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Petshark: Talking Stick

Sharks sign Winchester: what’s it mean?

So, my roster guess is already pretty wrong.  That’s okay, I’m usually wrong about things like that.

What does signing Brad Winchester mean?  Not only did the Sharks give him a contract, they gave him one of their two remaining contract spots.  They obviously thought he could bring more to the team than most of the young players he was competing with during training camp.  That makes that contract bigger than it looks at one year for $725k. 

The list of players he was competing with includes: Jamie McGinn, Cameron MacIntyre, and John McCarthy.  Those are not all similar players but they were all competing for a lower line spot on the NHL roster. McCarthy has already been sent down.  I would have put Frazer McLaren on that list but he wasn’t fairly tested during this camp as he was recovering from injury.  So I won’t say Winchester beat him out for a spot, but there doesn’t seem to be room left for him.

McGinn, McLaren and MacIntyre are subject to waivers.  None were put on waivers today.  No Sharks were.

To get the roster down to 23, there are still two players to cut, if you do not include Sheppard, Stalock, Nitty and Sateri.  The first three will be on IR, and Sateri is goalie #3.  At this point, it isn’t clear to me that the remaining cuts will be based on strict merit.  There’s that waivers thing.  There’s some doubt about MacIntyre’s health now, which may account for his absence from the last preseason game.  (Jeez it is hard to keep track of these guys…. since I started writing this McLaren became healthy and MacIntyre ceased to be… what next?)

If a team doesn’t want to send someone through waivers, what can they get for him in trade?  The Sharks don’t need to get a lot, they need contract space, not a player.  Well, they don’t need the kind of player you get for an unproven prospect, or worse, a player who hasn’t lived up to expectations.  Still, it is worth trying to get something before risking losing them for nothing.

Deciding what to do with Mike Moore poses similar challenges, but he probably has more trade value than the forwards.  Competition for a spot on the blue line was stiffer than among forwards.  Since Wilson already stated he would rather have younger players play than sit, they probably won’t keep Moore as a 7th or 8th defenseman.  Is the danger of losing Moore to a waiver claim enough to keep him in SJ despite that philosophy?  I don’t think so.  One way or another, at least two of these four Ms are going elsewhere, probably soon. 

How soon?  That might depend on when Havlat is 100%.  I’m not sure Havlat’s situation is that pivotal to the fate of the three forwards still in play.  Wingels could be moved up to the 2nd line for a bit.  Worst case scenario, they could bring Ferriero back up sooner than they wanted to.  In any case, McGinn, MacIntyre and McLaren are not slated for 2nd line duty.  None of the three knocked anyone’s socks off in camp.  Seems like a decent trade opportunity would take precedence over being too picky about which fills a 3rd or 4th line spot for a short period.  If a trade is the plan, you move the one you can move when you can move him.

That is what signing Winchester makes me think. 

And I think that’s kind of horrible.  I have nothing against Brad Winchester, I thought he earned a spot. I just hate players leaving or being sent away.  It makes my eye stray to whatever team they go to.  That seems irrelevant, but it isn’t.  A big part of appealing to your fan base is making us familiar with the players.  It follows that, once you familiarize us, you don’t want us to dislike them.  No, you want us to like them and enjoy seeing them succeed.  Except for professional or compulsive gamblers and obsessive statisticians, most of your audience will be composed of people who like seeing the team win.  A fan might like a player because he scores, or he gave them an autograph, or they just like the way his name sounds.  Whatever, they want to identify the player and think good things about him.

If your team is successful in this regard, the fans who are paying attention will notice and be sad when you get rid of someone.  We might be cheered up by the acquisition of an equally likeable and possibly more talented player.  But even if we can appreciate things like cap space and open contract spots, nobody wants their picture taken with a salary chart or a draft pick.  Not until the draft pick is used, I mean.  It’s just not the same.

So you say how you are sorry to see the player go, but he’ll be fine where he’s going and whatever you got in return for him will benefit the team which we all have to recognize is the main thing.  You think very highly of him, wish him the best, yadda yadda.  I get it, but I’m still sad when it happens. 

Since I am relatively new at this, I’m not following all 30 teams yet, but at this rate it won’t be long before I am.  And then what?  Thus dispersed by trades, will my interest spread until I don’t care in the least who wins the Stanley Cup?  Will I end up liking the Canucks?  The Blackhawks?  I hope not, but I can’t say for sure.  After all, most of my predictions are wrong.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brad+winchester, cameron+macintyre, fans, frazer+mclaren, jamie+mcginn, john+mccarthy, mike+moore

Comments

Avatar

good for brad.
your blog has too much of a self-indulgent cheerleader edge for my taste.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 10/04/11 at 04:23 PM ET

petshark's avatar

Self-indulgent, sure, probably, but cheerleader? Seriously? That’s a first but I can live with it. Cheers.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 10/04/11 at 07:32 PM ET

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net