Turns out Doug Wilson wasn’t done dealing when he traded Ryane Clowe on Tuesday. The Sharks added a pair of players in two separate deals before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline.
First, San Jose received defenseman Scott Hannan from the Predators for a conditional seventh-round pick in this year’s draft. The pick becomes a sixth-rounder if Hannan, who has a grand total of zero goals and one assist this season, plays in in a playoff game.
Then, shortly before the noon deadline, the team also brought in winger/awful human being Raffi Torres from the Coyotes in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2013 draft.
Hannan, 34, currently has an “upper-body injury” and will be out for a short while but isn’t expected to be much other than an insurance policy for the team. He returns to San Jose after playing for the team from 1998-2007. I hope this means the team brings back Mike Rathje next.
Torres, 31, has an ugly reputation both on the ice and off as one of the league’s biggest scumbags. “Ugly” might even be too nice of a word to describe this steaming pile of dog crap. A master of cheap shots, Torres has a laundry list of goonery and suspensions throughout his career. Fear the Fin has a nice compilation in its Torres post of him at his worst. Most recently, though, Torres was handed a 25-game suspension (it was later reduced to 21 games) for trying to decapitate Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the playoffs last season. There was also an unfortunate incident in which he dressed as Jay-Z one Halloween. Yes, there was black face involved. Yes, there are pictures for you to shake your head at.
The Torres trade is especially awkward for Sharks fans. Torres in the 2006 playoffs, then with the Oilers, pulled another deplorable stunt when he delivered a blow to the head of former Sharks forward Milan Michalek on the open ice. Michalek suffered a concussion, and the Sharks went on to lose the series, with the incident viewed as a momentum changer for the Oilers. Torres still hasn’t ceased to hear about it from the fans in San Jose, which should make his home debut for the team (likely Friday vs. the Flames) all the more interesting.
And yet, with all that said, Torres might actually end up being a huge help to the Sharks (assuming, of course, he doesn’t get suspended somewhere down the line). He fills the tough-guy-you’re-glad-to-have-on-your-team role vacated by Clowe (Hannan fills the goalless-player role vacated by him. RIMSHOT!); he gives the Sharks another forward, which they needed; and he can actually play. In 28 games with the Desert Dogs this season, Torres has five goals, seven assists and, remarkably, only 13 penalty minutes. We’ll cautiously call him an upgrade to bottom two lines. From the team’s perspective, that’s great. But none of this, though, is going to make us forget how much Torres sucks at life.
Torres becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. So, this trade could end up being a quarter-season rental, which makes giving up a third-rounder all the more uneasy. Wilson had done a pretty remarkable job over the last week to put the Sharks in a position to replenish their pool of prospects through the draft after shipping out a trio of players that the Sharks haven’t really needed, only to cap it all off by burning a decent draft pick for Torres. Might Wilson be overvaluing the toughness factor?
In anything, it proves Sharks are all in for not just making the playoffs, but getting a favorable seed and potentially making a playoff run. It wasn’t that long ago when we were wondering whether the Sharks would be hitting the reset button as sellers at this deadline. Now that the team has hit its stride again after winning five in a row entering Wednesday and are sixth in the West standings with third in reach, Wilson used the trade deadline to help the team make that final push.