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San Jose Sharks Intend To Goon It Up in 2014

July 2, 2014, 5:11 PM ET [15 Comments]
Franklin Steele
San Jose Sharks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
We all knew changes were coming for the San Jose Sharks. All summer long there's been talk of trading Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the name of changing the culture in San Jose. That sounds fine during press conferences, but in practice, improving the team out on the ice while moving these two is a real chore.

Thronton is an absolute possession monster and makes everyone around him better. That's not an eye test—the numbers back this up in a big way. Even if you're not totally sold on the "fancy stat" movement, it's not difficult to grasp the concept that an elite center improves the output of his wingers, especially when the science seems to back up the theory.

If you want to trade "Jumbo" then it needs to be for an outstanding package. Otherwise the Sharks won't be a better team next year. Regardless on where you stand on trading the team captain away, it seems like Doug Wilson is intent on making the Sharks a tougher team to play against.

That would have been fine and well in 1982, but the NHL is evolving before our very eyes. Even the Boston Bruins have figured out that employing a full-time goon to just sit on the bench isn't good for business, and the B's base their entire identity on being hard to play against. They let the beloved Shawn Thornton and San Jose isn't adding talented big players. They're adding guys like John Scott, which is absolutely laughable.

The guy gives great interviews, but he can't play defense, isn't a scorer, stinks in the faceoff circle and isn't strong defensively. So what's the point of bringing him to California?

Is this a repercussion from Dustin Brown's hit on Tomas Hertl last season? Isn't that why Wilson traded for Mike Brown? Apparently having two goons on the roster isn't enough of a deterrent—don't forget about Raffi Torres—so Scott is brought in for $700,000. The re-signing of Brown raised some eyebrows. Signing a player like Scott just seals the deal in San Jose. They clearly intend to try to goon their way their the super-competitive, possession-driven Western Conference.

Just imagine how a line of Scott, Brown and Torres will get torched during away playoff games by the likes of Patrick Kane and Anze Kopitar. While squads like the Dallas Stars seem to understand that you need to out-talent these behemoths, the Sharks are going to try and beat the life out of them. Again, a sound strategy in the 1970s and 1980s. It isn't going to work in 2014.

A lot of stupid deals were handed out this summer, but none of them are more puzzling than the one that the Sharks gave to Scott. Not because he's a bad guy off the ice, and not because it's a lot of money. It's what the deal represents.

Murray hasn't passed on the chance to talk about wanting to get mentally tougher this summer. He wants to build a team that is tightly knit and be known as a franchise that you don't want to go to war with. This is the wrong kind of weapon to win the battle for supremacy in the West, however. Think about it: would the Sharks have fared better or worse in their series against the Kings with Scott in the lineup?

The answer is obvious. Now just apply that answer to the entire 2014-15 season and you'll have a good idea of what you're in for as a Sharks fan this year. Hey, at least there will be ice girls now, right?
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