Sharks

Doug Wilson happy with Sharks' trade deadline haul, though bittersweet

Doug Wilson happy with Sharks' trade deadline haul, though bittersweet

The Sharks were one of the more active teams at Monday's NHL trade deadline, as San Jose was involved in four separate transactions, three of which carried the same general theme: Sacrificing the present for the good of the future.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon and forwards Patrick Marleau and Barclay Goodrow were traded to the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, respectively, each in exchange for draft picks. Of those three players, only Goodrow was signed beyond the current season, meaning Sharks general manager Doug Wilson did well to turn multiple short-term assets into ones better suited for the long run.

Still, it wasn't easy to see so much leadership head out the door.

"We made some tough decisions," Wilson said after Monday's deadline. "We made some decisions to add some pieces that we think can be some great assets for us to make some decisions going forward to be consistent with what I said, which is getting us back on track next September. Some tough decisions with some really quality people that have meant a lot to this organization."

Much like the Dillon trade, San Jose's decision to send Marleau to the Penguins in exchange for a conditional 2021 third-round draft pick didn't exactly come out of left field. As a quality veteran in search of the elusive Stanley Cup, he always was going to have a better chance of succeeding in that endeavor with another team, and the Sharks worked with Marleau to make that happen.

"You always treat, especially, iconic players with the tremendous class that they deserve," Wilson said. "Patty was included in the process, and I left it up to him, what he wanted to do and what he wanted to explore. ... He made a decision that I fully supported, and all I can say is, what he has brought to the organization over the years continues, and we wish him nothing but the best. He's a Shark. Always will be a Shark."

Joe Thornton was in a nearly identical situation as Marleau, a 40-year-old pending unrestricted free agent with a Stanley Cup-sized hole on his career résumé. However, unlike Marleau, San Jose wasn't presented with an offer from a team that could convince Thornton to waive his no-movement clause.

"I don't share the conversations that I have with other GMs, but Jumbo was very involved in the process and was willing to explore it," Wilson said of Thornton. "Ultimately, it didn't come to fruition, and we reap the benefits of him staying here, because the young players that are here get to be around him every day.

"I think he was open to exploring it," Wilson added, "but I'm not sure he necessarily wanted to go completely, either. That's how loyal he has been to this organization, and that's what makes him special, too. "

Goodrow had no such clause in his contract, and thus didn't have any say about the trade that sent him and the Philadelphia Flyers' 2020 third-round draft pick to the Lightning in exchange for Tampa Bay's 2020 first-round pick. That was a haul Wilson couldn't pass up, but it also was a bittersweet exchange.

"Obviously, we're pleased with the return," Wilson explained, "but we gave up a player that epitomizes our development system. [Goodrow] came here as an undrafted free agent, went up and down in the minors. We've got a bunch of guys now that we think will follow the same journey that Barclay made, but Barclay is a special guy. Nothing was given to him. ... A great example of fortitude and commitment and work, becoming so versatile that teams that are trying to win the Cup wanted him badly."

[RELATED: What trades Sharks did, didn't make mean going forward]

The Sharks had every reason to be sellers at the deadline, given their season is not headed to the playoffs. Still, the trades have further depleted what already was a ravaged San Jose roster, and the Sharks didn't acquire any new players that one automatically would assume will be a part of the franchise's core moving forward.

Wilson knows what has been a tough season thus far only likely will get tougher, but he's optimistic about the possibilities.

"This is a year that our main focus is playing the right way," Wilson summarized. "We have a depleted lineup right now. We've got some guys that just went out, we've got some key players that are injured. You can't control those things, but with that comes the opportunity for younger guys to really step in and say, 'Hey, look what we can do,' and hopefully they can be ready come September also to take a full-time spot, just like Barclay Goodrow did.

"We feel very comfortable that we have some people in the system that can step into that, but it takes work, and we've got a lot of work ahead of us."

Four Sharks-Vegas Game 7 nuggets you might not recall from wild night

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AP

Four Sharks-Vegas Game 7 nuggets you might not recall from wild night

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Sharks' amazing Game 7 playoff comeback against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at 9 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

The sound, and the silence that preceded it, was unforgettable.

Sharks fans at SAP Center roared like never before on April 23, 2019, when San Jose eliminated the Vegas Golden Knights in an epic Game 7 of the teams' first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series. The sight of then-captain Joe Pavelski, bleeding and limp on the ice, emptied the arena of noise. The sight of the Sharks scoring four goals on the ensuing five-minute major penalty -- and, eventually, Barclay Goodrow's overtime winner -- easily filled it.

I reported on Game 7 from an auxiliary press box at SAP Center that night, sitting next to NBC Sports California's director of social engagement, Danny Pedroza. It was unlike any other game Danny, myself or anyone working in either press box that night covered before or after. 

Game 7, the payoff to a bitterly contested series in one of the NHL's best rivalries, included:

Those are just scratching the surface. With Game 7 set to re-air Monday at 6 p.m. PT on NBCSN as part of Hockey Week In America, here are four additional nuggets from the Sharks' wild win.

First time for everything

The Sharks had won Game 7s at home before beating the Golden Knights. They'd also won a Game 7 in overtime, eliminating the Calgary Flames a quarter-century before. They'd never done both at SAP Center, however, until Goodrow lit the lamp with 1:41 remaining in the extra session.

To be fair to the building formerly known as San Jose Arena, it was only the 42nd time in NHL history that a Game 7 would end in (at least one) OT. Plenty of buildings have never seen one, including the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens and Chicago Stadium.

Cody Eakin's major penalty, Pavelski's injury and the power play that followed make this Game 7 one of the most unique in NHL history. But the ending to the Sharks' win that night was pretty distinct, too.

The Sharks and Golden Knights shake hands after Barclay Goodrow's game-winning -- and series-clinching -- goal in overtime. Photo courtesy: Marcus White, NBC Sports California

Powerful play

The Sharks, prior to their historic outburst, had been abysmal on the power play against the Golden Knights. San Jose scored as many goals (four) on the bonkers third-period power play as it did in the six games preceding Game 7.

Shooting percentages often drive scoring droughts as much as anything else, and the Sharks' fallow power play was no different. They scored on 13.81 percent of their 5-on-4 shots during the 2018-19 regular season, and converted just 8 percent of theirs in the first six games of the series. The Sharks then scored on four of their 15 5-on-4 shots -- or, 26.67 percent -- in Game 7.

Sure, San Jose benefitted from the wrong call, but regression to the mean arguably helped the Sharks just as much.

The time is Nyquist

Gustav Nyquist skated just one, 30-second shift in the third period after the Sharks' four-goal power-play barrage. San Jose couldn't make do with a top-six hole in overtime following Pavelski's injury, however, so the Swedish winger filled Pavelski's place alongside Logan Couture and Timo Meier.

Couture, Meier and Nyquist were a dominant trio in overtime. They created three high-danger chances in just 4:33 together, matching the Kevin Labanc-Joe Thornton-Marcus Sorensen combo in nine fewer minutes together.

The Sharks completely controlled play during the extra session, and Nyquist's seamless inclusion on San Jose's top line was a huge reason why. If he didn't, Game 7 could have ended much differently.

[RELATED: Need a home workout? Use Sharks rookie Mario Ferraro's]

Sixth sense

Had the Golden Knights won Game 7, then-Vegas coach Gerard Gallant would have gotten far more credit for a bold tactical move on Jonathan Marchessault's game-tying goal.

Marchessault was one of six Golden Knights forwards on the ice with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury pulled, skating alongside Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty. Those six comprised the entirety of Vegas' top two forward lines at the time, and they pinned the Sharks in the defensive zone for the entirety of their 41 seconds together.

The Golden Knights' season was on the line, so desperation undoubtedly drove Gallant more than innovation. He deserves credit for creativity, however, especially in a sport that often relies on risk-averse strategies.

Here's hoping that, whenever the NHL starts its next season after the coronavirus pandemic is contained, Gallant's behind a team's bench.

Sharks' John Leonard hopes to follow in ex-roommate Mario Ferraro's footsteps

Sharks' John Leonard hopes to follow in ex-roommate Mario Ferraro's footsteps

UMass-Amherst has produced its fair share of NHL talent. Aside from longtime Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, the school's most prominent NHL alumni are defensemen, such as Colorado Avalanche phenom Cale Makar. The Sharks have found plenty of success with UMass defensemen, whether it be former blue-liners Justin Braun and Matt Irwin, or current rookie Mario Ferraro.

Ferraro, San Jose's second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, made the jump straight from college to the pros, and was arguably the brightest spot of the Sharks' season that has since been indefinitely paused due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The following year, San Jose went back to the UMass well in the 2018 draft, but this time used a sixth-round selection on forward John Leonard.

Fresh off of being the NCAA's leading goal-scorer and a Hobey Baker award finalist, Leonard officially agreed to join the Sharks franchise this past week, and he hopes to follow in his former college roommate's footsteps.

"The reason Mario was able to do that was just based off his work ethic and his drive to want to be great," Leonard said on an introductory conference call with reporters on Friday. "He's definitely someone I look up to. I was his roommate at school and we worked out together every day and trained together. His work ethic alone got him to where he is and I'm definitely going to try to do everything I can to follow that up."

Though Leonard has committed to San Jose, he has yet to officially sign, as he's waiting for clarification as to if and when the current season might resume. In the meantime, just like the rest of the NHLers currently practicing social distancing, he's doing his best to stay in shape.

Given that he used to work out with Ferraro in college, naturally, it begs the question as to whether or not Leonard has tuned into Ferraro's "quarantine" workouts that he is posting online. According to his former roommate, this is nothing new.

"Yeah, he was actually doing those at school, too," Leonard explained, "but they were a little bit more under the radar. Now they're open to the public and he loves it."

Ferraro surpassed even the wildest of expectations in his rookie season, and Leonard will certainly be challenged to do the same. If he's able to, however, it stands to reason that the former roommates might be reunited.

From the sounds of it, Leonard wouldn't mind -- though he might want to keep an eye on the pantry.

"The best thing about it is just his personality," Leonard said of rooming with Ferraro. "He's always in a good mood. He's a hilarious guy and he's just always fun to be around. Worst thing? I don't know. The guy ... he's always eating, so maybe he takes my food a little bit."

[RELATED: How COVID-19 impacts Sharks' salary cap, draft planning]

Ferraro already appears to be an important piece of the Sharks' core moving forward, and they're definitely hoping that Leonard can join him. 

If he impresses enough, he'll have his own room in no time.