SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan has stayed away from the press clippings.
“I have not read a single article,” Hannan said on Tuesday, when told that his name has been among those mentioned as a possible trade target by teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hannan, the Sharks’ elder statesman at 36, has been through many an NHL trade deadline. He’s also been moved, acquired by San Jose from Nashville on deadline day in the shortened 2013 campaign.
He knows how to handle it.
“There’s no sense beating yourself up or worrying about things like that," Hannan said.
This season’s deadline on Monday (noon PST) is fast approaching. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has a little more than four days to tweak his roster, stockpile draft picks, or both.
Wilson has made it clear that he won’t trade a young player or first round draft pick for a veteran rental. He’s much more likely to try and maximize the value of his pending unrestricted free agents like Hannan, Antti Niemi, Matt Irwin, Tyler Kennedy, James Sheppard and Andrew Desjardins, all of whom may not be in the team’s future plans.
That means more opportunities for younger players and rookies during the final few weeks, which was the blueprint since shortly after the Sharks’ epic playoff collapse against the Kings. A current 3-5-2 stretch, and a generally inconsistent season overall, suggests the Sharks aren’t simply a minor move or two away from becoming a contending team.
This roster, which has depth issues at all three positions, needs some work.
In the dressing room, though, it’s business as usual.
“I don’t even think about it. You just control what you can out there,” Hannan said. “There are things you can’t control. You just play. Right now the focus is on winning games here, and that’s really all you can do. That’s how I’ve approached the trade deadline since I’ve been in the league.”
Joe Pavelski said: “Players, we can just play. That’s all we can do. If there is a trade, it’s always a tough thing to see a friend go, but it’s part of the business. The day goes on.”
It’s fair to wonder how Wilson’s “one step backwards” approach for this season sits with some of his veteran players. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, of course, aren’t getting any younger at age 35. Even Pavelski, the Sharks’ best player this season and in the prime of his career, is on the wrong side of 30 as a lengthy contract extension kicks in.
Regardless, they can’t control what Wilson does leading up to Monday, or beyond.
“Obviously, I think he’s trying to improve our team, regardless of whatever move he makes,” Pavelski said. “There’s nothing else we can really do. As players, we’re not on the phone or making the calls, so that’s up to him.”
Marleau said: “I play. … I try not to do other people’s jobs, just take care of my own.”
The immediate focus for the Sharks is to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season. They have two home games before Monday, against the Red Wings on Thursday and Senators on Saturday, and are one point out of the final playoff spot.
“We know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I think we’re up to it,” Marleau said. “Guys are excited to do it and get to the playoffs, and to play the right way and have fun doing it.”