The San Jose Sharks won seven games then lost seven games, and now the true talent level of the team has been called into question.
With the trade deadline fast approaching on April 3 during a shortened NHL season, rumors are already surrounding the Sharks, who have come up short with the same core group of players several years in a row. The recent losing streak has only confirmed the fact that the combination of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski may never get over the playoff hump in San Jose.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, it would appear as though any and all players on the Sharks’ roster will be considered trade bait come the trade deadline.
“Depending on who you talk to, there are teams that say some big names are potentially in play. Certainly the Sharks are willing to consider just about anything. San Jose is willing to part with a defenseman – Dan Boyle's name, believe it or not, has been thrown out there – but they would need to get a forward in return and preferably someone who could fit in their top nine.
Joe Thornton’s name was also thrown out there by an Eastern Conference team, but that’s not likely to happen. There’s no way San Jose is going to put themselves in that situation.”
Thornton is obviously not in play, but dangling the 36-year-old Boyle will certainly peak the interests of NHL teams, especially if San Jose is interested in acquiring a player to play on their first three lines. He is also one of the leaders both on the ice and in the locker room. The rumors are presumably in response to the inefficiency of Scott Gomez and T.J. Galiardi.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz is reporting that defenseman Jason Demers could be a nice place to start for GM Doug Wilson.
“One rumor in the Ottawa Sun recently suggested that Demers would be the most likely candidate for the Sharks to dangle as trade bait, and I agree.”
Demers is still just 24 years old, and although he took a step backwards last year, he had a good stretch playing in Finland during the lockout (21 points in 30 games in the SM-liiga).”
The youth of Demers would certainly play into the interests of a team looking for young talent in exchange for a player to play on the Sharks’ top-nine. San Jose has excess talent at defenseman, and several players like Demers are expendable. Douglas Murray is another player that fits the trade bait mold at the moment.
What the Sharks are hoping for in return is scoring. The offense struggled during the seven-game losing streak, and was not much better in the 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. While Antti Niemi and the defense remains consistent enough to keep San Jose in games, the lack of offense has held the Sharks back from solidifying their place among the elite in the Western Conference after a down year in 2011-12.
If the Sharks want to be competitive enough to contend for the Stanley Cup this season, trades will need to be explored. The roster as it is now will not be able to compete at an elite level, as the inconsistency of the early season has made apparent.
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