Shark-Infested Blogger

August 8, 2010 8:07 PM

Sharks Sign Jamal Mayers, Two RFA's

By the end of last week, the Sharks made three moves that helped them solidify their roster. They added Jamal Mayers and re-signed Derek Joslin and Steven Zalewski, avoiding arbitration with the latter two.2265874131_c66b56e5df_z.jpg

By re-signing Zalewski, they assured themselves of having a centre with NHL experience, however limited, who could step onto the fourth linein the event of injury. Zalewski, 23, has played in just three games with the Sharks and went minus-two with no points. But for the Sharks minor league affiliate in Worcester, MA, he led all forwards with 62 points (22 goals) in 78 games, and added six points (one goal) in 11 playoff games.

Joslin, also 23, has played in part of two seasons on the blueline, including 24 games last season in which he accumulated all three of his career points while going plus-one (minus-two for his career). In Worcester last season, he had 32 points (five goals) in 55 games, and added five (four goals) in 11 playoff games.

He will likely compete with veteran journeyman Jay Leach for a roster space, but the franchise would be best served if he played so he could develop rather than sitting in the press box as a scratch. In contrast to Niclas Wallin, who signed to a $2.5 million contract this summer, Joslin's contract would allow the team to go after an upgrade in net such as Annti Niemi because of his lower cap number. He also offers a contrast to Wallin's stay-at-home skill-set as a potential puck-moving defenceman.

Meanwhile, the signing of Jamal Mayers, 35, is a major upgrade on the third line, but also for team enforcers. For most of the decade, the Sharks enforcers have been liabilities on the ice.

Scott Parker was one of the toughest guys in the league, but was deficient defensively and absolutely unnecessary to even defend against on the attack. Jody Shelley was an upgrade on both ends of the ice, but not enough to be a stout defender or an offensive asset in any way; meanwhile, he lost almost as many fights as he won.

Mayers, by contrast, can play on both ends of the ice, and is a leader on the bench. With Manny Malhotra leaving, he may well find time on the penalty kill.

He is a pretty good skater and a physical presence on both ends who wins most fights. He even can score, picking up 188 points in 737 games, although that ratio of about one point per four games fell off a bit last year (14 in 71, with only three goals).

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