What does Winnipeg want for Patrik Laine?
While it’s considered a “longshot” that the Jets would trade a 22-year-old winger who’s scored 138 goals in his first four NHL seasons, insiders from Pierre LeBrun to Elliotte Friedman are taking the rumor seriously.
Per Friedman on Saturday, “I just think everybody’s looking at the situation and saying, what if our way to solve the problem is, can we use Patrik Laine to find a No. 2 center or a right-hand shot defenceman?”
The problem for the Peg? Laine will be an RFA after next year. Is he a player that you want to give franchise money to? Or should you trade him now and get maximum value?
Enter: The San Jose Sharks?
I caution that this is pure speculation on my part — we talked about it during this morning’s podcast at the 11-minute mark. There’s lots of Laine chatter out there, but I haven’t seen or heard San Jose talked about, while LeBrun offered up Columbus or Carolina as sensible destinations last Thursday.
But the Sharks actually have pieces that should appeal to the Jets.
Looking over Winnipeg, it appears that they want to win now but with reasonably-priced cost-certain players (doesn’t everybody). They’re loaded with a deep group of forwards in or around their primes and the incumbent Vezina Trophy winner. They could use support up the middle after Mark Scheifele and elite help on the blueline.
Meanwhile, in terms of pure talent — let’s take age and contract out of the equation for the moment — centers Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture, right-handed defensemen Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson should be appealing to the Jets.
Of course, age and especially cap hit can’t be ignored in the salary cap era. Are any of these contracts at all appealing?
|Age||Contract Years Remaining||Cap Hit|
Any reasonable offer for Laine would have to begin with Hertl, I think. Great contract, in his prime, and can play in any situation. And though he becomes a UFA just one year after Laine’s current deal expires, Hertl should come in at a lower number than Laine. Pure goal scorers, even those who are somewhat one-dimensional like Laine is, usually make more money than well-rounded forwards like Hertl.
So we can skip Couture to the back-end. Karlsson and Burns, of course, share the same problem: They’re 30-plus and have long, undesirable contracts. On the other hand, they also offer the same allure: They were absolutely world-class game-changers not that long ago.
We also have to note: Karlsson has a No Movement Clause, while Burns has a three-team Trade Clause, meaning there are three teams of his choice that the Sharks can trade him too. We’re obviously assuming that they would be open to a move to Manitoba. This is just a reminder that this is all speculation about a hypothetical.
Anyway, I’ve talked with scouts who believe Burns’s contract is more tradeable than Karlsson’s. So let’s add him to the package.
That said, Burns’s age and money remaining can’t be all that appealing. So is Hertl and Burns for Laine dead before take-off?
The San Jose Sharks have one more card to play in this hypothetical: They can offer to retain up to 50 percent of Burns’s salary and cap hit.
So let’s say the Sharks offer to retain 25 percent ($2 million cap hit) of Burns’s contract. That’s a five-year commitment in a who-knows-how-long flat cap era — it’s not to be taken lightly.
Hertl, Burns, and 25 percent of Burns’s contract retained for Laine — I actually think that makes Winnipeg better, at least for a couple years, but it doesn’t necessarily make San Jose better right now. On the other hand, it’s a dicey long-term play for the Jets unless Burns takes a page out of Zdeno Chara’s book and produces into 40.
That’s two good-to-great players out the door for one admittedly potential superstar sniper — that’s a lot for a San Jose Sharks squad which probably has too many holes in the line-up to create more. For the Jets, they can probably get a better offer, not necessarily in terms of talent, but younger players with more appealing contracts.
Rocky Thompson: “Leave analytics out of the locker room.”
George Kingston was the San Jose Sharks’ first head coach. Fast forward to 2015: He was the President of the NHL Coaches Association when he sent a fateful e-mail.
“George Kingston always sent out an e-mail asking for people who would want to present at the NHL’s coaches conference at the NHL entry draft,” San Jose Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson told Oilersnation earlier this week. “I felt I needed to get my name out there, so I called him and said I’d like to present.”
Thompson’s career was at a crossroads when he took the stage at the 2015 NHL Coaches Association Global Coaches’ Clinic in Florida. He was a coach without a team — the Edmonton Oilers had just fired his head coach Dallas Eakins — and he didn’t know if incoming head coach Todd McLellan would keep him.
There were over 400 coaches in attendance: “He blew them away.”
Windsor Spitfires owner Bob Boughner was one of them: “What he said really hit home with me.”
The Spitfires hired Thompson as head coach and he led them to the 2017 Memorial Cup. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights followed up, selecting Thompson to be their first-ever AHL head coach, and he led the Chicago Wolves to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals.
And now, the circle from Kingston to Boughner to San Jose is complete: Last month, the San Jose Sharks tapped Thompson to be part of the head coach’s staff. Thompson will be running the defense and the power play.
San Jose Hockey Now caught up with Thompson in a wide-ranging interview earlier this month.
Curious how the San Jose Sharks might maximize Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns’s talents? How Phil Jackson and the triangle offense will apply to the Sharks? As a coach, how to use analytics the right way?
Thompson, to say the least, loves nerding out about hockey.
USNTDP coach Nick Fohr on Bordeleau’s Hockey IQ, Chmelevski’s Skating, Labanc’s Confidence
It’s Thomas Bordeleau Week here at San Jose Hockey Now!
Today, Sheng Peng joined the podcast, and we really got into detail on Bordeleau with his former USA Hockey National Team Development Program coach Nick Fohr.
Bordeleau isn’t the first San Jose Sharks prospect that Fohr has coached — the current USNTDP Associate Coach has worked with Kevin Labanc, Scott Reedy, and Sasha Chmelevski.
Here’s a select transcription from this fun, informative interview — Fohr shares Bordeleau’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, discusses Chmelevski’s flawed-but- improving skating, and reveals what Labanc’s USNTDP teammates gave him a hard time about.
Nick Fohr, on Thomas Bordeleau’s greatest strength and weakness:
In Thomas’s case, he’s a very crafty, skilled forward that competes pretty hard. That was something he really improved on in the two years with us.
He really loves to rely on this skill.
He’s a cerebral player. He really takes in the game. He reads plays well up and down the ice sheet.
That being a strength of his, one of his weaknesses, he relies on his skill too much. That was something we talked with Thomas a lot: Although you are a skilled hockey player, you are not skilled enough to make it in the NHL on skill alone. You have to develop a little more bite, a little more aggressiveness. You gotta round your game out a little bit more defensively. Commit to those things and not rely on just being a skilled player. Those players don’t make it in the NHL anymore. They don’t. They used to. At least they don’t make it for a long, extended period of time.
Fohr, on Bordeleau’s hockey IQ:
If you ask a coach or a scout or a GM, what are your three most important things? People almost always throw hockey IQ at you.
For me, with Thomas, where you really see it, when you see the intelligence, when he gets the puck on his stick, his ability to manipulate the other team, manipulate the defender. For example, on the power play, when he has the puck on his tape, the way he postures the puck, the way he holds the puck on his stick, the way he postures his body, will tell one story to the defender, to get the defender to move. [That] opens up the play he really wants to make.
That’s a really, really, really hard skill. It takes a lot of hockey intelligence to do that, to understand the messages you’re sending to a defender. It’s a really elite trait of his.
Fohr, on Sasha Chmelevski’s skating:
The knock on him was always his skating. He kind of skated really wide. He didn’t recover his skating very well, so his feet were always really, really wide. So people were always worried about his skating, his ability to get around the rink.
I think he’s fixed that a little bit, as I’ve seen him over the years. But he’s similar to a Bordeleau type from his ability to make plays. They actually make pretty good comparables.
Fohr, on Kevin Labanc’s Twitter handle:
By the way, he’s got one of my favorite Twitter handles out there with @Str8ToTheBanc. He had that when he was here and I remember the guys gave him a hard time about it. But I loved it.
Fohr, on if Labanc’s USNTDP teammates were jealous that Labanc has such a cool last name:
(laughs) That was probably part of it. To have the cunning to him to be able to do that, right? Kevin never lacked the confidence to pull something off like that, that’s for sure.
Make sure to listen to the entire interview: It’s well worth your time if you’re interested in the draft process for USNTDP players (6:00), which San Jose Sharks scout concentrates on the USNTDP, what Bordeleau’s game looks like (10:00), and how his father (former NHL player Sebastien Bordeleau) helped shape his game (16:00). We also compare Labanc and Bordeleau (23:30) and get a Chmelevski update from Fohr (30:00).
BREAKING: Sharks Are Talking to Conor Sheary
When free agency began on October 9th, the question was, “Who would the San Jose Sharks sign?”
After almost two weeks of relative inactivity — besides adding familiar faces Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto and losing franchise icon Joe Thornton — the question became, “What’s Doug Wilson doing?”
San Jose Hockey Now has good news for Sharks fans: Wilson is still active in free agency. So who’s he looking at — Conor Sheary, Erik Haula, or Mikael Granlund? We’ve got the scoop!