Thornton, GM Wilson mend relationship as Sharks looks to get back on track

The Hockey News
182139783 Thornton

By David Pollak

SAN JOSE – A lot needs to be fixed before the San Jose Sharks can regain their status as legitimate NHL playoff contenders.

But as training camp opened Friday, there is evidence that one repair job – healing last spring’s very public rift between Joe Thornton and general manager Doug Wilson – already has taken place.

Ask the veteran center, for example, what he thinks of the moves Wilson made this summer as the Sharks try to rebound from their failure to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

“I think Doug looked at our team and said, ‘Hey, what do we need?’ and I think he was bang on,” said Thornton of the acquisition of defenseman Paul Martin, forward Joel Ward and goalie Martin Jones.

Back in March, Thornton and Wilson were not seeing eye-to-eye. After the general manager told season-ticket holders that the former captain was known to lash out at teammates under stress, Thornton said his boss needed to stop lying and questioned the general manager’s work ethic. Read more

THN’s 2015-16 NHL season preview: San Jose Sharks

The Hockey News
Joe Pavelski (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

2014-15 Record: 40-33-9 (89 pts.)

THN’s Prediction: 4th, Pacific Division

What To Expect: San Jose’s playoff melt-down against the Kings in 2014 sent the franchise into a daze. A season later, the Sharks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Talk of a rebuild didn’t persist, though, as GM Doug Wilson aggressively added to his middling club. Middle-six right winger Joel Ward, top-four D-man Paul Martin, and talented-but-unproven netminder Martin Jones are the notable additions.

The roster is better on paper, but questions linger. Will echoes of the supposedly settled public rift between Wilson and Joe Thornton affect the club? Can new coach Peter DeBoer inspire? And, perhaps most importantly, is Jones a No. 1? The Sharks will have trouble climbing out of bubble territory but look improved enough to tack on some points and have a sniff at the post-season. Read more

Leaked image shows Sharks bringing back original teal jersey for 25th anniversary season

Jared Clinton
The leaked image of the Sharks Heritage Jersey. (via Imgur)

The 2015-16 season will be the 25th in San Jose Sharks history, and to commemorate a quarter-century in the NHL, the Sharks are going “retro” this season.

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration, the Sharks will be bringing back the teal jersey from their expansion season for use as an alternate sweater for . The Sharks aren’t calling the alternate sweater a throwback — the team is using the term, “Heritage Jersey” — but that’s exactly what this is.

The Sharks’ original teal jersey was in use for seven seasons spanning from the club’s first season in the NHL, 1991, all the way until 1998, when the Sharks began to use rounded lines for their primary sweaters instead of the standard striping that is seen on many jerseys throughout the league. Read more

AHL Logo Ranking: No. 10 – San Jose Barracuda

Jared Clinton
San Jose Barracuda logo. (via SportsLogos/Chris Creamer)

(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)

The San Jose Barracuda will have their work cut out for them in 2015-16, especially after losing almost every player who finished top 10 in team scoring this past season.

When the new campaign is underway, Evan Trupp, Matt Taormina, Taylor Fedun, Daniil Tarasov, Freddie Hamilton and Willie Coetzee will be playing in new locales. On top of missing those six, Chris Tierney is likely to get a full-time roster spot with the San Jose Sharks, so while he’ll be in the organization, a full year with the Barracuda won’t be happening.

It’s a pair of young guns who are most interesting among the new Barracuda. Nikita Jevpalovs, a 20-year-old winger who spent the past three seasons with the QMJHL’s Bainville-Boisbrand Armada, is one of the most notable new faces. This past season, he netted 49 goals and 100 points in 64 games as an overager, but he was a consistent producer all three years in junior.

The upcoming season will also be the debut for Julius Bergman, the 19-year-old blueliner who was drafted 46th overall by the Sharks in 2014. The smooth-skating defenseman played 60 games for the OHL’s London Knights this past season and racked up 13 goals and 42 points. He appears ready for the AHL and he could bring a boost to the backend. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Are Bishop’s days numbered in Tampa Bay crease?

Brian Bishop (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

While there’s considerable attention on the contract status of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, the Lightning’s goaltending could also be worth watching during the upcoming season.’s Corey Long wonders how long Ben Bishop will remain the Lightning’s starting goalie. While the 28-year-old enters this season as the top dog between the Tampa Bay pipes, Long suggests Bishop is among their most valuable trade assets.

Bishop’s stock certainly rose after backstopping the Lighting to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. He’s currently entering the first season of a two-year contract worth $5.95-million annually. The deal also comes with a full no-movement clause.

Long, however, believes a new contract for Stamkos could force Lightning management to shed salary to ensure sufficient room to re-sign other notables in the near future. Those include defenseman Victor Hedman and forwards Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn. He believes Bishop could become expendable if backup Andrei Vasilevskiy shows sufficient potential in 2015-16.

Should Vasilevskiy blossom into a starter this season once he returns from a blood clot that will sideline him for 2-3 months, the Bolts will likely keep their goaltending tandem intact for the playoffs. Under that scenario, the earliest Bishop could be shopped is at the 2016 NHL Draft next June. Even then, it’ll depend up whether Stamkos is under contract by that point.


Recent rumors claiming at least five NHL teams are interested in Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane provided an early-September jolt to an otherwise slow NHL rumor mill. Kane, 26, is currently under investigation by Hamburg, N.Y., police for sexual assault, though no charges have been filed.

The uncertainty over this situation’s outcome leaves Kane’s immediate future with the Blackhawks murky at best. It’s unknown if Kane will attend training camp while the investigation is ongoing, let alone if he’ll be in the lineup when the season opens next month.

If the Blackhawks brass is thinking about trading Kane, they haven’t taken it up with him yet. He’s entering the first season of his eight-year, $84 million contract, which also contains a full no-movement clause.’s Scott Power reports a source close to Kane claims he hasn’t been approached about waiving that clause.

For now, it appears the Blackhawks are awaiting the outcome of the investigation before deciding on a course of action. Until then, don’t expect Kane to hit the trade block anytime soon.


During the summer of 2014, a feud between San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson and center Joe Thornton spilled out into the media. The spat reached its height when the Sharks announced Thornton was being stripped of the captaincy, fuelling considerable speculation over the big center’s future in San Jose.

Armed with a full no-movement clause, Thornton repeatedly stated he had no intention of requesting a trade. As last season began, the war of words between the two eventually died down.

CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz briefly revisited that squabble during a season-preview profile of the former Sharks captain. He points out the 36-year-old Thornton’s chance for winning a Stanley Cup are fading. With the Sharks missing the playoffs last season, Kurz wonders if the aging center might reconsider waiving that clause if the club falls out of postseason contention in 2015-16.

Thornton and his family have set down roots in San Jose. Earlier this year, he stated his wish to retire a Shark. If he still feels that way over the course of this season, he probably won’t accept a trade to a Cup contender by the trade deadline.


One of the most popular dates on the NHL calendar was revealed this week for the upcoming season. TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reports the trade deadline for the upcoming season is Monday, February 29, 2016 at 3 pm ET.

Mark your calendars now and start planning your excuses for skipping work or school on that date, hockey fans. And don’t forget to follow for the latest rumors and trade news leading up to the big day.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

It’s either Winnipeg or Europe for Nikolaj Ehlers this season

Nikolaj Ehlers

In terms of drafted prospects, few teenagers could top the season that Nikolaj Ehlers is coming off. The incredibly talented Halifax Mooseheads left winger put up approximately two points per game in the regular season, then paced The Herd with 31 points in just 14 QMJHL playoff games. He also helped Denmark win its first-ever game at the world juniors and was the most electrifying player in the entire tournament.

So what does he do for an encore?

Read more

Can Joel Ward finally find Stanley Cup glory with the Sharks?

The Hockey News
Joel Ward. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Carter Brooks

Joel Ward is looking for a fresh start. Between sets in the gym, mini scrimmages and off ice strength and speed conditioning, he has a lot on his mind. With a new team, city, house and coach to get used to, he knows this season will be an important test of character and hopefully an appropriate fulfillment of his recently negotiated three-year contract.

As a veteran of more than 500 NHL games, Ward has yet to make it past the second round of the playoffs. He believes San Jose is the place to make that happen.

“I want to come in to this team and complement what is already going on here,” Ward said. “I hope to get some chemistry with a few guys and win a lot of hockey games. That is the overall goal.” Read more

Rumor Roundup: Senators still shopping Greening

Colin Greening (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Following the recent completion of the NHL’s 2015 salary-arbitration period, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston observed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild had a second buyout window open for a 48-hour period commencing on Aug. 5. None of the clubs, however, used the opportunity to shed a contract.

The Senators spent months last season trying to find a trade partner for winger Colin Greening, prompting some speculation the 29-year-old winger might receive a buyout. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators assistant GM Pierre Dorion explained that wasn’t possible, as Greening’s $2.65-million annual cap hit was about $10K short of the minimum allowable to be bought out.

Greening’s future with the Senators remains uncertain. Garrioch believes Murray will keep trying to peddle the winger, who was a frequent healthy scratch last season. Perhaps Murray will have better luck next month, as rival GMs evaluate their roster needs during training camp and preseason play. Read more