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San Jose Hockey Now Podcast

Mailbag: What’s Sharks’ Plan If They’re Not Rebuilding? Trade Vlasic for Price? Deal Burns at Draft?

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San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher held media availability on Wednesday to discuss all things Sharks. It was a wide-ranging chat: Becher talked low attendance numbers, no Sharks rebuild, as well as exciting plans for SAP Center in the future.

Sharks Team President on Not Rebuilding, Low SAP Center Attendance & More (+)

A lot of comments did not sit well with some San Jose Sharks fans though – which is why we had an emergency mailbag to spotlight your reactions, concerns, and questions.

Before we get into the mailbag, Sheng gives two injury updates – one for Mushu and another for Erik Karlsson (8:44). Sheng then explains why Zach Sawchenko isn’t playing (12:44).

Onto the mailbag – thank you to everybody who responded on Twitter!

@SharksJosh95 says, “The Sharks have improved their record from a league-wide standpoint every year since 19-20. They have a chance to return most of the team next year plus William Eklund. Could this be why Becher is not declaring a rebuild yet?” (27:22)

@PeterDunbar19 asked, “How do you improve with the current team and not rebuild? Seems ridiculous” (30:40)

@EriktheRed92 asked, “Is there a difference between rebuilding and intentionally losing? I certainly want to see my favorite team play to win every game no matter how much talent is on the roster, but I think that’s still possible while admitting a rebuild is necessary.” (41:47)

@Amy_Wirth gave her reaction to Becher: “I’m not concerned. We’ve only had three bad seasons. Honestly. We are so spoiled in the Bay Area. I like the upward trajectory, hopeful for the prospects, not sold on the coach long-term. Hate the idea of a full-scale rebuild.” (47:55)

@RedSharkPack then asked, “Are the Sharks hurting long-term success for ticket sales right now?” (53:58)

@Mr_MrsPL8M8KER asked, “Are the Sharks the Lakers of the NHL???” (59:50)

@JLennon925 asked, “What are the chances of Tomas Hertl going to chase a Cup this year and return next year?” (1:04:38)

@Yetso97 asked, “Is there a slight, super small, microscopic chance that they’re not going into a rebuild this year so they can go into one next year for the stronger draft class?” (1:06:48)

@Dump_n_Corsi asked, “How likely is a more large-scale renovation of the arena in the next 5 years?” (1:08:11)

Then we touched on a few non-Becher related questions.

@D_Smizzman asked two questions, “Do you see a situation where Marc-Edouard Vlasic goes to Montreal for Carey Price? No salary retained on either side?” (1:14:17) and “Do we see a Brent Burns trade at the Draft?” (1:20:28)

@GarrettLarson1 asked, “Do you think the San Jose Sharks would trade James Reimer if a playoff team steps up with an offer for him?” (1:24:14)

@spiff_Tspaceman asked, “Are there any players on the San Jose Barracuda that you see progressing to the NHL next season?” (1:28:10)

We also promised to answer questions that we missed on the pod – here’s a few short answers from Sheng.

Noted Erik Karlsson fan @BayAreaSportsF asked, “What is the current trade value of Erik Karlsson if he were to be made available and the NTC was no obstacle?”

Sheng: “Non-existent unless the Sharks retain significant cap hit. Teams recognize that Erik has been a lot better this season, that he has been an impact player, but the remaining term on his contract and the accompanying cap hit are still terrifying.”

@prairiebilbo asked, “The PP has been clicking lately since I heard the podcast about you guys and [Jack Han] criticizing it, keep doing that! But really, have they changed anything strategy-wise for it to be clicking recently?”

Sheng: “Not much. The San Jose Sharks are a shot-first power play, so it’s about volume and hoping those shots find daylight, more than pure skill i.e. cross-slot one-timers, that sort of a thing. So they’re just having a good run now. I think – will have to double-check – that they’re dropping the puck back more to Alexander Barabanov instead of Timo Meier on the double-drop entry though. I think so teams don’t key in so much on Meier, who is the obvious receiver. So they’re actually doing the opposite of what Jack suggested to some degree lol.”

@AJG20201 asked: “Do you think that Bob Boughner is the right guy to coach a youth-heavy team? Do you see Bob as having a good track record at having success with young players?”

Sheng: “People may not like this answer, but I actually think so. Bob, perhaps because he’s an owner of a juniors team himself, I think he’s a guy who understands the value of being a good company man, chain of command. So if the team tells him to emphasize the youth, I think he has no problem doing that, and setting clear guidelines for that youth to grow them as players. Right now, he’s a little caught between the Sharks’ desire to win and the reality that they’re headed out of the playoffs again. So he’s going to coach to win right now.

“I’ve said it before, I think he’s had a positive impact on Timo Meier’s development. I also think he handles individual personalities well. He also can distinguish between the need to allow skill players to express themselves but also get them integrated into the team game. And he’s also a two-time CHL Coach of the Year winner, granted more than a decade ago. I’ll have to look harder at this track record with the Panthers.

“But my first guess is yes.”

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