The Sharks have added Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood to the lineup and they did it without surrendering another component.
“We didn’t give up anything off our team, so the addition just adds to the pool of players,” Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson said on Tuesday morning.
More importantly, the Sharks roster has been improved and Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan has a few more weapons to work with up front. Eager won a Stanley Cup with Chicago last year and Wellwood had a couple of strong playoff runs with Vancouver.
“This is a playoff-type mode and having guys that have been through it and experienced it gives us extra depth,” Wilson said. “Without going into what our injury situation may or may not be, it is a time to add players like this. It gives our coaches the tools they need at this point.”
Eager brings the physical element to the table.
“Ben Eager is a very engaged player,” Wilson said. “The best compliment I can give him is he is like a big Scott Nichol. He can play the game. He’s got speed and other teams are uncomfortable when he is out there. He’s pretty valuable. He’s gained valuable experience the last couple of years that can help our group.”
Wellwood provides another element.
“Kyle is a talented player,” Wilson said. “It gives you depth and players that can bring different things for the players to utilize.”
Wellwood had been signed by St. Louis after returning from Russia where he opened the season, but he was forced to clear waivers and that is where San Jose nabbed him. He may not have NHL stats on the season, but he is in game-shape from the KHL.
“He’s played all year, he played in the KHL, so this is not a player who has been on the sidelines,” Wilson said. “People come in and are given opportunities and we’ve seen that when players are given that opportunity, they will go the extra mile. There is no risk to us in this situation. It should be an exciting opportunity for him to showcase what he can do.”
Wilson has shown a preference for making his deals long before the trade deadline when possible and this is another example. Handling the transaction earlier provides some solid team benefits.
“These are the type of players that teams do add at this time of year,” Wilson said. “For us, we are going to be going on this road trip for a little while. They can come in and get some practice time and use the All-Star break to get acclimated to our group. These are things we’ve been looking to add.”