extension to return for at least two more years as head coach of the San
Jose Sharks. Ever since Sutter took over the coaching position from Al
Sims, the Sharks have been building a “Darryl Sutter team.” They have made
some major trades and free agent signings in order to bring in Darryl
Sutter type players. During Sutter’s reign, the Sharks have dealt many
players who simply would not have fit in Sutter’s system. Over the past few
years, Sharks fans have seen the likes of Viktor Kozlov, Andrei Zyuzin,
Andrei Nazarov, Ville Peltonen, Vlastimil Kroupa, etc.. leave town.
Meanwhile, the Sharks have brought in players like Mike Ricci, Gary Suter,
Niklas Sundstrom, Stephane Matteau, Bryan Marchment, Dave Lowry, etc.. who
all fit nicely into Sutter’s system. Coupled with the young guns in the
Sharks’ system (Friesen, Stuart, Sturm, Marleau, Korolyuk, and the list
goes on), the Sharks have built a solid team with a great blend of
veterans and young stars. It showed last season when the Sharks were able
to get past the first round for the first time in the Sutter era.
to continue to build on their SOLID foundation. Had Sutter left, it would
have left a huge hole for the Sharks to fill. The Sharks organization believed in
Sutter’s system, and they have committed to winning that way. Had Sutter
left, the last three years of acquisitions might become unfruitful. All
coaches have unique styles, and the Sharks current roster of players fit
Darryl Sutter’s coaching style perfectly. A different coach would have
most likely equaled changes in personnel for the Sharks and disruption in
team chemistry. Now with Sutter back, the Sharks can deal with their
plethora of restricted free agents. The top names that head the list
include Owen Nolan, Steve Shields, Patrick Marleau, and Niklas Sundstrom
(I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others). Since they are restricted free
agents, the Sharks will get compensation for each lost player. I believe
the rule is one first round draft pick for each million dollar (per year,
averaged) on the offer sheet with a maximum of five 1st rounders. Nolan
will obviously attract attention, and he will be the Sharks #1 priority.
Shields is also a must sign. He is the goalie of the future and without
him, the Sharks will not go far next year. While Nabokov played well
during his late season stint, he cannot be counted on (yet) to be the number
one starter. If the Sharks can avoid holdouts, they will be able to start
the 2000/01 season off well. I remember a few years back when both Friesen
and Nolan had contract disputes that lasted until the start of the season.
The result was a bad start. I’m very optimistic for next year and I really
believe the Sharks have a chance to finish as high as fourth in the West
next year, and a chance to make even more noise in the playoffs.
To read an interview (on the official San Jose Sharks webpage) involving
Sutter and GM Dean Lombardi with local media after the announcement, click
Quick Sharks Update:
before last Thursday’s deadline. The Sharks came to terms with RW
Jonathan Cheechoo (29th), LW Eric LaPlante (65th), D Rob Davison (98th),
RW Miroslav Zalesak (104th), and D Robert Mulick (185th). The Sharks have
not come to terms with RW Mikael Samuelsson and D Jim Fahey, but foreign
and college players are exempt from the deadline. According to the San
Jose Mercury News, Brandon Coalter (the Sharks 5th round pick in 98) was
dropped from their reserve list last year.
5th to further his coaching career. Baxter has been Sutter’s top assistant
coach over the last three years. In 1999/00, Baxter was mainly responsible
for the team’s defensemen and the special team units.
to negotiate some sort of deal(s) with the expansion teams (I believe they
did it last year and only lost Alexei Yegorov to Nashville) and hopefully
not lose any key parts of the machine. I’m still a little unsure of the
whole protection process so I won’t throw my projected list.