With opening night just a few hours away, Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson finished off his last contract situation. Netminder Nolan Schaefer agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal, but was quickly put on waivers for reassignment. San Jose will know in the morning if Schaefer is still property of the team.
While there is a chance the Sharks could lose Schaefer for nothing, there is also a realistic possibility that Schaefer will clear waivers like Grant Stevenson and Mathieu Biron.
PREPPING FOR ST. LOUIS
Expectations for the Blues may not be what they are for Team Teal, but Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson knows St. Louis has some fire power.
Sharks nemesis Keith Tkachuk and Olympians Doug Weight and Bill Guerin will let teams know that pucks will fill the net if opponents aren’t on top of their game.
“Tkachuk was dominant last year in the games he played against us,” said Wilson. “He’s hard to stop. Guerin had an off year last year, but a lot of players in the middle (of the labor situation) did. It’s not like Bill is ancient.”
San Jose may be a favorite, but effort will be the biggest factor in the end.
“On paper, but we have to match their work ethic,” said Wilson. “We have to be firing on our power play to beat people.”
As rookie defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
prepares for his NHL debut, Wilson recalled his first NHL game.
“I was called up and had an assist on my first shift and a goal on my second,” said Wilson.
The coach also gave Vlasic his nickname which has stuck with teammates.
“I said Pickles was with Hannan,” said Wilson.
And “Pickles” it is.
San Jose not only has two No. 1 netminders, the Sharks also have two No. 1 forward lines. The wingers are set for Patrick Marleau
and Joe Thornton
, but Wilson notes that he likes certain defensemen with each forward trio.
“We’ll try to match Matt Carle with Joe’s line and Christian Ehrhoff with Patty’s line,” said Wilson. “Joe is more of a playmaker and you want someone to join the second scoring wave who should be able to fill the net. Patty’s line requires so much speed. Marleau and Milan Michalek are probably the fastest pair of forwards in the League.”
Jonathan Cheechoo led the NHL with 56 goals last year and Wilson isn’t expecting anything less from his right winger.
“I’d be shocked if he didn’t score 50,” said Wilson. “Five others could score 30 or more and you hope the others contribute.”