If you have followed any of my online posts in Cam Gore's blogs you will know that I have been very outspoken about the moves that the Sharks have made this off-season. More to the point I have been very disappointed with our off-season so far.
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While I will say that I like Brent Burns a lot, I still cannot believe that it took essentially Three first round picks to acquire him. But with that being said Burns is still a major improvement over the days of Kent Huskins and Nicolas Wallin. Adding Colin White helps the defense a little bit, but I think Doug Wilson could have done much better.
Take for example Mike Commodore a player that was signed for the same amount that White was. Commodore is a big physical player with more offensive upside then White and who is also two years younger. But the biggest miss this off season might have been Wilson not going after a young upcoming defense man named Cody Franson.
My biggest complaint with the Sharks General Manager is his inability to use free agency effectively. Just look the 49ers of the 80s when Bill Walsh was in charge. One thing Walsh was really good at, was bring in younger players while phasing out veterans who were getting older. Wilson does exactly the opposite. Wilson would rather keep or sign the older veteran player then go after an up and coming younger player. And this also applies to the draft, where Walsh almost always acquired extra draft picks to build for the future while keeping the present team strong. Wilson instead relies about 90% of the time on trades.
Too me trades should be the last route a GM takes to improve a team, because you not only take chances making trades but you trade away asessts to get those players.
Wilson seldom if ever goes the free agent route and when he does it is for players such as Michael Handzus, and the Andrew Murray's of the world. Just looking the last few year we have seen the likes of Alexei Semenov, Claude Lemiuex, Jay Leach, Jed Ortmeyer, , Jamal Mayers, Kent Huskins, Nick Wallin and Antero Niittymaki to name just a few players. Not one of these players is or was a difference maker come playoff time. Yet Wilson has stated almost every off season that the team needs more grit and "sandpaper" to go futher in the playoffs. He then signs more bottom of the tier past their prime type of players. We often hear Wilson and other state that free agents are overpaid, or that their prices are too high. Yet we see players like Commodore, Matt Gilroy, Nick Bergfors, Eric Belganer all signing reasonable contracts around 1 million or so. We see Kyle Wellwood still unsigned yet Andrew Murray is signed it really blows me away how ineffective Wilson is using Free Agency, and the draft. Even a player such as Chris Campoli is still out there as a free agent. Much younger then White and about the same overall price range. With 4 million left in salary cap space the Sharks right now have a disaster on the 3rd and 4th lines. Your 3rd line usually plays against the opponents top line espeically in the playoffs yet our 3rd line is made up of Handzus, Mitchell and McGinn, not exactly a Stanley Cup winning combo. And the 4th line is even worse. My only hope is that Wilson wakes up and actually signs someone left as a free agent, instead of trading away two players and thus creating more holes in the lineup.
Yes the team has been successful winning record wise since 2003, however the same thing can be said of the 1990 St. Louis Blues the only team of the 90s to appear in the playoffs every single season, yet they won 0 cups. Now how many people remember that team? And that is another point, what will history say about the Sharks from 2003-2011?
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