In some not so shocking news on Wednesday, the San Jose Sharks acquired right-handed defenseman Calen Addison from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2026 fifth-round pick and San Jose Barracuda forward Adam Raska.
Puck-moving from the blueline might have been the biggest weakness on a team full of weaknesses. So adding a young power play specialist like Addison for so little was a no-brainer for GM Mike Grier.
Of course, any addition or subtraction of personnel on a team fundamentally changes someone else’s role or position in the organization. Here are some winners and losers from the Addison trade.
On the outs with the Minnesota Wild, the 23-year-old defenseman now has a clean slate with a team desperate for his very particular set of skills.
Quinn says Addison will be an option tomorrow: "A guy that's got a lot of offensive ability, moves pucks. He's a power play guy. He's been on good teams in Minnesota…Maybe he got caught up in a little bit of a numbers game, but he's certainly going to help us."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 8, 2023
The San Jose Sharks power play has been a roller coaster this season. Despite sitting at the same 18.4% as last season, before Addison, there have been many ups and downs. Without Erik Karlsson running the power play, the unit has had issues getting set up, and when running the “Chaos Approach”, the five forward unit, teams have just pressured Mike Hoffman or Mikael Granlund at the point, causing turnovers.
Addison was the main quarterback of the power play for the Wild last season that was in the middle of the pack at power play success rate (21.4%), though it should be noted that Minnesota acquired John Klingberg at the Trade Deadline to replace him in that role.
But the Wild were 10th-best in the NHL at power play shot generation with 107.8 Shot Attempts Per 60 and only allowed 84 shot attempts to the opposing team while on the power play, so Addison was a big part of some good stuff.
In the 12 games before Addison, the Sharks have already given up 31 shot attempts to the opposing team while on the power play. Having an actual power play quarterback who can keep the penalty kill honest and not cheat to try to create short-handed opportunities should be a huge boost for the unit that seems to waste chunks of their power play just trying to get set up.
Mario Ferraro’s quest to find the perfect defensive partner might be at an end.
After playing the early parts of his career with Brent Burns, Ferraro ran through a gauntlet of partners last season. Ferraro has mostly played with Kyle Burroughs this year, and while Burroughs has been better than advertised for the San Jose Sharks, a player like Addison has the makings to be a perfect complement to Ferraro. With Addison’s puck-moving ability, it should help to keep Ferraro from getting hemmed into his own zone. Addison has had issues in the defensive zone, but Ferraro should help to cover some of those problems.
This could be the start of a promising pairing that the Sharks have been looking for.
For Adam Raska, a change of scenery could be just what is needed. The former 2020 seventh-round pick has carved out a niche as a pesky, hard-nosed player willing to stand up for his teammates, but with Ozzy Wiesblatt finding his footing with the San Jose Barracuda at the end of last year and the addition of Anthony Vincent, Raska could see the writing was on the wall for him.
Wiesblatt has a higher upside as an offensive player. Vincent, who is on an AHL-only deal, has quickly shown some pop for the Cuda, playing a similar role as Raska.
The Wild still hold value in gritty forwards, having traded for Ryan Reeves last season from the New York Rangers. Raska provides sandpaper and, more importantly, is cost-controlled for the Wild, who are now navigating some tough salary cap issues.
What? How is Shakir Mukhamadullin a winner?
While the acquisition of Addison is a small step back for Mukhamadullin to see NHL time right now, it’s a long-term win. While the Sharks want him to continue to develop in the AHL, desperate times can call for desperate measures, and bringing Mukhamadullin into the mess that is the Sharks right now is not the right move. Mukhamadullin has been playing well with the Barracuda this season, posting six points in 10 games, but he still has some issues to iron out as he gets more comfortable with the North American game.
Continuing to work on his positioning and physicality will serve him well as the Barracuda look to climb out of their early hole and start competing for a playoff spot. Mukhamadullin will get NHL games this season when he is ready to play them.
Quinn told San Jose Hockey Now that the surprising decision to send Mukhamadullin back to the Barracuda on Oct. 1, 11 days before opening night, was in part to slow the hype train down.
“That could be pretty detrimental when you do that,” Quinn said about rushing a young defenseman. “It’s clear how we feel about him. His play certainly has stood out. But you gotta keep in mind his age and how little he’s played over here.”
Adding Addison should take pressure off the Sharks to promote Mukhamadullin before he’s ready.
With the addition of Addison, Burroughs becomes one of those players whose roles change. Burroughs had taken the top spot on the power play before Tuesday’s return to the five-forward power play. Before this season, Burroughs had played a combined 4:19 power play time in his 94 NHL games. In 11 games with the San Jose Sharks, before the Addison trade, he saw 18:37 of action. The Sharks did not score a goal with Burroughs on the power play; while he did give it his best shot, the power play wasn’t quite clicking. Burroughs has seen time on the second unit as the Sharks look for consistency on the power play.
No one has to be more disappointed than Leon Gawanke.
Last season, he led the Manitoba Moose to the fifth-best power play in the AHL (22.7%), was tied for first among AHL defensemen with 20 goals, and was ninth in points with 45. After acquiring Gawanke in a trade this offseason, the German native was one of the last cuts from San Jose Sharks training camp and has been playing top minutes for the Barracuda this season.
He felt like the next man up on the blueline as he looks to make his NHL debut. Gawanke might still get his chance at some point, but the road to the NHL got harder.
San Jose Barracuda defenseman Leon Gawanke joins the show!
🦈 Growth of German Hockey
🦈 EK65 being his favorite player
🦈 Trade to San Jose
🦈 Early thoughts on @sjbarracuda
— Locked on Sharks (@LockedOnSharks) November 7, 2023
Fans of the Five Forward Chaos Approach
Thoughts and prayers to the sickos who wanted to see five forwards for an extended period. While the Sharks did give us teases of it, including a power play goal on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers, the idea is dead. Unless major injuries happen, it probably won’t be resurrected this season. It was too beautiful and chaotic for this world.
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