The San Jose Sharks have had a week to digest their semifinal loss to the red hot Edmonton Oilers and although the loss was difficult for Team Teal, the 2005-06 season was still successful. But now it’s time to look toward the future and start preparing for the 2006-07 season.
Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson and his staff have not only done an excellent job of developing players from within, but also of signing them proactively. For this reason, the Sharks will be returning virtually their entire roster filled with players that propelled the Sharks one of the top teams in the League.
Wilson made decisions in the middle of the season that will help the Sharks for years to come. He signed Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo to a multi-year deal as well as the goaltending duo of Vesa Toskala and Evgeni Nabokov. Patrick Marleau
signed a multi-year deal before the beginning of the 2005-06 season and the trade that brought Hart Trophy candidate Joe Thornton
also brought a contract that will guarantee he will be in San Jose for the next two years.
Other crucial pieces to the puzzle that are locked up for next season include defensemen Matt Carle, Josh Gorges, Scott Hannan, Kyle McLaren and Tom Preissing. On the offensive side, rookie standouts Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier, as well as Nils Ekman and Ville Nieminen, will also be wearing Teal come September.
There are a handful of current Sharks that are restricted free agents, meaning the team has exclusive rights to sign them before anyone else gets a crack at it. Current Sharks in this category are Rob Davison, Christian Ehrhoff, Jim Fahey, Marcel Goc, Doug Murray, Scott Parker, Patrick Rissmiller, Mark Smith and Grant Stevenson.
Alyn McCauley is the only unrestricted free agent on Team Teal. Because he is unrestricted he will be able to sign with any club he chooses.
Overall the Sharks are in great shape. In addition to all the key players that are locked up, their minor league system is in the same boat. Former first rounders Lukas Kaspar and Devin Setoguchi are signed and will be ready in the coming years to make the transition to the NHL.
Without a doubt, the Sharks are sitting in a good position to make another run at the Stanley Cup in 2007.
FORMER SHARK UPDATE
Former Shark Darren Turcotte (Brentwood, Tenn.) will serve as head coach of the 2006 U.S. National Inline Team that will compete at the 2006 International Ice Hockey Federation InLine Hockey World Championship, it was announced today by USA Hockey. The event will take place July 10-16 in Budapest, Hungary.