Sharks Progress – What it Means

My apologies for the extended period between posts; it’s been hard to keep up on everything with the long drive and settling in here. But today marks another big trade in which the Sharks parted with Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich in return for Daniel Rahimi and Patrick White. Now I must confess that I assumed Cheechoo was departing after reading Pollak’s morning blog, and was very surprised to see Ehrhoff going.

This is definitely an interesting move, in that it not only leaves holes on defense, but also sends away one of the more promising offensive defensemen on the roster. The only way to interpret this deal (in which it is beneficial) is that another move must be pending. With this trade the Sharks have just cleared roughly $4.6 Million in cap space (depending on whether Rahimi is actually on the roster and this isn’t just an error). The only way to interpret this is that something big should be coming, which was affirmed by DW himself: the trade “creates some flexibility in our team payroll for potential future transactions as the season progresses and adds two more talented players to our reserve list that can help this organization in the future.”

But the worrisome thing is that there has been no real progress. The Sharks are still linked to Heatley and Kessel (although both have recently been rumored as in discussions with the Rangers). Someone out there still wants Cheechoo (Islanders). There are still abundant rumors about Marleau’s NTC, and whether he has agreed or refused to waive it. Despite that detail, he has been ‘linked’ to at least five teams by various outlets, including Los Angeles (Frolov), Boston, New Jersey and pretty much every team in Canada.

The question still remains: What are the Sharks planning on doing? There are only two scenarios that make sense. The first is a free agent signing in the near future, seeing as DW just gave up very tradable talent for cap space. The second possibility is that this move allows the Sharks to take back more cap than they give in a trade. Simply said, the cap space is the reason the Sharks and so many other organizations are struggling to assemble a complete roster; very few teams are willing to make a trade (similar to the most recent by San Jose) that results in any loss of talent (for none in return) and cap space. GMs around the league are looking to alleviate their cap strains without sacrificing performance, meaning that they are looking to trade with teams with strong rosters, most of which are in similar cap situations. With the new $4.6 million, the Sharks have enough room to take on more cap than they release, allowing for other trades and possibilities to open up (and finally an end to all of the ridiculous three-way trade rumors).

However, whether you believe this is a good move or not, it is apparent that something must happen. Despite being a positive fan, I cannot overlook the facts. So far, the Sharks have given up talent in Grier, Goc, Moen, Plihal, Boucher, and Semenov. Now add to this list the Retirees Lemieux and Roenick, and now Lukowich and Ehrhoff. That is a long list of departures all for Nichol, Ortmeyer, and some prospects. I am not saying that this is the end of a successful program. But that is a lot of talent departing with very little coming in, little to none of which can be refilled by the dry prospect pool.

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~ by mitchsolomon on August 28, 2009.

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