After winning their first seven games of the season, the Sharks have dropped seven in a row. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
The San Jose Sharks began this season 7-0-0, but entered this week having dropped seven straight games (0-4-3).
After they fell 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com questioned if the Sharks had the right personnel to compete with clubs like the Blackhawks and wondered if the roster would soon have a different look.
Kurz wasn't the only pundit to speculate about moves by the Sharks. Earlier this month, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun noted the return of Brent Burns from injury gave the Sharks eight healthy defensemen and suggested one (perhaps Jason Demers) could be shopped for a left winger before the trade deadline.
Garrioch also reported the Sharks were among several teams to have shown interest in Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly.
On Sunday, however, Sharks GM Doug Wilson dismissed rumors of a roster shakeup. He told Curtis Pashelka of the San Jose Mercury News he's always looking to improve his club, but said it's up to the current roster to turn things around.
Pashelka observed the last time the Sharks went through a similar losing skid, they acquired Joe Thornton, but the fact six Sharks (including Thornton, Burns, Patrick Marleau, Martin Havlat and Dan Boyle) have no-trade clauses means it’s unlikely a comparable move will be made.
Wilson may have shopped around for a left winger or contacted the Avalanche about O'Reilly, but given how close the standings are, he'll be hard pressed to find a reasonable deal.
If the Sharks don't pull out of their tailspin soon, however, Wilson will be forced to shake things up, either with his roster or behind the bench.
INJURIES PUSH SENATORS INTO TRADE MARKET
In the aftermath of Erik Karlsson's season-ending injury, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray admitted he's inquired with several teams about a defenseman, but has yet to find offers to his liking.
Murray is seeking a short-term replacement for Karlsson, but said he wouldn't part with any of his top young players for what could amount to an expensive quick fix.
The Ottawa Sun reported Tuesday sources claimed Murray had contacted the Avalanche about O'Reilly, but found the asking price (a roster player, prospect and draft pick) too expensive.
CBC's Elliotte Friedman wrote that Murray noted the Los Angeles Kings shipped a fifth round pick to Florida for defenseman Keaton Ellerby and the Winnipeg Jets dealt a seventh round pick to Pittsburgh for winger Eric Tangradi. He told Friedman he would consider moving a late-round pick akin to those trades, but wouldn't make a short-term deal for the sake of doing so.
Friedman's colleague P.J. Stock suggested the Senators shop captain Daniel Alfredsson if they decide to give up on this season and build for next. Stock believes there's no one on their roster more valuable than Alfredsson for teams hoping to make a Stanley Cup run this year.
Any moves by Murray will be determined by Ottawa’s performance over the next two or three weeks. If they're out of contention, he may decide to play out the string and look toward next season with a healthier lineup. As for Alfredsson, unless he requests a trade, Murray won't move him.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).