Sharks Sign Greiss and Karlsson

UPDATE: Apparently Greiss was signed at a bargain. According to Capgeek he is now under a two-way contract making $550,000 per year for two years.

The Sharks signed a couple of goalies today. With the return of Greiss I can’t help but believe the Halak rumors will be coming to an end. His two year deal solidifies his backup role for the next two years (when he will either be replaced by one of the many goalie prospects in the system or actually prove himself as a starter).

The Sharks also made a surprise move in signing goalie Henrik Karlsson. He has been looked at by Shark’s scout Shin Larsson for a while now, and there was an unconvincing rumor that both the Stars and Sharks were interested. Due to his lack of experience at higher levels (25 and just cracking SEL rosters may not be a good sign) any analysis of his stats would be premature. However, at a towering 6’6”, he has an extremely large frame (resembling that of Luongo) and has shown strong positional awareness. His main criticisms have been concerned with his stick handling and rebound control (sounds reminiscent of a second stringer). It currently appears as if he will likely play his next season in the SEL to further develop before making the transition stateside.

If he does happen to play in the Sharks organization this coming season, then his signing could represent an entirely different purpose. San Jose’s goalie prospects in Worcester have not only received criticism from their teammates (see Sexsmith), but reports of their progress and potential have been very mixed. Some have called Sexsmith and Stalock potential journeymen number ones, and others have pegged them as undesirable backups. Karlsson playing in Worcester could light the necessary flame of competition under the three, as the loser would be assigned to the ECHL, and miss out on the opportunity to move up once Nabakov’s contract is up next offseason.

Essentially, Karlsson represents a huge, young and unproven goaltender who has managed to generate buzz throughout the NHL. Sound familiar? I can’t help but think his signing is the Gustavvson consolation prize. I guess the worst case scenario is we give him D-man pads, a real stick, and a league minimum salary and let the 6’6” monster on the ice for two minutes a game to replace Murray as a cheaper enforcer.


~ by mitchsolomon on August 12, 2009.

12 Responses to “Sharks Sign Greiss and Karlsson”

  1. Stalock has never been called undesirable in anything I have seen. He has been called undersized. I doubt that he will progress to more than a backup role on the NHL level, but he might be very good at that role. It has a long way to play out. He has exceeded expectations at all levels. He reminds me a lot of Elliot who will likely get his chance this year with Ottawa.

  2. Good point. Bad phrasing on my part. I intended undesirable to refer to the lack of either one as an ideal candidate. He has obviously preformed well in the USHL, but his size and position play (the one skill criticism I have heard) leave something to be desired (hopefully the latter will come with higher-level play. Thanks Easy.

    And while we’re on the subject, have you heard anything about his rebound control? Can’t really find anything (so I assume it’s not a negative factor).

  3. The comment was about Elliot being an example. In NCAA, the forwards aren’t quite as quick so going out of position doesn’t carry quite the penalty that it does in the AHL or NHL. I did not hear any negatives on Stalock’s rebound control, just positioning. It is probably overreacting to cross ice passes. Elliot took Wisconsin to a national title along with Pavelski. Stalock had UMD playing way over their heads in securing a birth in the final 16. UMD doesn’t have the recruiting of their conference rivals, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Denver, North Dakota, et al. If they make it to the 16, it is because of one or two outstanding players and in this case it was Stalock. When Wisconsin won the NCAA, it was Pavelski, Gilbert and Elliot. To give the recruiting difference for Wisconsin, they also had marginal NHLers in Earl, Skille, Dowell and Burish.

  4. Forgot to add on Stalock’s team, there was only one other player who was drafted.

  5. So then when do you think Stalock will be ready for a roster spot and league minimum salary? Regardless, he might have just lost his chance now that we have a solid, large Karlsson on the roster. Especially with Greiss signing a two year contract near league minimum. And what do you think DW’s strategy will be this year? Will Greiss get more than twenty starts? His signing hints that he believes that he is in contention for a starting job/splitting time scenario over the next two years, and after those two might be looking for starter money.

    And how do you think Elliot will play this year? Just another low playing time player? Or do you think he has Pavelski potential and could blow them away?

  6. Elliot will be battling LeClaire for the #1 spot in Ottawa. Elliot played well at the end of last season.

    My take is that Stalock is way ahead of Karlsson. Karlsson is a huge longshot to get past the AHL. Karlsson is anything but solid. My guess is that Stalock has two years of AHL development time before the clock starts ticking on proving his ability as a backup. We won’t even get an idea on Karlsson this year as he will be in the SEL. No goalie comes to the NHL straight out of Europe. He would spend at least a year in the AHL before getting NHL time. Rink sizes make a difference. The other goalie on the horizon is Sateri who will be starting in Finland this year. He has a much better chance than Karlsson and may be #1 material. I think the move for Karlsson was much more a statement about Sexsmith than anything else.

  7. I agree that Karlsson was signed to make a statement and start some goalie competition in the minors. But I can’t help but think that he needs to be capable and show a lot of potential (his size sure doesn’t hurt). We should have some idea about Karlsson’s potential by mid season, and who knows, he could be a diamond.

    Sateri, right now, is the obvious one to watch. But there are many concerns. He has loads of potential, but there has been talk as to whether that will translate well into NHL success. Even Hockey Futures notes this with his D rating:

    “Unlikely to reach potential, could drop 3 ratings – a player who has a chance to reach his potential but is unlikely to do so. The potential rating is multiplied by 70 percent for depth chart purposes, indicating that the player’s potential is extremely fluid.”

    I hope to see him one day assume the role as the Shark’s next franchise goalie. But it is far from guaranteed, which is what the organization really does need at the moment. It’s been a while since the organization has found itself nearing the end of one goalie’s tenure without a clear replacement in mind (and to think Greiss could fit that role is absurd until he gets more time on the ice).

  8. hockeysfuture doesn’t really travel to Finland. They catch Sateri in international tourneys. The one thing about Finland is that they have some of the best goalie coaches in the world. hockeysfuture isn’t even good with goalies in North America as they had Dakers ahead of Greiss in middle of last season. Anyone watching would have known that Dakers was hanging onto the org by his fingernails and that was confirmed when the Sharks let him leave without even an offer.

    Greiss is likely a #1 or a bust. His previous record is great when starting extended strings of games. He fails when he is spot started. If he were given what Boucher got last season, he might have looked good. He doesn’t look good when coming off a long layoff which is the only way the Sharks have used him in the NHL.

    The Sharks biggest issue is to find a quality goalie coach. Schwab is in a probationary period in Woostah; he might be the guy. Thomas is not it and Raeder only did it part time in addition to other scouting duties. Raeder is no longer with the Sharks.

    Everyone gets hot on the latest signee/draftee. I try to avoid those reports and look at performance over the long haul. I was questioning Sexsmith as far back as two years ago.

  9. I guess that’ll teach you to not believe what you read online (as if Eklund hasn’t :-P). Still, various scouting reports are the best I can manage (can’t exactly fly to Finland myself). Do you believe Greiss can lead this team? Or a team? Could he realistically start 60+ games a season and win the majority of them? I ask you because I honestly don’t know aside from his notable performance in the minors and his brief play time last year (which I guess exemplify what you said about his consistency).

    And I agree that the Goalie coach is a necessity, and it is pretty clear seeing as every goalie at every level in the organization is under some scrutiny.

    So other than Sateri, who should be the players to focus on this coming season. Guys who might be team leaders when their time comes?

  10. On the minor league guys who may show up, I figure that Moore and Petrecki may eventually become leader types. I do not trust Couture at all despite all the rosy predictions on his leadership. He comes from the 67s which had a strong history until the 90s. From what I can see of the NHL careers of the more recent 67s, leadership is not a quality that I would apply to them. It is term that is too loosely thrown around in the hockey world and is frequently a substitute for scoring rather than effect upon the team. If Ortmeyer gets his health back, he is a good 4th liner with leadership qualities, an energizer bunny type motor. Vesce is good in that regard as well, far exceeding everybody’s expectations by being a good all around player rather than just a small offensive dynamo.

    Greiss’ history shows that he can go on a streak for about two months at a time before burning out. That sounds short, but recent cup history shows that goalies who are overplayed in the regular season tend to burn out in the playoffs. IMO, the Sharks would do well to break new ground by giving their starter, whoever it is, two weeks rest at a time. That has seemed to work for Greiss and Nabby was at his best last season when he had just returned from time off for injury. Even the hockey people get hung up on the #1 designation and tend to think it is an affront to give those “#1’s” more than one game off at a time. For Greiss it works in reverse, he needs two or three games to get rhythm before he goes on a run. For either of them 50-55 games reg season is probably ideal if they want whoever is “#1” to do the playoffs. For both of them, it is probably better to give them time off in long stretches.

  11. I agree almost completely. I do think Couture, although not a leader, could grow to a solid second line forward. In regards to your analysis on the 67’s, I agree that they have not lived up to some of their expectations. But it is essential to realize his role on that team. He led all of their rookies in goals at 25, assists at 39, and thus total points (64). He didn’t quit in the playoffs either, racking up seven points in six games. He has shown (in the lower leagues at least) strong play on both ends and is yet to falter in heart and commitment (something you see a lot during extended stays in the minors, especially when faced with lots of criticism). He would undoubtedly be an offensive asset to the Sharks’ lower lines in his early career, and from what I can tell would settle nicely into a top line with more experience. I do not know much about Moore, but I agree that Petrecki shows a lot of promise (and could really add some physicality to the roster). I really like what I have seen from Vesce (especially his speed) and I think he should move up during the next two years to get some RW experience on the lower lines. I absolutely agree with your goalie analysis (assuming Greiss is capable of conforming his game to the NHL), but as a starter he still worries me (I know going by what I saw last year may be illogical, but there were undoubtedly shortcomings that need to be addressed). Now to ask about the rest: McGinn, Joslin and Demers. When do you think they (or any of the above) will be ready? And how much can they really contribute? Will any of them live up to potential?

  12. Joslin seemed to go back to Woostah and sulk after his stay in SJ. he fell off the map.

    Little Demers is a lost cause for SJ but may be a capable offensive dman for Woostah.

    Big Demers is an unknown, but he is way down the depth chart at this point.

    McGinn looks like a third line grinder with a bit more scoring touch than Moen. When asked, several knowledgeable posters at the Sharks board compared him to Foligno.

    Best leader out of the 67s since the mid 90s was McCauley.

    On Couture and scoring, the centers picked at his level don’t just do a PPG in the junior playoffs. They fall somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 PPG if they expect to be any kind of offensive force in the NHL. Couture may be an exception but his AHL playoff debut was less than impressive (3 pts in 12 games). Check Richards and Carter in Philly who came up out of junior to help the Phantoms in the AHL playoffs way back when.

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