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Sharks Gameday: Sneak Preview

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San Jose Sharks (36-11-9) at St. Louis Blues (25-22-9), 5 PM EST

Barring any sort of insane Ilya Kovalchuk theories, it looks like the Sharks are going to be getting stay-at-home defenseman Niclas Wallin. I pinged my FTR mates Bob and Cory (both Hurricanes fans at Canes Country) and they both agreed that he's steady and reliable without being flashy, though he scored some big goals during the Carolina Cup run.

Steady, reliable. That's exactly what the Sharks need right now. Assuming no defensemen are let go, the future pairings could look like this:

Boyle, Murray
Blake, Vlasic
Huskins/Demers, Wallin

I'd prefer to put Demers out there with a steady veteran like Wallin, as it provides a safety net for Demers as he grows into his offensive role. Huskins can be steady but his brain farts usually are those of the monumental fashion, and I'd rather see Demers out there with someone less error-prone.

Does McLellan trust Demers? As a 5/6 guy with upside and a good outlet pass, I'd hope so, and hopefully Wallin could show the kid some good defensive habits.

Update: Here's what Bob from Canes Country said about Wallin:

Wallin has been with the Canes for quite some time (2000) and has never played for another NHL team.  He's a good sized, stay at home defenseman who can play with a physical edge.  That's not to say that he will line up guys at the blueline for huge hits, but he can clear the crease and hold players up along the boards with the best of them.

He has scored some huge goals during the playoffs, (hence the nickname, "the secret weapon"), but he's pretty offensively challenged for the most part. You won't see him on the point of the powerplay for sure.  He's not necessarily a great skater, so he won't be skating the puck out of his zone with ease, but his first pass out is usually pretty good and he's not overly prone to making dumb mistakes.  (although he does make them from time to time, but don't we all?).

As long as you don't expect too much, you won't be disappointed.  Like I said, he's a good stay at home guy who will use his muscle when needed.


The Blue I'd Like On My Team: Paul Kariya, cause he's Asian and that'd be cool to put him on a line with Devin Setoguchi (Japanese) and Manny Malhotra (Indian). That'd be a first, right?

Prediction: Sharks 3, Blues 1. I don't care who scores because a free pizza isn't involved.