Originally posted on Couch Tarts  |  Last updated 3/21/12
There was a good discussion on Twitter today regarding what changes could be made to the team should the Sharks' season end early. There were a lot of good ideas thrown around and I wanted to highlight a few for those who did not have a chance to participate earlier.

I want to thank SirSharkie, @xMostWanted559x, @shampeon, @joedunlavy, @stalockrox, @billythesid, @zeroindlugence, @mymclife, @shutter0punk for making this a compelling discussion.

Most of us agreed that the Sharks need to keep Thornton, Pavelski and Couture, no matter what. They are simply too valuable to let go. SirSharkie and I are also for keeping Marleau, although that sentiment was not shared by all. I also argued that Clowe and Boyle would be worth keeping, which most folks  agreed with, but @ZeroIndulgence brought up some good points to the contrary. How can you keep that much of the core and call it change?

He advocated the following:
  • Move Boyle, Clowe, Murray, Handzus, and Niemi
  • Sign a shut down guy to play with Burns. 
  • Make Vlasic and Braun your second D paring. 
  • Bring in a WooShark like Petrecki or Doherty for your third pairing.
  • Stick Greiss in net as your starter.
You can then shuffle new guys into leadership rolls, like Pavs or Couture, while keeping the strongest part of the core intact. The moves free up cap space that could be used the bring in some much needed defensive depth and the team's make up changes in a way that could be beneficial. Admittedly, there are a few problems with this plan, but the general idea is sound. Don't blow it up, shake it up.

@Authoridomini, in a separate but related discussion, said that a lot of the issues with Niemi could potentially be attributed to the fact that "most of our core grew up in the organization with a goalie that wanted one thing (clear the shooters out from the lanes, let me see the shots)...and now are being stuck with a goalie that wants something completely different (block everything)...its a hard change to make after playing a certain way for a decade." Which brings up a very good point. The problem isn't necessarily Niemi, it's potentially Niemi in the Sharks' system. Something I've touched on previously as well. Change the men in front of him and you might start getting the results you want. The Sharks could potentially get solid goal tending out of Niemi, just by switching up some of the guys in front of him. For that to happen, some changes to the blue line are necessary.

Maybe what it will take to make this team truly succeed isn't whole sale change, but partial change. Move out what isn't working and bringing in new guys who can better fulfill those roles. Easier said than done of course, but far more reasonable then blowing the whole team up and starting from scratch. Even if the unthinkable happens, there's still a lot of potential in this team. It just needs a little help to get there.

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