Things will be no different in the conference finals, as former Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood and ex-Sharks Christian Ehrhoff and Manny Malhotra will be looked to by their respective teams for any information that might give their current teams even the smallest edge.
"They can probably help out a little bit," Vancouver forward Daniel Sedin said. "San Jose has Kyle Wellwood too, he's been in this locker room so I think he's probably going to share a few secrets too."
Added Canucks center Ryan Kesler: "Christian played there a couple years back so I don't know if their systems have changed or what not, but Manny played there last year so I'm sure he'll have something to say. We'll have meetings and we'll see what they got. See what they're going to throw at us."
Ehrhoff spent five seasons with the Sharks after San Jose used its fourth-round pick in 2001 to select the German defenseman. The 28-year-old played one season under current coach Todd McLellan before being dealt to the Canucks before the 2009-10 season.
"They're very skilled and very big so they will make plays, but we got to try to limit their time and space," Ehrhoff said. "They still play the same kind of style. Detroit, San Jose, us -- we're all puck-procession teams, we like to have the puck and like to make plays offensively. That hasn't changed in San Jose since I left."
Ehrhoff was dealt to the Canucks along with defenseman Brad Lukowich; in exchange, the Sharks received prospects Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi. Many called the trade a salary dump by San Jose, which was trying to clear cap space to acquire Dany Heatley.
"You're always a little disappointed when you get traded, but on the other hand, I got a great new opportunity here and it was a fresh start for me – something new," he said. "I had only been with the San Jose organization my whole NHL career, so it was something fresh and something that made me grow in a way too and I'm very happy for the opportunity that I got."
Ehrhoff spent time in San Jose paired with current blueliners Douglas Murray
and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
. In 341 games with San Jose, Ehrhoff had up 132 points and a plus-19 rating.
Malhotra, a checking center who was an offseason signing by the Canucks, spent just one season with the Sharks. He scored 11 goals and finished with 30 points in 72 games, but was a key to San Jose's penalty-killing unit. He suffered an eye injury in March and hasn't played since, but is with the team and figures to have good insights on the club he played for last season.
Wellwood spent two seasons with the Canucks, collecting 52 points in 149 games. His weight issues relegated him to the press box at times, and at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season the Windsor, Ont., native decided to sign in the KHL.
The 27-year-old may have already said too much regarding his old team when he told the Vancouver Province in March that the Canucks still have some obstacles to overcome.
"I just feel Vancouver has a few more lessons to learn and I'm glad I'm in San Jose," Wellwood said. "I just feel they're [the Sharks] more mature because they've lost a few more times.
"They're not so scared of losing. I think come playoff time this team [the Sharks] is going to be better."
Wellwood was most effective in the playoffs with Vancouver collecting 13 points in 22 games over the two seasons.
"Obviously they have Kyle who had been with us for two years," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "We also have Manny and Christian who were there a year under the same coach so we're going to get together in a little bit and get focused on who we're playing against."
Author: Dhiren Mahiban | NHL.com Correspondent