What should we expect from San Jose at the deadline? What’s the timeline for expansion? Is Ryan Miller or Ryan Callahan more of a need for St. Louis? All this and more in this week’s hockey mailbag. If you want to be featured in next week's mailbag, send your questions, hockey ideas and observations in here.
I know [the Sharks] don't have any cap room, but do you see GM Doug Wilson having any tricks up his sleeve at the trade deadline? Even though they are getting Logan Couture back right after the break, they might need a top-six winger if Tomas Hertl is out for the year. What do you think?
JD, San Jose, Calif.
Doesn’t Doug Wilson always have tricks up his sleeve at the trade deadline? Last season, he turned in the best performance of any GM at the deadline in trading Douglas Murray and Ryane Clowe for valuable assets, then paid a very reasonable price to add the useful Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan.
I agree, the Sharks could use another top-six winger as Hertl insurance, plus you don’t want to count on any production from Martin Havlat. The Sharks don’t have much cap space ($2.7 million, per CapGeek.com) but there's been an interesting trend in which sellers are willing to retain salary to get a deal done, as we've seen with the Islanders and Panthers in their deals with the Blackhawks. When that rule was put on the books, I didn’t envision small-market teams retaining salary to complete trades with a big-market team like Chicago, but that's why Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is one of the best in the business. Wilson is too, which is why I expect him to find help on the wing before the deadline.
Nice that everyone is all warm and fuzzy about Martin St. Louis, but he has already been to the Olympics at least. Steve Yzerman didn't have the willingness to pass over him a second time. Claude Giroux has never been to the Olympics, and is not likely to get the opportunity, based on the chances of the NHL not allowing players to compete at the next Olympics. This does not leave me warm and fuzzy; I think G is the better choice. Do you think Giroux's non-attendance at the Canadian floor hockey preseason camp was a factor in all this?
Pete Schechner, Philadelphia
Pete, I really don’t believe that was a factor, even though two of the players who missed camp -- Giroux and Joe Thornton -- didn’t make the team.