There's a couple big surprises for the San Jose Sharks, or rather, surprises for fans of the Sharks. Thus far, the only big name linked to the Sharks has been Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets. While he's the biggest name out there, the noon pacific trade deadline is fast approaching and some other names are surfacing. There was a tenuous link to James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers a few days ago, but now confirmation comes from TSN's Darren Dreger:
Flyers still fielding calls on JVR.San Jose believed to have made an offer, but so far Philly isn't willing to move him.#tradecentre.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 27, 2012
That would be a big, big move for the Sharks. He's just three years into his career and put up big numbers in the playoffs last season (seven goals in 11 games). JVR is a little banged up this season, with injuries aplenty to limit his production, but he's an explosive and high-level player when healthy, and the injuries might make his availability open up a little bit. Taking that into account, it's still surprising, but not as much.
Even more surprising? The fact that Dreger also tweeted that the Sharks threw goaltender Antti Niemi into the trade talks. While this didn't sweeten the deal enough for the Flyers, it's very interesting to note. That means the Sharks are secure in going with Thomas Greiss as the starter moving forward. It's true that Niemi has struggled, but the entire team has of late. Niemi has kept them in the game more than a couple times this season.
Greiss also doesn't appear ready to take on that starting role. I think most were happy with the fact that he'd take a game or two here and there, but actually taking over as the full-time starter? That's definitely up in the air. The only caveat to Niemi's importance in this case is for the fact that this trade would be for JVR, who is really, really good. But given the injuries, it's a trade that might not yield immediate results.
We'll see if Niemi remains in the discussions going forward as the deadline approaches.