Sharks news and notes

By Jeff Zank

Boyes traded to Bruins

Acquired before the trading deadline last season in a trade with Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sharks traded prospect center Brad Boyes at the deadline to the Boston Bruins in a three-way trade also involving the Buffalo Sabres which sent Curtis Brown and future considerations to San Jose.

Last season’s trade sent Owen Nolan to the Maple Leafs in return for Boyes, center Alyn McCauley, and a pick that eventually became Steve Bernier, after a trade on draft day with none other than the Boston Bruins. This season Boyes was traded to Boston in return for former Shark defenseman Jeff Jillson, who was shipped to Buffalo with a ninth round pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft for Curtis Brown and Andy Delmore. Delmore was subsequently sent to Boston for future considerations.

Originally drafted by the Leafs in the first round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft with the 24th overall pick, Boyes was unable to crack San Jose’s lineup out of training camp this season. Boyes was again assigned to the Cleveland Barons of the AHL, and was third in AHL scoring upon recall to San Jose March 7th with 25 goals and 35 assists in 60 games. In his lone game for San Jose March 7th, Boyes went scoreless playing on the team’s third line, in what may have been a showcase for his eventual trade to the Bruins. Known for his soft hands, passing abilities and playmaking skills at the AHL level, the 6’0” 181-pound Boyes was a step slow at the NHL level, lacking acceleration to break away from backcheckers and defensemen. Boyes’ lack of size also appeared to hurt him when attempting to protect the puck in tight situations, forcing him to rush passes, which generally still found their target.

Recalled with AHL leading scorer Miroslav Zalesak after the speedy and versatile Marco Sturm went down to injury, the acquisition of Brown helped replace Sturm more than either Boyes or Zalesak could. The impressive play of San Jose centers Alyn McCauley and Wayne Primeau, neither of whom were impact players on their previous clubs, also made Boyes expendable. Similar to Boyes, Primeau was once considered a step slow, but has gained speed in recent seasons which has culminated with eight goals and 19 assists in 64 assists so far this season, all career highs.

Unlike the 6’4” 230-pound Primeau, Boyes does not have size as an excuse complicating speed, meaning Boyes will have to gain additional muscle with the Boston organization in order to become the second line center many hoped Boyes would eventually become.

Ehrhoff and Zalesak to Cleveland

After the Boyes trade, Zalesak was subsequently returned to Cleveland, as was German prospect defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. Zalesak failed to score in his two-game NHL recall, but is expected to continuing contributing offensively with the Barons, returning as the AHL’s leading scorer. Ehrhoff, who played in the Young Stars Game at the NHL All-Star Game this season, had one goal and 11 assists in 41 games for San Jose, but was replaced by the 25-year-old defenseman Jim Fahey and recent acquisition of Jason Marshall from the Minnesota Wild, whom general manager Doug Wilson was happy to add for playoff-push depth.

“We are pleased to add Jason to our organization as he provides experience, character and depth,” said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. “He comes from a fine organization and has been well coached. He fits the mold for what we look for in a player.”

Prior to being reassigned to Cleveland, Ehrhoff had been a healthy scratch in seven of the Sharks last 17. In Cleveland, the offensively gifted Ehrhoff should receive ample playing time as the Barons push to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

No longer prospects

Defensemen Tom Preissing, Rob Davison, and Robert Mulick, as well as forward Miroslav Zalesak are no longer considered prospects by Hockey’s Future’s criteria.

Preissing played in his 42nd NHL game this season and currently has two goals and 12 assists in 58 games this season having cracked the Sharks lineup out of training camp in his professional rookie season. The 25-year-old Preissing figures to be a contributing defenseman in the Sharks lineup for years to come because of his solid skating abilities and strong hockey sense.

Davison, who played 15 games last season tallying a goal and two assists, has played 55 games this season, surpassing the 65 games over two NHL seasons necessary to no longer be considered a prospect at Hockey’s Future. A physical defensive defenseman willing to drop the gloves, Davison has added three assists so far this season and looks to be San Jose’s seventh defenseman down the stretch.

Mulick, who has never played a game in the NHL, has played over 240 AHL games. The defensive defenseman currently has one goal and four assists in 49 games this season, giving Mulick one goal and 12 assists in 256 goals over his career. Not likely to crack the NHL unless he corrects his skating stride, Mulick does provide veteran leadership to the Cleveland Barons lineup.

Unlike Mulick, Zalesak is a high-profile scoring threat in the AHL who has amassed 94 goals and 91 assists in 247 AHL games as of March 16th. Zalesak’s NHL totals stand at one goal and two assists in 12 games. Despite leading the AHL in scoring, Zalesak may not find a way to San Jose unless he attempts to fight through checks, dive less, and finish checks when forechecking. At the AHL level, Zalesak has appeared completely disinterested in playing defense with much vigor, rarely forechecking with the intensity he has shown at the NHL level.

Kevin Wey contributed to this article.