I'll admit, I got a bit nervous as we moved toward the trade deadline, and Jerome Iginla was sitting there like low-hanging fruit, and just the kind the Sharks have enjoyed biting into in the past.
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It's hard not to notice how disproportionately San Jose has been used (or used itself?) as a way station for players either just past their prime, or a bit further along – many of whom have been greats of the game, but all who were deemed “difference makers” coming in. And how many of them have been flops in the final analysis of their time in SJ.
I could make a larger list than this easily, but these players will illustrate my point: Guerin, Campbell, Blake, Lemieux, Moen, Heatley, Nichol, Wallin, Niemi, Havlat, Selanne, and now Boedker.
Some of these like Campbell and Moen continued on after the Sharks and have fared better both before and after, and some were truly on the tail end of their careers.
Now, I’ll grant that there have been exceptions: Ward and Martin continue to contribute in important ways; Damphousse was arguably an exception, and J.R. could be squeeze into that category. But most have not worked out in SJ.
I fail to see this pattern in other organizations, and so I wonder: is their a perception out there in the league, or among players – unspoken or otherwise – that SJ is a good place to land a contract without demanding as much as other franchises, with greater tolerance of mediocrity, with less attention or pressure on underperformers?
And if so, have we at last broken ourselves of that habit? Was it something that specifically came to DW's attention?
Whatever the case, I breathed two sighs of relief -- one for Iginla's signing in L.A., and one for Jannik Hansen's in SJ.
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