Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sharks Donate $650K, Jersey to Charity

Alexei Semenov and Me

The Sharks should have left Alexei Semenov in street clothes and signed this other guy, whoever he is.

According to Monday's San Jose Mercury News, the San Jose Sharks have signed two players from last year's roster.

One is Tomas Plihal, who almost assuredly takes over the all-important thirteenth forward spot while Torrey Mitchell is out. He is a solid two-way fourth line forward: a guy who isn't an asset but also isn't a liability, and can eat up six-plus minutes a game. Since the contract is reported at $500,000, they did not overpay for a player who knows the team and is an adequate role-player.

My only problem with this move is that a player of Plihal's talents will never be more than a role-player, and having him on the roster keeps a prospect from getting an opportunity to develop at the NHL level. It seems not to be a good trade-off when you consider that the fourteenth forward is not relied on for much.

Conversely, Alexei Semenov was signed for $650,000, and the Sharks might just as well have invested that cash in Bear Stearns and offered Semenov's jersey to some homeless guy. I have never seen anyone less qualified for a roster space in the nearly two decades I have been watching hockey.

Last season, Semenov rarely contributed on the offensive end and often contributed blown assignments on the defensive end. He is slow and unlike Douglas Murray, often out-of-position anyway. He also doesn't hit as hard or block shots as well as a man his size should.

If he has to be relied on, he will be no better than a minor-leaguer, who at least it could be argued would get better. I can only hope that the Sharks salary cap issues mean they will have to cut him before the season starts.

On that note, Kyle McLaren received his first action of the preseason. One can speculate this may have been to showcase him so someone will be willing to take on his considerable salary, or that the Sharks may be looking to trade someone else.I'm betting the former.

Why would they trade for someone to trade? That leaves out Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich. Why would they sign someone to trade him? That leaves out Rob Blake and Christian Ehrhoff, signed as free agents, as well as Douglas Murray and Marc-Eduoard Vlasic who signed extensions.

No way they trade a prospect with little value and a smaller contract. You can bet the house (if it hasn't been foreclosed on) McLaren will be waived and either claimed or sent to the minors.

(I originally wrote this article for Bleacher Report.)

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