The San Jose Sharks are set to kick off their 2013 NHL regular season this weekend. This upcoming season also marks the last year of Ryane Clowe’s 4 year 14.5 Million dollar contract.
Clowe has a cap hit of 3.625 million, which was a bargain for a big physical winger who averaged 60 points a season from 2009-2011.
Last year was full of struggles for many Sharks players including Ryane Clowe, as he slipped from 62 points to 45 in 2011-12. Clowe himself admitted to constantly struggling last season saying:
“I know I didn’t have the year I wanted and that’s obviously going to affect the team, I know some other players didn’t have the year they wanted. I think guys will be a lot better this year. I now I’ll regroup. Mentally I feel better.”
|Season||Team||Games Played||Goals||Assists||Points||Penalty Minutes|
|2008-09||San Jose Sharks||71||22||30||52||51|
|2009-10||San Jose Sharks||82||19||38||57||131|
|2010-11||San Jose Sharks||75||24||38||62||100|
|2011-12||San Jose Sharks||76||17||28||45||97|
Clowe has proven to be a reliable veteran presence in the Sharks top 6, and excels when battling along the boards and engaging in physical play. Just about every returning Sharks player is hoping for better fortunes then in the 2011-12 season where injuries and slumps were constant storylines for the team.
Clowe is expected to bounce back from a streaky 2011-12 season which saw him register a career low 9.4 % shooting percentage. At 6 ft 2 220lbs he is hard to knock off the puck and is not afraid to drop the gloves.
The upcoming 2013 UFA class has alot of aging scoring wingers expected to retire (Jagr, Alfredsson, Selanne, Hejduk, Sullivan and Prospal) but there are only a few physical top 6 wingers available this July and they are:
Jarome Iginla (35 years old) – 32 Goals, 67 points in 82 games.
Nathan Horton (27 years old) 17 Goals, 32 points in 46 games.
Corey Perry (27 years old) – 37 Goals, 60 points in 80 games
David Clarkson (28 years old) – 30 goals, 46 points in 80 games.
The Sharks currently have fewer than 3 million dollars available in cap space and with the cap decreasing next season may not be able to compete financially for players like Iginla (who made 7M cap hit last contract) and Corey Perry, who may be part of a package with Ryan Getzlaf.
Nathan Horton is coming off concussion issues stemming from the injury he sustained in the 2011 playoffs, and risks further injury with his physical style of play so the Sharks may not want to invest into him. Though Clarkson is coming off a 30 goal season his previous career high was 17 in 2008/09 so he is not a proven consistent top 6 player.
The Sharks would be better off re-signing Clowe to a 2-4 year extension as he has proven to be a good fit in the dressing room and as a regular in the Sharks top 6 group for several seasons. He stayed in shape skating with the ECHL San Francisco Bulls, and should bounce back this season.
Expect Ryane Clowe to come out strong this season and prove last year was just an off season and not the start of a downward slope. The Sharks should re-sign Ryane Clowe soon, as he is a player who could be in high demand come July 2013.
Creator of the Bettman Stand Up hockey blog. I cover the Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers, In Hossa we trust! I also write for publications such as Arbitrage Magazine and Elite Sports Blog. You can follow me on Twitter @RickEmrith