As we get closer and closer to the pivotal NHL trade deadline of the 2011-2012 season, more and more eyes are turning towards the San Jose Sharks, who could use some vast upgrades to boost their club.
With injuries to several key players, the Sharks are lacking depth offensively and have put up very little goals in the past few games.
So, that should mean that the Sharks should try to make a trade to increase their depth. There are several players that GM Doug Wilson surely has in mind to move at the deadline, but none more obvious than frustrated goaltender Antero Nittymaki.
Read on to see which players might join Nittymaki on the trading block.
4. Antero Nittymaki
Unfortunately, the above photo is just about the only good memory that Sharks fans have about Antero Nittymaki. In a playoff game started by Antti Niemi against the Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks quickly found themselves down 4-0. Nittymaki came in to relieve Niemi, and the Sharks came back to win it 6-5.
That was the last time Nittymaki has played in a Sharks uniform. Injuries have hampered him throughout this year. With the strong play of backup Thomas Greiss and starter Antti Niemi, the Sharks have shown that they can win without "Nitty."
Nittymaki has already been put on and cleared waivers, so it is clear that no team wants to make a gamble on him. He has made it clear to the team that he wants to play, so GM Doug Wilson will have no other choice than to trade him.
3. Dan Boyle
Boyle is a player who I have stressed that the Sharks trade him ASAP. Although he leads the Sharks defensemen in points (29) and is a veteran presence on the blue line, his play has slacked off dramatially from years past and he is hogging up space for the fine young defensemen that the Sharks have.
At age 35 and at $7 million per year through 2014, the Sharks have to trade him while they still can.
Plus, the Sharks have two young defensemen (Justin Braun and Jason Demers) who can step it up in Boyle's place. And doesn't Brent Burns play a similar game to Boyle?
The Sharks need a top-six forward to add some depth offensively, and dangling Dan Boyle out to teams may just give them the guy they need.
2. Jim Vandermeer
Vandermeer's signing was one that I really looked forward to. He appeared to be a physical veteran defenseman who could really help the Sharks with his experience.
Instead, Vandermeer hasn't even gotten off the bench. He has played in just 11 games and has more penalty minutes (14) than points (3).
This is a real disappointment. Look for GM Doug Wilson to try to ship him off in a package deal with some other players, or just for a draft pick.
1. Colin White
This is another signing that I really looked forward to. Like Vandermeer, Colin White is an experienced, hard-hitting defenseman who can bring some much-need experience to the Sharks blue line.
And like Vandermeer, he has more penalty minutes (10) than points (2). Even worse, in 28 games played, White has managed a minus-one +/- ratio.
Like Vandermeer, look for Doug Wilson to try and trade him for a draft pick or combine him with others in a package deal.
Eric He is an NHL Featured Columnist for Sports-at-Work.