After one season with the Sharks, forward/enforcer John Scott stayed in the Pacific Division and signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Scott, 32, scored a career high three goals with the Sharks in 38 games in 2014-15, accumulating 87 penalty minutes along the way. He was suspended for a total of six games for a pair of separate incidents.
As our friends at ProHockeyTalk.com point out, the Pacific Division seems to be adding more meat of late. Anaheim has signed enforcer Brian McGrattan; the Kings recently traded for power forward and occasional glove-dropper Milan Lucic; and Vancouver inked Brandon Prust, who was second in the NHL with 16 fights last season. Arizona also recently came to terms with middleweight Steve Downie, who had eight fighting majors in 2014-15.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson revealed last month that the team would not be re-signing Scott, as head coach Peter DeBoer would rather play a more skilled and versatile fourth line, perhaps with late-season acquisition Ben Smith as the center.
“You want to have some [penalty killing] ability, obviously with that being an important part of winning in this league. You want to have some energy. You want to have a level of compete, and grit,” Wilson said, when asked what he wanted to see from the fourth line next year.
“The game has changed, it’s get the puck out of your zone. The best defenses get the puck out of your zone and play in the other team’s zone. Think about that with the third and fourth line, the same type of thing. That’s how we look at it.”
Although the Sharks no longer have a towering enforcer on their roster, they do still have Mike Brown for another season. The tough-as-nails 30-year-old winger was able to play just 12 games last season due to multiple injuries. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Brown has gotten in 59 fights, according to hockeyfights.com. Brenden Dillon also showed a willingness to stick up for his teammates in the form of throwing punches after arriving from Dallas in November.
The Sharks don't meet Scott and the Coyotes in the regular season until Jan. 21.