Sharks

Sharks trade defenseman Justin Braun to Flyers, acquire two draft picks

Sharks trade defenseman Justin Braun to Flyers, acquire two draft picks

The Sharks kept retooling their lineup for the future on Tuesday as the team traded defenseman Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers.

In return, San Jose acquired a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2020 draft.

Braun has spent his entire professional career playing for the Sharks, having been drafted in the seventh round in the 2007 draft. The left-hander scored 154 total points (24 goals, 130 assists) and was a plus-24 in 607 games played. He tallied 16 points (2 goals, 14 assists) in 78 games played in the 2018-19 season.

The Minnesota native has been a staple on the Sharks' blue line, spending a significant amount of time paired with Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Braun averaged 19:56 minutes of ice time per game through nine regular seasons in teal and 21:01 minutes of ice time through 84 Stanley Cup playoff games. Braun was also a lock on San Jose's penalty kill, which ended the last regular season with a 80.8-percent success rate.

While the trade gives the Sharks a second-round pick in the upcoming draft, it also leaves them without a left-shooting veteran defenseman in their starting lineup. San Jose currently has left-handed shot Joakim Ryan, who is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1, and AHL defenseman Jacob Middleton, who played three games at the professional level last season.

[RELATED: Why Karlsson skipped free agency to sign with Sharks]

Braun has one year left on his current five-year contract before hitting free agency. The trade increases the Sharks' projected cap space by $3.8 million, according to CapFriendly

The Sharks still have 21 players on their list of free agents. It'll be a busy summer for Doug Wilson and Co.

Mike Ricci opens up about his first month as Sharks assistant coach

Mike Ricci opens up about his first month as Sharks assistant coach

It’s not just a safe assumption. It’s entirely accurate that Mike Ricci, as a hockey player, never thought he’d become a coach.

“Not back then for sure,” Ricci said recently. “Not even maybe two and a half weeks ago.”

The former Sharks forward was caught off guard by being named as an assistant on interim head coach Bob Boughner’s staff in mid-December.

“It was like boom, told to come to a meeting,” Ricci recalled.  

But there was no reservation in accepting the position.

“When a friend asks, and a boss asks, you’ve got to do it,” said Ricci. “Just going in and trying to do whatever I can to help this team win.”

All of this is a total change of scenery for Ricci – who after 1,099 NHL games as a player -- still hasn’t acclimated to his brand new perch behind the bench.

“If I’m going to be honest, I really haven’t had time to think about it,” Ricci admitted.  

The move was so fresh, and came with so much transition, Sharks equipment manager Mike Aldrich even had to double check that regular game duties would include a presence behind the players.  To which Ricci responded: “I think so…?”

As if the Sharks' need to turn things around wasn’t pressing enough, there’s also the challenge of Ricci learning the ropes of being an assistant coach for the very first time.

“You’ve got to find what makes everybody click,” Ricci said after less than a month of experiences. “Some guys like to see it. Some guys like to hear it. Some guys like it drawn on a board.”

One thing benefitting Ricci, goaltending coach Evgeni Nabokov, and associate coach Roy Sommer is their familiarity and unquestioned dedication to the franchise. Each have been sporting teal for more than a decade, in one capacity or another.

[RELATED: Boughner urges Sharks to 'man up']

Ricci said there’s already a built-in level of trust when the coaching staff has to be critical of players, in trying to reverse the team’s struggles.

“I try to be myself, more than anything. It doesn’t matter how much I know, it matters how much I can get to a player.”

NHL rumors: Doug Wilson won't disrupt Sharks' core at trade deadline

sharksbenchhighfiveusatsi.jpg
USATSI

NHL rumors: Doug Wilson won't disrupt Sharks' core at trade deadline

If you're in favor of the Sharks making a splashy move to shake things up ahead of the Feb. 24 NHL trade deadline, we've got bad news for you.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported earlier this week that Sharks general manager Doug Wilson "has let it be known he is not interested in disrupting his core."

That presumably means players like Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are staying put.

But Friedman notes that there will be interest in Melker Karlsson and Brenden Dillon, who are both unrestricted free agents after this season.

With the playoffs looking less and less likely for San Jose, it would make sense for Wilson to try to get something for Karlsson and Dillon.

The Sharks don't have a first, fourth or sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, so it would be wise for Wilson to recoup some of the assets he traded away in recent years.

After losing in the Western Conference final to the St. Louis Blues, the Sharks have fallen on hard times. They enter Saturday's game against Vancouver with a 21-24-4 record and sit nine points out of a wild-card spot. On Thursday night, they were shutout by the Avalanche in Colorado and interim head coach Bob Boughner urged his players to "man up."

[RELATED: Ricci on first month as coach]

At the moment, the Sharks are close to the upper limit of the NHL salary cap, but they will have roughly $18 million coming off the books this summer, according to Cap Friendly, so as Friedman notes, Wilson will have the flexibility to make moves in the offseason.

The Sharks are in desperate need of a wake-up call. But it sounds like it won't come in February.