Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Sharks Preview: Dalton Prout Autographed Card

This will likely be the preface to all of this year's Season Preview posts: 2020 is a different beast and requires adaptability; in my case, it means the joint posts with my "main/personal" blog will not be in the "player here/analysis there" format but rather the entire scope of the analysis will take place here and the player will have some sort of direct connection to what's written. Caveats: at this point, despite the season being set to start in Mid-January, several impact players haven't found a team yet and quite a few teams are currently above the salary cap, which means there is much maneuvering left to do.

One team that could use a little maneuvering is the San Jose Sharks (team links may earn me referral money if you buy from Amazon, player links lead to other posts on my blog): they are $4M under the salary cap with a near-empty prospect pool; their captain Logan Couture is 31, a Donald Trump fan, and signed for six years after this one at $8M per; star winger and scandal magnet Evander Kane is 29, signed until 2025 at $7M per year and just filed for bakruptcy; oft-injured defenseman Erik Karlsson, 30, will make $11.5M per season with a no-movement clause until 2027; 35-year-old Brent Burns will still carry a $9.8M cap hit for four more seasons after this one; Marc-Édouard Vlasic, 33, has a no-move as well and will pocket $7M until 2026; somehow, the team has nearly $8M between the pipes, just over $2M of Devan Dubnyk's final year and Martin Jones at $5.75M per, for three more years after the upcoming season. Most teams have one or two headaches, the Sharks seem intent on obtaining the most shots at a #1 draft pick for the next half-decade.

What makes their odds look good:
If Karlsson ever hits his peak level again, he's a definite game-changer, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and one of the best skaters in the world.

Question marks:
What was the point in Patrick Marleau returning? Can Dubnyk regain the form that should have gotten him a Hart or a Vezina Trophy in 2015? How low can they go?

There's a case to be made for nearly every NHL team that either the present can be hopeful or the future looks bright to some extent... I can't say that about San Jose, but I can remain optimistic becasue I just do not know them as well. I really haven't seen many of their games and their prospect pool is loaded with players I have never heard of, but upon a bit of research have been among the best at what they do, from John Leonard (22, LW, 37 points in 33 games at U-Mass) to Ryan Merkley (20, D, second-straight 70-point season in the OHL) to Brinson Pasichnuk (23, D, second-straight point-per-game season as Arizona State's captain). Still, that's just stuff I read, I don't recall seeing any of them play.

Eighth in the West Division.

You know who didn't deserve to get shelled by the Sharks after the 2019-20 season? Dalton Prout, who was concussed for most of the season after sacrificing himself for the team, like in this fight against Nicolas Deslauriers: Here he is as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, on card #530 from Panini's 2012-13 Score collection and Hot Rookies sub-set:
Not only does he also have a terrific "hockey name" in English (his native language), but it's also one of the best names in the league to French-speaking NHL fans, as the Daltons are a very famous fictitious criminal gang (very loosely based on historical characters) in the legendary Lucky Luke series of graphic novels and films, and "prout" is a funny word that can mean just about any "fun sound" from a car engine (struggling or not) to a honk to passing loud gas.

He sigend the card in blue sharpie in 2014-15 or 2015-16.

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