Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Sharks Win Macklin Celebrini

Remember a few months when I preached about manifesting the number one overall pick?

I actually don't care. Because I do.

The San Jose Sharks officially won the Celebrini-bowl, and boy was it well-deserved. 

On June 28th at approximately 7:22pm Macklin Celebrini will be selected number one in the 2024 NHL draft to the San Jose Sharks, pulling #71 over his head for the first time as a Shark. 

Macklin Celebrini is going to immediately step foot in San Jose as the greatest thing to ever happen to the Bay Area.

Just pretend the Warriors ever existed. Okay?

Macklin Celebrini, according to Byron Bader's analytical database has a 99% chance to become a star in the NHL. We already knew that, though. Celebrini has been dominant at every level of hockey he's played at. All while being a year younger than his teammates and competition. Whether it was at Shattuck St. Mary's, the Chicago Steel, or Boston University, Celebrini was the best player on the ice at all times. And it was never really close.

Let's go back just two years. 

Macklin Celebrini played in 50 games for the Chicago Steel of the USHL. He scored 46 goals added to his 40 assists for 86 points. Yes, 86 points in 50 games. With Boston University, Celebrini put up disgusting numbers. He scored at a historic rate, which ultimately won him the Hobey Baker Award as the league's best player. With Boston he scored 32 goals and 32 assists in only 38 games played and was a +25. 

It may not be as smooth as "Tank for Bedard" but "Slackin for Macklin" mission accomplished alright.

The story can't get any better. Or could it... ?

Macklin Celebrini just so happened to be a San Jose Jr. Shark when he was 14 years old playing AAA hockey. That year? 94 points in 54 games! Like I said, every level he has played at he dominated in.

But wait, there's more.

Macklin's father, Rick, has worked for the Golden State Warriors since 2019 as their director of sports medicine and performance. He has an NBA Finals ring with the Warriors from 2022.

Macklin obviously is a generational talent on the ice. But off of it, it's nice to know he'll be more than comfortable in the area and around the city. I'm sure we are going to see him in and out of Warriors games as well, as it's been mentioned he has a great relationship with Draymond Green and other Warriors players.

Cheers to Macklin Celebrini. The future begins now.

Guess Who's Back? Back Again!

I know, I know. Where have I been? 

Long story, short, I recently graduated from college and the search for a professional career began.

Well... After my two games in the FPHL. Yes, The Fed. The lion's den some have called it.

After I graduated from Illinois State University, I took a short trip down south to Mississippi where I suited up for a two-game PTO with the Mississippi Sea Wolves. And what an experience that was. My first up-close experience playing professional hockey was an experience I will never forget. Playing in front of 5,000 people just across the street from the beach was pretty cool. Other than recording my first professional point, with an assist in my first game, obviously. 

In fact, I was hoping to return next season to the Sea Wolves. But that is now unlikely as I accepted a full-time job with Hilti North America as an Account Manager. I was honestly hoping I would get offered a job I wouldn't really be too crazy about.

That was not the case.

I genuinely don't believe I could have ended up in a better spot. I work for an amazing company, with even better coworkers. I enjoy showing up every day which is tough for many people to be able to say.

Not only that, I now coach Peewee AA hockey which I look forward to almost as much as I did playing.

Now that I finally feel situated with work, coaching, and being independent, I am looking forward to continuing this hobby of mine writing about my favorite NHL team. The San Jose Sharks. In fact, I am going to switch things up and chime in with other teams and news around the league outside of just the Sharks.

My goal is to upload at least one article a week for the next few weeks. Hopefully some weeks more. But for now, welcome back to Teal Takeaways.

We have A LOT to catch up about!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Debating Whether or Not to Trade Mackenzie Blackwood

Should the San Jose Sharks trade their star goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood?

That will be an interesting topic come this season's trade deadline.

Mackenzie Blackwood's record this season with the Sharks is a bit off-putting. However, that shouldn't take away from the fact that Blackwood has been terrific all season long for San Jose. He has kept this team in games night in and night out, while continuously being left out to dry by the horrendous team in teal on a nightly basis.

The San Jose Sharks need to retain and sign Mackenzie Blackwood.

Blackwood fits the San Jose Sharks' futuristic needs. He is just 26 years old which happens to be around the same time that NHL goaltenders, usually, begin to hit the prime of their careers. Blackwood has been rejuvenated thus far in San Jose. Looking more and more lik
e the Mackenzie Blackwood that Devils praised from 2018-2021. If the Sharks can continue to draft well, and the development of highly regarded prospects such as Eklund, Thrun, Smith, and more continue to thrive, then Blackwood would be a perfect fit skill-wise, but also age-wise, on this Sharks roster for the long-term. Getting rid of him would likely be a pretty significant mistake.

Must I remind you who Adin Hill is?

The San Jose Sharks should trade Mackenzie Blackwood.

Mackenzie Blackwood is 2-9-2 and averages 3.80 goals per game with a .897 save percentage. Not numbers teams dream of their goalies putting up. Luckily for the Sharks, some of Blackwood's performances have generated buzz around the league that can potentially lead to teams around the league wishing to upgrade their goalie tandem heading into the postseason. Whether that be as a potential starter in the crease or as a reliable backup, Mackenzie Blackwood will be on a lot of team's radars. The Sharks can move Blackwood to a contender and depending on who that may be, can continue to build their draft capital up even more. I don't think it's unrealistic to move Blackwood for a second or third-round pick. Or even an expendable forward/defenseman. 

What do you think the Sharks should/will do with Mackenzie Blackwood?

Let me know in the comments!

Monday, November 13, 2023

What if the Sharks Sign William Nylander?

Can William Nylander be a legitimate option for the San Jose Sharks to sign during the summer of 2024?

The Sharks, who will have over $15 million of cap space after this current season concludes, can be looking to make a splash. Signing Willy Nylander can be exactly that. 

Nylander, who currently holds a cap hit of just under $7 million is looking to get paid even more. And well deserved, indeed. After posting career-highs in goals (40), assists (47), and points (87), the Toronto Maple Leafs are stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

Except that rock has become a lot bigger. 

Nylander entered this season with just one year left on his current deal, with no new extension completed. Nylander’s camp is looking for a $10 million AAV. The Maple Leafs? Not so much.

Unfortunately for the Leafs organization, Nylander is off to a phenomenal start to the season. Through 15 games, Willy’s potted 10 goals and 22 points. 

Yes, a 120-point pace if he can sustain this for 67 more games. Which I believe he will. Get it?

Anyway, the Leafs are in “Win-Now” mode. They can’t “win now” if they trade Nylander for a return that doesn’t equal the production he contributes to the team’s success. Ignore the fact he has been a main piece of the locker room for the past several years and trading him away will likely affect other stars like Matthews, Marner, and Reilly. 

There’s a lot to gamble with in terms of a William Nylander trade. The Leafs may be forced to ride it out. 

Losing Nylander for nothing would be such a shame. 

Unless you’re a Sharks fan…

Mike Grier should jump on the opportunity if Nylander hits the market. He would speed up the rebuild immensely, and be here for the long run as he is only 27 years old. A seven-year at $70+ million would be a no-brainer for this Sharks team. 

Some might say that Nylander would want to play for a contender. Why would he come to San Jose?

This is why: Nylander, Eklund, Smith, Bordeleau, Hertl, Couture, Celebrini, Cagnoni, Halttunen, Addison, Ferraro, Thrun, Blackwood, etc.

This roster won’t be too far off very soon. Nylander will be in the playoffs with this team, shortly, And for a long time, too.

Just imagine signing Nylander after drafting Macklin Celebrini first overall, with the addition of Will Smith to enter the 2024-25 campaign. Almost sounds too good to be true.

But at the same time, there also is a very big and realistic opportunity…

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Comparing Sharks with and without Couture, Hertl

The rumor mill surrounding the San Jose Sharks as of recent weeks involves the uncertainty regarding the futures of long-time centers, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. While I don’t see a world in which they are both moved any time soon, I wouldn’t completely count out that possibility, either.

Sharks GM, Mike Grier, mentioned that if either Couture or Hertl ever asked to be moved, he would “listen.”

However, the season just started and luckily for fans, both players remain in teal sweaters. The clock is ticking, though, and the two aren’t getting any younger. Especially Couture who will turn 35 later this season, who thrives most during playoff hockey. Making him a notable trade candidate for many playoff contenders.

Let’s compare the two outcomes, being the San Jose Sharks with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, and the Sharks without them.

Option A: San Jose Sharks with Logan Couture & Tomas Hertl

This option is more than likely the favorite moving forward. I would say at least for the next season or two. But, you never know, as this sport is a business and anything can certainly happen.

Keeping Couture and Hertl means that the Sharks retain their 1-2 punch down the middle. This also means players like Thomas Bordeleau continue to remain on the outside looking in. Using other terms, keeping them both takes away vital opportunities to transition promising prospects into the NHL. If Couture continues putting up 55-65 points, it will be hard to push him down to a 3rd line center role. I’m not sure Couture would want that either.

So that would likely mean Will Smith would debut as the Sharks third line center this time of the year, next season. And still, where does Bordeleau fit in?

The Sharks would need to move players around, and even push others to play outside of their comfort zones, switching between center and wing, in order to fit all of the necessary players onto this roster.

An idea of what the Sharks forward lineup can look like on the opening night of 2024-25 can be:


Eklund             Hertl           Duclair

Bordeleau      Couture      Barabanov

Zadina           W. Smith     Zetterlund

G. Smith        Peterson      Kunin

Now, this could definitely be a stretch. However, I do anticipate trades or some sort of movement either at the trade deadline or during the offseason, involving Mike Hoffman and Nico Sturm.

I would rather the Sharks breed Bordeleau into a two-way centermen instead of a winger. Smith and Bordeleau as the Sharks' next number one and two centers don't sound too shabby at all.

Option B: San Jose Sharks Without Logan Couture & Tomas Hertl

This definitely holds a possibility of happening in the near future. The Sharks could absolutely decide to just tear down and really let the kids play, after all.  With Eklund and Bordeleau already playing early-season NHL games, and Will Smith, Quentin Musty, and hopefully Filip Bystedt all not too far away, pressure is going to be on the front office to make moves that will allow these types of players to actually play and reach their potentials in the NHL. 

I know, I know. “Quentin Musty might start the season with the Barracuda.” 

Stop. Stop it now.

Musty showed enough in this year’s training camp to earn himself a spot on the main roster, in my opinion. His 6 '2 frame offers him the leverage that neither Eklund nor Bordeleau had when they came in.

As for Smith, he’s turning pro once his year with Boston College is over and will play NHL games at the end of this season. Come next year, we all know he takes his spot on the main roster.

With that being said, a Couture & Hertl-less Sharks forward group:

Eklund      W. Smith        Duclair

Zadina      Bordeleau    Barabanov

Musty          Kunin         Zetterlund

G. Smith     Peterson      Robins

Again, definitely a stretch. But how much fun does this lineup look?

I personally would have a blast watching these NHL games. As much as it would hurt not seeing 48 and 39 in teal, this would definitely be entertaining for fans league-wide. 

The biggest concern regarding the state of the franchise is just having a plan. There needs to be a plan in place with what the Sharks are going to do with their young players and prospects moving forward; if keeping Couture and Hertl for the next few years is the route they are going to take. Or if they are going to move the two centers and more importantly, when.

So what do you think? What will the Sharks do with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl?

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Manifesting The Sharks 1st Overall Pick

As Sharks fans, being among the league leaders in the losses column is both - a gift, and a curse. We don't always appreciate the hard times. The hard times aren't fun. The hard times aren't what makes us jump out of our seats. And the hard times are definitely not what makes us want to purchase tickets which also leads to purchasing more snacks and beverages at today's Sharks game. 

Like Sly Stallone once said via Rocky Balboa, "It ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." 

That's the message we as fans, and the Sharks as players, should be taking away from seasons like the ones we have been facing over the past several years.

The San Jose Sharks have been known to use different kinds of "R" words in place of "Rebuild."

Whether it was 'reconstruct', 'refurbish', or even my personal favorite, 'retool'.

Why? Don't ask me.

Instead, we should be more like the Chicago Blackhawks. And really just manifest getting the number one selection in the next draft. Maybe then, it will happen.

The Blackhawks, for example, dumped a few key players from their 2022-23 and also their 2021-22 roster, too, in hopes of tanking as much as humanely possible. It began with trading away notable players Alex DeBrincat and the promising Kirby Dach. Then deciding to not even qualify-offer Dylan Strome.

They wanted to go into the 2022-23 season as terrible as they could be.

Once the following deadline came they would eventually move more key players in Sam Lafferty and Jake McCabe. And shortly after... Patrick Kane.

Tank for Bedard was officially on. And you're damn right it worked.

If the Chicago Blackhawks can make it happen, so can the San Jose Sharks.

I'm not saying let's trade all of our players. Although it wouldn't be the worst idea. All I'm saying is let's all just accept the fact that these things happen in professional sports. Just accept it. Be okay with it. And embrace it. Once we are able to do these things, I can guarantee we will get rewarded.

It's time for the Sharks to be rewarded for once. We were so good for so long. We've been paying our dues. We haven't roster dumped like other teams have. We have at least tried to go into every season trying to make the playoffs. Even if we had a 0.0% chance. 

'Tank for Bedard' is retired. How about a new one?

"How about us?" The San Jose Sharks.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Hertl? Couture? Who is the Sharks Number One Center?

Over the past few seasons, there has been a bit of back and forth as to who is the “go-to” center for this team. The question remains, “Who is the Sharks 1C?”

I can’t quite give an exact answer right this second. Logan Couture has only skated once over the past few weeks, as a result of a lower-body injury he suffered during offseason training. It is unclear as to what exactly this injury is and we don’t know how long it will take for him to get his conditioning and timing back to 100%.

Tomas Hertl is likely to be the Sharks' main center this upcoming season. At least for the time being. He has looked sharp and in great shape since returning to the Bay Area. He is also significantly younger than Couture, whose time is winding down.

But, Logan Couture has been the Sharks' best center the past few years, despite the Sharks continuously placing Tomas Hertl in that role. Let’s rewind back to just the past two seasons. In 2021-2022 Logan Couture scored 56 points in 77 games. Tomas Hertl scored 64 points in a full 82 games.

(I am going to ignore plus/minus statistics because of how awful the Sharks have been. Every player is going to have a minus rating).

Continuing on, you may be wondering why I decided to look at those numbers considering the fact Hertl contributed more offensively than Couture. But let’s take a deeper dive into those numbers. Couture played five fewer games than Hertl where he definitely could have reached the 60-point mark. Along with that, Hertl played the majority of that campaign with Timo Meier on his right wing. The same Timo Meier who scored a career-high 35 goals and 76 points. There have been games that season where Alexander Barabonov even joined those two over stretches of the season.

Logan Couture? Well, sometimes he played with Barabonov. Others? Noah Gregor? Nick Bonino? Jonathan Dahlen? My point is, that the Sharks gave Hertl a consistent elite NHL player to play with while they rotated Couture’s wing throughout the entire season. Some of those players would not have cracked 90% of other NHL rosters or aren’t even in the league anymore. 

Couture still finished, right behind Hertl in the points column. After playing with mid-AHLers and with a handful of fewer games.

Fast forward to 2022-23. Couture primarily played with Alexander Barabonov on his wing. He played all 82 games for the first time since 2014-15 and recorded the second-best season of his career, point-wise with 67. 27 of which were goals.  

Hertl on the other hand, recorded 22 goals and 63 points. Still playing the majority of the season with Timo Meier until Meier was eventually moved to New Jersey. Once Meier was gone, Hertl was stuck in a slump and it took a while for him to get out of it. 

It’s not just about who they are playing with. It’s who they are playing against, that matters more. Logan Couture is always placed against the other team’s best lines and is the Sharks’ go-to guy for shutdown defense. He was among the league’s elite two-way centers during his younger years. He still carries the burden of defensive responsibilities. Many of Couture’s zone starts begin in the defensive zone. While Hertl’s are primarily started in the offensive zone.

If you take all of this into consideration, it is really impressive how Couture still manages to put up similar, or even more points than Tomas Hertl at this stage in Logan’s career. I genuinely believe if the Sharks gave Logan more offensive minutes, with someone like Timo Meier on his wing, he could have easily put up a few more 70-point seasons. 

It’s not that Tomas Hertl isn’t a good player. He absolutely is. I just think Sharks fans and sometimes even the front office tends to overrate him. They act like he is some superstar player in the league. Though he is not. Over the course of Hertl’s 664 NHL games, he managed to produce 450 points. Which comes out to 0.67 points per game. Throughout Couture’s 927 NHL games, he’s put up 700 points, exactly. Couture’s points per game comes out to 0.75. 

Logan Couture has had a bit of bad luck during his NHL career. And I’m not talking about the injuries. That’s a conversation for another day. I’m talking about the fact that when he broke into the league as a rookie, he played behind Joe Thornton for several years until Jumbo’s decline became apparent. Once he managed to become the Sharks’ true number-one centermen, it wasn’t too long after they began giving Hertl those starts. 

Perhaps it was just poor timing. Should we blame Jumbo? Darn it Joe!

Anyway, I feel that Couture was asked to do so much defensively that he was never given enough leash offensively to produce more offense than he did. 700 NHL points is no easy task, however, I definitely feel it could have been more if he wasn’t overlooked so much.

Again, people may think I’m crazy. I know he’s played his entire career with the Sharks. I know he’s the reigning Team Captain.

I just think the Sharks replaced him as the number-one center prematurely. That’s all. 

Coming into this season, which begins this week, Tomas Hertl will obviously take on the number one role. And as he should. Couture is going to turn 35 years old this season. Hertl will turn 30. It was going to happen eventually. I do hope Hertl has a comeback season. He’ll probably play with Eklund on his wing to fill in Timo Meier’s absence. Hopefully, the two are able to build chemistry together and Eklund can have a strong start to his NHL career.

When Couture returns which will likely be the second game of the year, I just want him to remain as healthy as possible, and put together another strong season. I hope nothing but the best for the Sharks 1-2 punch down the middle.

Who do you think the Sharks' number one center is? And has been over the past few seasons? Hertl? Couture? Let me know in the comments!

Sharks Win Macklin Celebrini

Remember a few months when I preached about manifesting the number one overall pick? I actually don't care. Because I do. The San Jose S...