Sharks

Has Sharks' Aaron Dell surpassed Martin Jones as team's No. 1 goalie?

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AP

Has Sharks' Aaron Dell surpassed Martin Jones as team's No. 1 goalie?

The Sharks were supposed to have a relatively simple goaltending tandem entering this season. Martin Jones would continue as the starter, with Aaron Dell serving as the very capable backup.  

So long as the Sharks could be predictable without the puck, everything would be fine.

But now more than halfway through the regular season, there are a lot more complications and questions than clear-cut answers. So, how exactly do we describe San Jose's current goalie situation with Jones and Dell?

Let’s first establish every possible definition, and then evaluate where the Sharks have been.

conversation: When the goalie playing less is earning more opportunities.
competition: No clear-cut No. 1, auditions are on full display.
controversy: The goalie playing less is playing better, but not playing more.
conundrum: Both goalies not playing well, with no obvious alternatives.
combination: Your No. 1 is playing like it, and your No. 2 is playing as such.

Which brings us to the Sharks' backstory. Most of last year's regular season was the combination scenario, with no questions of roles. Jones had the better campaign, and even after struggling in the first round of the playoffs, Pete DeBoer stuck with his starter and was handsomely rewarded in what remained. Martin Jones notably was solid for 17 of the 20 postseason games.

But the current season told a different story for San Jose’s tandem.  Especially during a four-win October and three-win December, we saw serious goalie conundrums and conversations emerge. Often, team defense didn’t make either netminder look sterling, but Dell certainly was a known commodity and provided the much-needed avenue to shake things up.

After DeBoer was relieved of his duties on Dec. 11, established roles went out the window, and it turned into a full-fledged goalie competition. As recently as Saturday, interim head coach Bob Boughner clarified as much: 

“I’m not anointing anybody a No. 1 at this point," he said. "I need both of them down the stretch.  And Dell right now, he’s winning games for us.”

Which brings us to the present, and that last sentence from Boughner.  Without official proclamation, maybe we’re actually back to a combination -- just one where Dell is the primary figure. He has allowed no more than three goals in each of his last nine starts and has proven an ability to make big saves, which likely instills the most confidence at this point. He’s also getting the prime assignments and opponents.

[RELATED: Sharks' late collapses continue in difficult loss vs. Caps]

Sharks fans haven’t endured a midseason changing of the guard in goal for many years now. But this journey through the calendar is different and might require extremes to compensate, whether they are declared official or not.

This, however, is not to suggest San Jose should give up on Jones. This is the first real adversity of his NHL career, and contractual obligations aside, it’s only prudent for the Sharks to see if a sidestep could help him take a big step forward.  

Getting back to a goalie controversy with Jones pushing Dell certainly wouldn’t be the worst-case scenario this spring.

NHL trade tracker: Rumors, updates, predictions, analysis of deadline

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AP

NHL trade tracker: Rumors, updates, predictions, analysis of deadline

It's the most wonderful time of the NHL season. Unless it's not. 

Yes, the trade deadline finally is upon us Monday at noon PT, and that could bring a flurry of activity. Or, it might not, stressing us out as we try to fill out this here live blog. 

The Sharks traded their most attractive piece about a week before the deadline, shipping defenseman Brenden Dillon to the Washington Capitals for a pair of draft picks. Dillon already is winning over his new teammates, but San Jose still has a few pending unrestricted free agents who could have new homes Monday afternoon.

What will happen to bottom-six forward Melker Karlsson, who didn't play in either of the Sharks' last two games before the deadline after leaving with an injury against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 20? What of franchise legend Joe Thornton, who said "it is" tempting to think of being traded to a contender? How about big names under contract for the foreseeable future? 

[RELATED: How to watch 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show live online]

The rest of the NHL could look much different, too. Follow along here for the latest rumors, updates and more ahead of the trade deadline. 

Programming note: The "2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way Monday at 11:30 a.m. PT on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com! How will the Sharks be impacted heading into the noon deadline? Don’t miss it!

Sunday

9:40 p.m. PT: Mike Green was held out of the Detroit Red Wings' lineup for good reason Sunday. He's headed to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Kyle Brodziak and a conditional draft pick. 

Green is far removed from his point-per-game days with the Washington Capitals a decade ago, but he should give the Oilers solid depth on the blue line. At the very least, playing with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid should be reinvigorating. 

9:22 p.m. PT: Could the Ottawa Senators' most valuable trade chip come off the board? TSN's Bob McKenzie reported Sunday night that pending free-agent forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau had "dialogue" with the Sens about a contract extension. 

"I think what you've got here is you've got a player who really would like to stay in Ottawa," McKenzie said Sunday of the Ottawa native, who has 40 points (24 goals, 16 assists) in 60 games this season. "He's a born-and-bred Ottawa Senator, and so the notion of staying in Ottawa long-term doesn't frighten him at all. But, free agency's also an opportunity to make hay, and he wants to make sure he's not taking too big a hometown discount to stay with the Senators."

McKenzie mentioned the Senators' rumored asking price -- a first-round pick and a prospect -- might be too much for other teams to pay at the moment. If they don't reach a deal, McKenzie said it's likely Pageau is traded Monday. 

7:04 p.m. PT: There is a "strong possibility" the Sharks will trade veteran forward Patrick Marleau before Monday's deadline, TVA Sports' Louis Jean reported Sunday. 

Marleau re-joined the Sharks earlier this season, after an offseason trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Carolina Hurricanes and a subsequent buyout. The 40-year-old has 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 57 games this season, and TSN's Frank Seravalli wrote Saturday that Marleau is more likely to be traded than veteran teammate Joe Thornton. 

5:36 p.m. PT: The Minnesota Wild didn't make a trade, but they did reveal who they'll play in the 2021 Winter Classic. 

The Blues now join the likes of Chicago, the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers as teams who have played multiple times in the NHL's signature outdoor event. 

5:17 p.m. PT: Alex Ovechkin got his man. The Washington Capitals acquired Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk in exchange for a third-round pick.

That's not a bad bit of business by the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs signed Kovalchuk after the Los Angeles Kings waived him and terminated his contract. Getting a third-round pick in return speaks to Kovalchuk's mini-resurgence in Montreal, and now he'll try to win his first ring alongside his countryman. 

4:43 p.m. PT: TSN's Frank Seravalli firmly lists the Sharks among the NHL's five biggest sellers, while the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes are set to be some of the biggest buyers.

Seravalli's colleague Darren Dreger, meanwhile, reported that Zach Bogosian has agreed to a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Buffalo to Tampa is a massive weather upgrade, but it might not be as big as leaving the cellar-dwelling Sabres and joining the Lightning. 

4:11 p.m. PT: It officially Hold Trade Candidates Out Of The Lineup SZN. Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou and defenseman Mike Green didn't warm up Sunday. 

The former is a restricted free agent, while the latter goes unrestricted this summer. The Red Wings are armed with nearly as many draft picks (eight) than players currently on their roster under contract next season (nine, per Cap Friendly). Additional moves could give Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman even more flexibility this summer. 

Yzerman's old team, meanwhile, reportedly are favorites to sign defenseman Zach Bogosian.

The Buffalo Sabres terminated Bogosian's contract after he was waived and didn't report to the AHL's Rochester Americans.

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 4-1 road loss vs. Islanders

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USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 4-1 road loss vs. Islanders

BOX SCORE

A Sunday afternoon spent in New York is pleasant for most people.

The Sharks had a different experience Sunday, as they fell 4-1 to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum in their fourth straight loss.

San Jose fell behind early but tied the game at one heading into the first intermission. But the Islanders scored quickly in the second period, and the Sharks never were able to recover.

Here are three takeaways as the Sharks' East Coast road trip dredges on.

Stay hot

After being silent in road losses to the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, Dylan Gambrell bounced back with a first-period goal Sunday afternoon.

With the Sharks trailing 1-0, Radim Simek got the puck near the blue line and wristed a laser at Isles goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Gambrell re-directed the puck to tie the game.

The tally was Gambrell's third goal in the last five games. He had scored just two goals in his first 37 games. Four of his five goals have come on the road.

Not Jones' day

With Aaron Dell having cooled off of late, some wondered if it was time for Bob Boughner to go back to Martin Jones. 

But Jones' dreadful season continued Sunday on Long Island. After a turnover in the neutral zone, Mario Ferraro got caught chasing, giving the Isles a 2-on-1 rush.

Anders Lee received the puck from Matthew Barzal and stuffed it short side past Jones. 

With the game tied, Lee got his second marker of the game by ripping a blast past Jones on the short side. It's a save you'd like your goalie to make.

The Islanders' third goal came when Devon Toews put it top shelf.

All in all, it was a very bad day for Jones who gave up three goals on 25 shots.

[RELATED: Everything Sharks fans need to know before deadline]

So long?

With the NHL trade deadline happening Monday, many are left to wonder if this will be the final game for either Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau in a Sharks sweater.

The Sharks already dealt Brenden Dillon to the Washington Capitals and have seen their Stanley Cup playoff hopes evaporate.

Thornton has said he wouldn't mind going to a contender. After 15 years in San Jose, the Sharks should give Jumbo the chance to win a Cup should one arise.