James Sheppard Traded by San Jose Sharks to New York Rangers


The San Jose Sharks announced Sunday that they have traded forward James Sheppard to the New York Rangers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Sharks are also reportedly retaining $100,000 of Sheppard’s salary.

Sheppard, who was acquired in the summer of 2011, missed two years due to an injury (the year before coming to San Jose and the year after) sustained in an ATV accident. The first season after returning, Sheppard scored 23 points in 34 games for the Worcester Sharks in the AHL during the NHL lockout, and four points in 32 games in San Jose after it ended. In his first full season in San Jose, ‘Shep’ totaled four goals and 16 assists in 67 games. So far this season, Sheppard has five goals and 11 assists in 57 games. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound center is also a -3 and has 28 PIMs this season.

The return for Sheppard is probably too low, especially if the Sharks are going to retain over a good chunk of his contract. The Sharks got him for a third-round draft pick, and sent him –and basically $100,000– away for a fourth-round pick. Two of his three best NHL seasons has come after his trade to San Jose, so wouldn’t that raise the price on him?

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson could have gotten at least a third-round pick for Sheppard. He has improved in San Jose, so there is no reason the Sharks should have sold him for less than what they got him.

Sheppard was picked ninth overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft –only a few picks behind Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel and 13 picks ahead of Claude Giroux. He ranks 30th in points for that draft class.

The Sharks made this move so that they could make their 2012 first round pick Tomas Hertl their third-line center. Apparently, the Sharks see him as a center in the future, so they traded away Sheppard to let him develop at center.

This is a move for the future, both by getting rid of an unrestricted free agent and letting their young guy develop at his natural position. Now we will have to wait and see who Wilson will acquire or call up to fill Hertl’s spot after he has taken Sheppard’s.

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It will be very interesting to see what Wilson does today. Will he trade pending UFAs like Antti Niemi, Tyler Kennedy, Scott Hannan, Matt Irwin and more? Will he try to acquire pieces to help the team make a final push to the playoffs? Could it be a little of both? The NHL trade deadline is at 12 p.m. pacific time today.

The Sharks are five points out of a playoff spot, and with the way they have been playing lately, the last 19 games of the season should not matter much. Hopefully the Sharks can go on an amazing streak and make the playoffs for the 12th year in a row, but with every loss, it gets more and more unlikely.

Next: San Jose Sharks: Seven Trade Ideas Before the Deadline