Unlike the Trump administration, the Sharks sure don’t have a lot of patience with Russians, with the notable exception of Evgeni “John” Nabokov. This goes way back. Sergei Makarov and Igor Larionov were two of the best hockey players who ever played, and they single handedly gave the Sharks franchise their first real playoff run in 1994, which helped cement the new fanbase. They were gone within 18 months. Alexander Korolyuk was an exciting, tiny man with a tenaciousness around the net that was fun to watch. He never stuck. Victor Kozlov had the skill and size to be a dominant player at a time when Keith Primeau was the envy of every GM. Darryl Sutter thought he lollygagged and he was shipped off. Andrei Zyuzin, 1st round pick...gone after a couple seasons. Andrei Nazarov was, well, a disturbed and terrifying golem. He stuck around a lot longer than he should have, probably.
The Sharks aversion to drafting or developing Russians was an overreaction to the dumbfuck insanity of the Chuck Grillo era, where the Sharks VP of Player Personnel or whatever they were calling him was racing around the former Soviet Union and Scandinavia, confidently adding whoever was in eyesight to his top 20. I’m pretty sure they drafted their taxi driver in Minsk in the late 1st round in 1995.
So when Doug Wilson selected Nikolay Goldobin in the 1st round in 2014, it was notable. The Sharks were patient with him, letting him develop in the Finnish league and in the AHL. He was averaging almost a point per game for the Barracuda in the AHL this season when he was called up, helping them to the best record in the league.
But that callup was apparently to showcase him for other scouts, because he got shipped off to Vancouver for a guy that Tommy Wingels needed to pound the shit out of a while back.
I don’t have much of an opinion about Jannik Hansen. He seems to be a decent bottom 6 guy whose stats last season were inflated thanks to playing with the Sedins. He’s 30 and about to be an UFA. His fancy stats are average. There’s no real upside to him. This is a Win Now move, full stop. Wilson apparently thinks we needed more bottom six depth and versatility in case of injury. Ok. Sure. Goldobin wasn’t going to help up get back to the Finals this year, probably. I doubt Hansen will make much of a difference on that front either. In two years, the Sharks will probably not be as good as they are now, and I guess we’ll get to see if Goldobin was a Real Boy or not.
The Green Guys
Remember those green guys?
I wasn’t sure if they’re still doing that shit around the penalty box up in Vancouver, because that would be very sad if they were. Everything about the Canucks is pretty sad. It turns out they aren’t. The league had asked them to stop, and they announced they “retired” from that schtick in 2014.
Canucks @ Sharks
7:30 PM Pacific
Prediction: I fully expect Goldobin to look like the second coming of Pavel Bure tonight, while Hansen hacks Loui Eriksson behind the play or something. Whatever.