thunder. Beyond that, you have to look a long way down the stat sheet for the next best defensemen. Douglas Murray has three goals and 10 points and leads the team in hits. Rob Blake and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each have two goals, with Blake notching 11 points and Vlasic scoring 10 points.
Besides Demers, these are your other top three defensemen: Kent Huskins, Jay Leach, and Derek Joslin round up the pack.
Look, Boyle can't do it all by himself, especially on the power play. Murray is a very stable defensemen, but he won't really be much of a factor on the man advantage. Blake, in my opinion, is over-aged, and his slap shot is no longer what it was in his hey day. Vlasic is still learning the NHL, and he is improving steadily, but that won't help the Sharks right now.
So who should the Sharks go after? A veteran defensemen whose salary won't blow up their wallet. Kim Johnsson of the Minnesota Wild fits that category perfectly. He brings a strong defensive presence and top end transition game. Just think about it; Boyle and Johnsson on the power play, with Johnson being able to move the puck around and Boyle creating opportunities. As what the Sharks would give for him, two of the young guys in the minors right now (Vesce, Couture, or Ferriero) should be sufficient. Other targets may include Steve Staios of Edmonton, Marek Zidlicky of Minnesota, and Sammy Salo of Vancouver.
I truly believe that the Sharks will win the Stanley Cup this year, but only if they make the right move. Getting a proven, veteran defensemen at the trade deadline will sufficiently boost up their chance of getting hockey's greatest honor.