Cancelled season could hurt several Sharks

Cancelled season could hurt several Sharks
December 24, 2012, 10:45 am
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The 2012-13 NHL season is on life support, and the cord will likely be pulled some time in the middle of January if the league and players’ association can’t agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by then.

A lost season would be beneficial to absolutely no one, but there are certain players that it would damage more than others. That includes several on the San Jose Sharks’ roster.

Here, in no particular order, are the five Sharks with the most to lose should the league lose its second season in nine years.

Ryane Clowe - In his seven years in a Sharks sweater, Ryane Clowe has developed into one of the better power forwards in the league while also leading in the locker room. Still, it was a down year for the rugged forward in 2011-12. Clowe saw his point total go from 62 in 2010-11 to just 45 in 2011-12, as he battled through a number of injuries, including a concussion that was only revealed by the club after the season. The 30-year-old was due to make $4 million in 2012-13, and is an unrestricted free agent next summer. It would be hard to imagine him making that kind of money on a multiple-year deal considering his performance last year, injury history, and fearless warrior mentality – even if he is such an important locker room presence.

Michal Handzus - A lost season would likely mean that veteran center Michal Handzus, set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has played his last game in the NHL. The Sharks erred when they signed him to a two-year deal in the summer of 2011, as Handzus never found his groove and was benched at the end of the season and in the playoffs, although it was later revealed that he had been battling a hip injury throughout the season. Even if a shortened NHL season begins in mid-January, Handzus may not be in the team’s plans, depending on the progression of James Sheppard in Worcester.

Jason Demers - After he showed such promise in 2010-11, Jason Demers’ development took a step backwards last season. This year, Demers seems to be having a solid season in Finland, where he has five goals and 16 assists for 21 points in 30 games for Karpat in the competitive SM-liiga. He’s still just 24 years old, so Demers could very well rebound and become a solid NHL blueliner going into restricted free agency this summer. But, he’ll need a season to show that last year was just a bump in the road.

Dan Boyle - Forget for a second that Dan Boyle was set to make nearly $7 million this season, after already losing a year of his prime in 2004-05 – preventing him from defending his Stanley Cup championship with Tampa Bay. The 36-year-old knows time is not on his side if he wants to make a run at another championship, which is likely the reason he has been among the more outspoken players throughout the work stoppage. Boyle is signed through 2013-14, but a full no-trade clause last season is now just a limited no-trade clause and Boyle’s name was tossed around in a few trade rumors this summer.

Thomas Greiss - The Sharks like both of their young goaltenders currently playing for Worcester, in 25-year-old Alex Stalock and 22-year-old Harri Sateri. Stalock, in particular, could be NHL-ready in 2013-14 to at least be Antti Niemi’s backup. Thomas Greiss had a decent season in 2011-12, but it was not enough for him to be considered a surefire future starter in the NHL. This season would have been a great opportunity for Greiss to show if he belongs in the league for good, especially if Niemi, who had an inconsistent 2011-12, got off to a slow start. Instead, a lost season could mean the Sharks would move on from Greiss and allow him to leave via unrestricted free agency while promoting Stalock.