In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, there continues to be plenty of chatter surrounding Evander Kane and whether or not he could be back in the organization in the near future. In other news, several reports are stating that the Sharks’ search for their new general manager (GM) has come down to two finalists in Ray Whitney and Mike Grier. Last but not least, former Shark Andrew Cogliano was able to raise the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career on Sunday as a member of the Colorado Avalanche.
Kane’s Future Remains Unknown
When the Sharks terminated the contract of Kane this past January, fans believed they could finally move past the drama the 30-year-old had brought to the organization over the past year, whether his fault or not. While he was gone for some time, however, there remains a possibility he could be back with the organization in the near future.
What will decide this is his grievance hearing regarding the termination of his contract, which a decision is expected to be made on no later than July 13. If it is ruled that Kane’s contract will be back in place, it creates an interesting dynamic for the Sharks. By no means are they wanting to keep him around, but given how well he performed during his stint with the Edmonton Oilers, they may be able to fetch a nice return for him.
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal recently suggested that the Oilers, who have made it clear they would like Kane back in the fold, could be interested in making a deal with the Sharks, perhaps sending a player like Jesse Puljujarvi the other way. This all remains pure speculation as of now, and should make for a few more interesting weeks as everyone tries to figure out how this entire process will play out. (from ‘David Staples: Stranger Thing: Will the Edmonton Oilers end up trading Jesse Puljujarvi for Evander Kane?,’ Edmonton Journal 06/24/22).
Whitney & Grier Believed to Be Finalists for GM Position
Since Doug Wilson announced he was stepping down from his GM position in early April, the Sharks brass have interviewed several potential candidates to take over. While a final decision has yet to have been made, it is being reported that Whitney and Grier, both former NHL players, are considered to be the frontrunners for the job.
Whitney, 50, began his playing career with the Sharks and also had stops with the Oilers, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes and the Dallas Stars. In total, he amassed 1330 career games, during which he scored 385 goals and 1064 points. Since retiring, he has spent time as a scout at the NHL level and has also worked for the leagues Player Safety Department.
Grier, 47, also spent time with the Sharks during his playing career, though it came at the latter half. He played a total of 1060 career games mixed between the Sharks, Oilers, Washington Capitals, and the Buffalo Sabres. In those 1060 games, he put up 162 goals and 383 points. Since retirement he has spent time as an assistant coach at the NHL level and is currently serving as a hockey operations advisor for the New York Rangers.
As you can see, neither of these finalists have much experience when it comes to managing, especially at the NHL level. This isn’t to say that they wouldn’t be good in the role, but generally teams look for guys with more pedigree. For the Sharks, however, it may not be that they aren’t looking for someone with experience, but are simply unable to find one. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff recently explained why that may be the case.
“I think it makes it one of the least appealing GM jobs out there,” Seravalli said on the DFO Rundown Podcast. “I’ve talked to some people who have interviewed, they say [owner Hasso Plattner is] delusional. He wants this team to be competitive. There’s no retool, no rebuild.
“Right from the hop, it’s how quickly can we make it back to the playoffs right now? What moves can you make this summer to get us there? That’s actually what scared a bunch of people off from the position.”
Seravalli is one of the leagues most credible insiders, so it is hard to doubt what he is saying here. If this is indeed the case, it could mean trouble for the Sharks moving forward, as there is little to no chance this team can be competitive in the near future. With aging players on ugly contracts such as Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Logan Couture, this is an organization who would be better off going for a complete rebuild, but it seems as though Plattner is not interested in having that happen.
Cogliano Wins First Stanley Cup
Last offseason, the Sharks looked to add some depth up front by signing Cogliano to a one-year, $1 million deal. The now 35-year-old went on to play in 56 games with the Sharks, scoring four goals and 15 points, before being traded to the Avalanche at the trade deadline for a 2024 fifth-round pick.
Related: Sharks’ Cogliano Trade Works Out for Both Teams
While Cogliano is no longer able to provide secondary offense like he did earlier in his career, he still possesses great speed and is a solid penalty killer. Despite not scoring a goal and recording just one assist in 18 regular season games with the Avalanche, he was able to contribute plenty more in the playoffs with three goals and six points in 16 outings. Thanks in some part to his contributions, he and his Avalanche teammates were able to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 on Sunday evening to hoist the Stanley Cup, which was the first of the veteran’s career.
Given that his play has begun to see a decline in recent years, it is reasonable to suggest this may have been the last we have seen from Cogliano in the NHL. Though he will probably take some time to ponder his future, going out on top certainly isn’t the worst way to do things.
Looking Ahead for the Sharks
The biggest thing Sharks fans will be keeping their eyes on right now remains their teams GM search. As mentioned, they appear to have two frontrunners for the position at the moment, but things can always change. Aside from that, the NHL draft is also set to begin on July 7, one in which the Sharks will select 11th overall. One would imagine that they will have their GM in place before the draft takes place, but that remains to be seen.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.
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