If ain’t broke, don’t fix it?
But that’s what the San Jose Sharks have done with the expected hire of Ryan Warsofsky as an assistant coach.
San Jose Hockey Now broke the news of Warsofsky’s hiring on Thursday, a source also indicating that the Chicago Wolves head coach would handle the Sharks’ defense and penalty kill.
Of course, the Sharks PK, led by assistant coach John Madden, was second in the NHL last year with an 85.2 PK%. But Madden was let go on Jul. 1, along with head coach Bob Boughner, assistant coach John MacLean, and video coach Dan Darrow.
Madden was just tapped by the Arizona Coyotes to be an assistant coach. Naturally, he’ll run their PK.
You would presume – though we’ll have to see when training camp kicks off in September – that Warsofsky wouldn’t tinker much with one of the best kills in the NHL.
Madden also handled the Sharks’ defense last year. There’s where I wonder what kind of impact that Warsofsky, a former defenseman himself who played professionally in Belgium, the Central Hockey League, and Federal Hockey League, could have on the San Jose Sharks’ rearguards.
Madden was a forward, a highly-decorated one – he won the 2001 Selke Trophy – but usually, position coaches are formerly of that position.
In particular, I wonder if proud veterans Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson will take to the relatively young Warsofsky? Vlasic, 35, is a year older than Warsofsky, while the 32-year-old Erik Karlsson isn’t too far behind.
Between Vlasic and Karlsson too, there’s an Olympic goal medal, multiple Olympic/World Cup appearances, and two Norris Trophies.
Wolves GM Wendell Young, however, has the utmost faith that his ex-head coach will be able to connect with the San Jose Sharks’ big-money blueliners.
“He is a caring coach. First and foremost, it will be about what they are off ice, then trust will be built over time,” Young told San Jose Hockey Now. “He gets all to buy in as he has their back at all times. Players will feel secure. He recognizes players’ strengths. Look how many players had career years for us and not just points-wise.”
That’s a strong vote of confidence from your general manager, and that’s how I presume Sharks GM Mike Grier and head coach David Quinn see things, or they wouldn’t have brought in Warsofsky.
Anyway, that’s something to watch this season, along with how Warsofsky works with the San Jose Sharks’ younger blueliners like Mario Ferraro, Nikolai Knyzhov, Ryan Merkley, and more.
Quinn said in his introductory press conference, “If you’ve got 23 people being five or ten percent better in their game, that’s the difference between making the playoffs or not.”
Can Warsofsky help make that kind of difference for the San Jose Sharks’ blueline?
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