According to a report yesterday, the San Jose Sharks are actively shopping a handful of their players as they look to settle into a more regular lineup. A few names were mentioned, but the one in particular that should be of interest to Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche is Chris Tierney.
Tierney is a 23-year old center with a $750,000 cap hit that is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The former captain of the London Knights is a solid two-way player that could add a young defensively responsible center to fill out the bottom-6. Tierney is never going to be mistaken for an offensive threat. He is on pace for 30 points this season, which would be seven more than the career high he achieved last year.
Where Tierney adds value is in his defensive play. The Avalanche are currently giving up the 4th most high-danger scoring chances against per game. That has to change if you want to continue to win games. An addition of a defensively responsible center would go a long way to helping improve that.
Tierney's 51.54 CA/60 at 5v5 would put him second among Avalanche forwards - behind only Alex Kerfoot. From a shutdown perspective, he would be an improvement over any of the guys the Avs currently deploy in a defensive role.
With their contracts expiring at the end of the season, many expect the team to move on from Blake Comeau and Matt Nieto before the start of next season. The problem is that Comeau and Nieto sit second and third - behind Gabriel Landeskog - in terms of shorthanded minutes played for Avalanche forwards. An acquisition of Chris Tierney would help fill some of those minutes. He currently plays almost two minutes per game on the penalty kill for the Sharks and it’s easy to picture him as a younger version of Blake Comeau.
At 23 years of age, Tierney would fit in perfectly with the core of this team. He brings a skill set that the lineup needs and would make a perfect transition from the older players the Avs currently have in the bottom-6.
The question becomes cost. How much will the Sharks be asking and how much are you willing to give up for a bottom-6 player that will be a key to your penalty kill.
The Sharks are an old team - a full year older than the league average - and it’s not hard to see that they might be looking towards a strong re-boot of the lineup. Moving a guy like Tierney for picks or B/C-level prospects seems conceivable given how their lineup is made up. If it’s roster players they want, the Sharks need depth defenders and that’s something the Avs definitely have. Maybe there’s a forward for defense deal that could be made. Either way, it’s hard to see the Sharks looking for an exorbitant return.
Who knows, there may be nothing to the reports and the Sharks could be looking to sign Tierney long-term but it’s at least worth a call to Doug Wilson. Good teams build through the middle of the ice and center depth of Mackinnon-Duchene-Kerfoot/Jost-Tierney is a pretty solid start to a lineup.