The Top 20 Signings of the NHL Offseason, And Why the Sharks Should Have Signed Them, Part 5

(Editor’s Note. Don’t forget to vote in the poll or comment with your thoughts!)

In this series of articles, I will be taking an in-depth look at what I consider to be the 20 best value free agent signings of the offseason, in no particular order. For each signing, I will first detail what makes the signing a good one from a neutral perspective, and then I will discuss why the signing would have benefitted the Sharks (at the same contract terms unless others are discussed). There is no guarantee these players would have even come to the Sharks, in fact in some cases it is doubtful, but we find it interesting to analyze signings made this offseason through a Sharks lens. Enjoy!

If you missed the first four parts when they were posted, you can check them out here. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Now for Part 5.

ROMAN HAMRLIK – D – WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Age. 28. Height. 6’0″. Weight. 209 lbs. Shoots. Left.
Contract. 2 years, 7M, Washington Capitals.
2010-2011 Stats. 79GP, 5G, 34PTS, +6 plus/minus, 81PIM.

Roman Hamrlik is a quality two-way defenseman with excellent hockey sense and defensive reads. Sharks fans should think of a bigger, more physical, more developed Marc-Edouard Vlasic with better offensive abilities, such as better vision, decision-making, and a better shot. When Hamrlik’s teammate Andrei Markov fell to injury last season, Hamrlik really stepped up for the Canadiens. The Canadiens play what you could characterize as a speed-defense game, a transitional game, and Hamrlik’s ability to get the puck back from the other team, and then get it up ice quickly, really helped fuel the way the Canadiens wanted to play. Because of his skating and how well he sees the ice, he is adept at breaking the puck out of the defensive zone, and getting it up to the forwards. His smarts also come into play in the offensive zone, where he is very good at picking his spots to pinch or be the fourth man jumping in. And when he does jump in, unlike most defenders, he has the shot to put the puck in the net here and there.

In short, Hamrlik is a just smart, well-rounded two-way defenseman who performs well at both ends of the ice, in basically every situation. He is older and more expensive than many other players on these lists, so the risk is inherently higher, but if he can continue to fight off the effects of aging for two more seasons, he should prove a great addition to the Washington Capitals.

WHY THE SHARKS SHOULD HAVE SIGNED HIM

The Sharks don’t really have a spot for another top-four blueliner the way things are slotted right now, with Murray-Boyle as one pairing, and Vlasic-Burns as another. However, Roman Hamrlik would be the third best defenseman on the Sharks right now behind Boyle and Burns, so it would have been worth finding a spot for him. I believe he could have slotted in next to Boyle, pushing Murray down to the third pairing. This would have improved the Sharks defensive depth even more because now the top pairing and the third pairing are better. At some point you do run out of cap space, but when you consider that adding Hamrlik would have mitigated the need to add Jim Vandermeer and his 1M cap hit, you’re only adding 2.5 to the cap, not 3.5. That’s certainly manageable, especially considering the Sharks started out with almost 10 million in cap space this offseason after the cap ceiling went up. Ultimately, Hamrlik is an excellent two-way defenseman, and I believe he would have been a good addition to the Sharks defense if he’d been willing to come to San Jose instead of Washington.

This next signing made our list as an honorable mention.

CHUCK KOBASEW – RW – COLORADO AVALANCHE
Age. 29. Height. 6’0″. Weight. 192 lbs. Shoots. Right.
Contract. 1 year, 1.25M, Colorado Avalanche.
2010-2011 Stats. 63GP, 9G, 16PTS, -6 plus/minus, 19PIM.

Chuck Kobasew is just two seasons removed from back to back 20 goal seasons. Since then he has had two injury riddled campaigns, a 42 game, 9 goal season, and a 63 game, 9 goal season. This is by no means an example of the 29 GMs who didn’t sign Kobasew really missing the boat on a player. Kobasew is much more a borderline pick for this list, and his addition has to be considered fully contingent upon his health. With that said, if he can get right again health wise, at 29 years old he is still young enough to regain his former ability. And when he is healthy, he has some good strength, hockey sense, above average hands, and he’s good at playing in front of the net, putting loose pucks into the goal.

WHY THE SHARKS SHOULD HAVE SIGNED HIM

Again, I don’t think Sharks fans should lose sleep over the fact that Doug Wilson did not sign Kobasew. He is not an elite player. But if healthy, he could have proved a pretty affordable all-tools third liner for the Sharks who could’ve added some depth offense as well.


This video here is a good example of what Kobasew can do when he’s right. He lays out Kyle Quincey with a hit, then gets the puck and fires it top corner.

Further Shark Circle Reading.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of our series on the offseason’s best signings.
A look at potential new NHL rules for next season, with our analysis.
Analysis of the Winnipeg Jets signing of ex-Shark Kyle Wellwood.

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