Getting Big?

[caption id="attachment_54" align="alignright" width="199" caption="AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill"][/caption]

The Sharks have made some huge moves this offseason, but there’s something left to do: get bigger and grittier. The Sharks are poised to be an even more consistent and dynamic team than ever with Havlat and Burns. Handzus will add solid play on the PK and in the defensive zone, but I hope GM Doug Wilson isn’t finished adding to the depth chart just yet.

The Sharks need to play a more physical game if they want to win in the playoffs. It’s that simple. I hated watching Vancouver’s monster checker Victor Oreskovich manhandle the Sharks during the Western Conference Finals. And look at what Boston did to Vancouver. Marchand, Chara, and Recchi outworked and outhit the Canucks—a team that relies heavily on production from its top players (much like the Sharks).

Getting Handzus was a step in the right direction.  A great next move would be giving some more ice time to prospect Brandon Mashinter. The 6 ft 4 235 lb left wing is the only enforcer with a chance of cracking this roster, and the team could definitely use a guy who isn’t afraid of dropping the gloves.  He impressed in a few bouts last season, and look for him to build on that come training camp.  In 09-10 playing for the Worcester Sharks, Mashinter racked up 117 penalty minutes and 22 goals, showing that he can chip in on offense as well.  Mashinter could become an imposing player and will be sure to protect the Sharks’ top guns, if he’s given a full time spot.

With $5 million left in cap space, don’t be surprised if Wilson adds another depth player from the free agent pool. A really smart move would be signing John Madden, who at 38, can still score (12 goals last season), kill penalties like no other, win draws, and provide serious leadership (3 cups, former captain, Selke winner) without a heavy price tag. If the Sharks establish a scary checking line (something like Mashinter-Madden-Murray/Desjardins), look out for them to become the dominant playoff team they are meant to be.

Flashback: Mashinter throwing em in juniors in '05

This guy's a rookie? -- Mashinter with one of the league's best fights from last year

Madden's still got it

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