Some people laughed when San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson acquired Kyle Wellwood and Ben Eager in mid-January. But since then, the joke has been on the Sharks’ opponents and those who believed San Jose couldn’t make a big move up the weekly THN.com Power Rankings.
Since the arrivals of Eager and Wellwood, the Sharks have lost just twice in regulation (13-2-1), won six straight games and have vaulted up to sixth spot in our rankings and top spot in the competitive Pacific Division.
To do so, they’ve depended on the usual suspects – Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley are once again Nos. 1 and 2 in team scoring, with Patrick Marleau a close fourth – and also received help from youngsters Logan Couture (25 goals and 44 points), Ryane Clowe (30 assists and 48 points) and Devin Setoguchi (18 goals). On the back end, Antti Niemi has emerged as their clear No. 1 goalie (with a 23-15-3 mark, 2.44 goals-against average and .920 save percentage), while Dan Boyle anchors the defense and serves as one of the team’s best playmakers (31 assists in 62 games).
This week, the Sharks kick off a six-game homestand with a match Tuesday against slumping Colorado, followed by tougher games against Detroit Thursday and Dallas Saturday.
THE TRADE DEADLINE SCOOP
Flyers quiet on deadline day, but pickups of Kris Versteeg, Nick Boynton good enough for one of league’s deepest teams
Acquisitions of Max Lapierre, Chris Higgins a boost for Canucks’ fourth line, team speed
Contract extension for Jimmy Howard was Wings’ only roster news
Adding Eric Brewer makes Bolts’ blueline better than the 17th overall ranking in recent THN list of NHL’s best-to-worst defense corps
Pre-deadline deals for Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley make Bruins one of biggest trade winners
Sharks made their big changes much earlier, picking up Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood; their surge through the standings shows GM Doug Wilson was wise to do so
Penguins are trade winners based on landing James Neal alone
Bringing in veteran Jason Arnott solves Caps’ issues on second line
Chris Campoli in for Boynton is a great upgrade for improving Hawks
Dealing for an impact forward such as Dustin Penner without taking anyone off the roster is what good deadline deals are all about
Yotes took on more salary term with Rusty Klesla, but will benefit from giving him more opportunity than he had this year in Columbus
Pre-deadline deals for Brent Sopel, James Wisniewski will have to suffice for Habs
Keeping Brad Richards can’t help but bolster Stars’ playoff push, but what will verdict be if he leaves as a UFA come summertime?
Ex-Thrasher Freddy Modin a nice complementary piece to keep Flames in post-season mix
Wild did nothing to either keep up with Western Conference Joneses or replace injured Mikko Koivu
Mike Fisher fitting in well since coming over from Ottawa (three assists and four points in eight games), but is he enough to stop Preds’ mediocre play?
Ducks were one of the most active teams in terms of trades; still going to be in dogfight just to make playoffs
Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto will help hot Jackets – the question is, is it too late for them to make up enough ground in standings?
Arrival of Bryan McCabe will improve Blueshirts’ offense; trouble is, injury to Martin Biron came just after trade deadline and puts more pressure on Henrik Lundqvist
Adding Brad Boyes to group of so-so forwards an unexpected bonus for plucky Sabres
As usual, Canes GM Jim Rutherford made his trades well in advance of deadline; unfortunately, Carolina has won just three of past 10 games
Trading away Brewer and Boyes shows Blues have all but given up on this year; but deal that sent Erik Johnson to Avs for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk a definite win
Leafs have improved as they’ve shipped out Versteeg, Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin; their annual spring improvement looks to be “too little, too late” once again
Hard to understand many of Thrashers’ moves; none have put a halt to their freefall through the standings
Landing David Steckel from Caps for Arnott is a minor coup; coach Jacques Lemaire continues to be team’s most valuable person
Panthers GM Dale Tallon demolished team’s culture (and cut more than $6.8 million from payroll); their off-season will be among the more interesting to keep an eye on
No team in the league worse right now than the Avs: why did they hang onto coveted D-man John-Michael Liles?
Isles retained blueliner Radek Martinek despite interest from teams; injuries prevented GM Garth Snow from clearing out even more veterans for draft picks and prospects
Chris Phillips, Chris Neil fortunate to survive huge roster shake-up; given slim prospects of Sens’ immediate improvement, maybe fortunate isn’t the right word
Experts are split on how well Oilers did in Dustin Penner deal, but at least GM Steve Tambellini knows he needs young defensemen
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.
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