Friday was a busy day for Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson as he accomplished something he’d been targeting for a long time. His trade with Carolina acquiring defenseman Ian White in exchange for a second round pick in 2012 (San Jose had two second rounders that year) concluded a season-long search for a puck-moving defenseman.
|Carolina Hurricanes' Ian White, left, passes the puck as St. Louis Blues' Jay McClement defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) |
Wilson’s efforts began last summer by attempting to sign restricted free agent Niklas Hjalmarsson. When Chicago matched the offer, Wilson didn’t immediately obtain another player just for the sake of doing so. He was intent on getting the right type of player for the right price. The Sharks now have that in White.
“You don’t mind paying fair value for something you really want,” Wilson said. “You don’t want to over pay for something you don’t want. You don’t want someone who’s too old and his game is trending down. You don’t someone too young who you’re still hoping he’s going (up).”
Wilson said it was the players themselves who deserve credit for this move as well as those for forwards Kyle Wellwood and Ben Eager. A while ago, the Sharks weren’t performing at their current level and the team was challenged by the hockey staff.
“This group with their play recently earned the ability to have us add those pieces,” Wilson said. “We had a meeting with our players and said go earn your way. They’ve stepped up and played closer to the expectations they have for themselves and we added some players to help.”
Not only is White an adept puck mover, he’s a strong shot from the right side who can compliment Dan Boyle
on the power play if Coach Todd McLellan chooses to use him that way.
|Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ian White, left, defends as Dallas Stars center Brad Richards (91) attempts to reach a puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) |
“We’ve been looking to identify right shot defensemen that can move pucks and help on the power play,” Wilson said. “The Ian White deal is something we’ve been looking at for a while. There aren’t many right shot defensemen out there. He’s 26 years of age. It’s like looking for left handed pitching. Those guys seem to be few and far between.”
White would definitely take the power play time if it comes his way.
“That would be outstanding. I’m used to doing that throughout junior and into my professional career,” White, who will wear No. 9, said. “I’ll be excited to help out if I can.”
If White’s on the power play, the Sharks man advantage units could take a different look.
“You’ve got Joe Pavelski
playing the point on the power play. Now maybe we can move Joe up front,” Wilson said. “It gives you a lot of different looks.”
In the end, the Sharks have improved with the White trade without losing anyone on the current roster.
“The big thing with this is it allowed us to add to the team without taking anything away,” Wilson said. “It started with Eager and Wellwood. These are additions that didn’t take anyone out of our day-to-day lineup.”
How will White help the Sharks?
“He’s a good puck mover,” Wilson said. “A good first pass, plays the point on the power play. Very competitive, kind of an overachiever. He’s at the point in his career where he’s a plus player and a 20-minute-a-game guy. He brings offense by moving pucks and shooting pucks.”
|TORONTO - APRIL 1: Ian White #7 and Jamal Mayers #21 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate a first-period goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during April 1, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Jamal Mayers and Wellwood have played with White as Mayers skated with him in both Calgary and Toronto and Wellwood was with him as a Maple Leaf. White noted he and “Jammer” were pretty good friends.
“The other thing about White is he’s played in the Western Conference and that’s important to us,” Wilson said. “Todd was involved in Swift Current drafting him. (Director of Pro Scouting) John Ferguson had him in Toronto. The integration aspect of it is important as his game fits in exactly for what we’re looking for.”
White is in the final year of his current contract, but this may allow for both parties to have a test drive with their new situations.
“When you acquire people like that, it can fit into the long term picture also,” Wilson said.
|Defenseman Derek Joslin (65) was traded to Carolina on Friday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) |
White likely won’t be in San Jose in time for the morning skate, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t make his Sharks debut Saturday against Colorado.
“He’ll be here tomorrow,” Wilson said. “That’s Todd’s call (as far as playing on Saturday). He’s very excited.”
“It’s definitely exciting moving to one of the better teams in the league,” White said. JOSLIN TO CAROLINA
The trade of Derek Joslin not only helps out the young blueliner who has done everything the Sharks have asked of him, but his trade to the Hurricanes opens a roster spot for a right hand shot who has been performing well at the AHL level. Wilson noted that rookie Justin Braun
’s strong play could earn him a return trip to San Jose very soon.
“The reason to do (move Joslin) was to give him an opportunity to play and it clears up a roster spot for Justin Braun
,” Wilson said. “It was always part of our plan to bring him up.”