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Could Stuart be on his way back to San Jose?

May 11, 2012, 5:34 PM EDT

Brad Stuart Getty Images

Interesting piece today from CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz on a name that’s been linked to the Sharks in recent months: Brad Stuart.

Stuart, 32, is a soon-to-be-UFA that’s spent the last four seasons in Detroit — but never lost touch with his San Jose roots. He began his career with the Sharks in 1999-2000, played there for five years (before being part of the Joe Thornton deal) and still maintains residence in the Bay Area, which is where his wife and three kids live year-round.

There’s also this, from ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun:

Veteran top-four blueliner Brad Stuart will also be an unrestricted free agent July 1. There has been talk that he might want to return to the West Coast due to family reasons (he still has a home in San Jose), but Detroit is keeping the door open to re-sign him if he chooses to return.

“I told Stuey, ‘Go home, take a month with your family'; told his agent I would talk to him prior to the draft,’’ Holland said.

My guess is, if the San Jose Sharks have any interest in bringing back Stuart — he began his career there — and they make him a reasonable offer, he could be in San Jose next season.

Kurz goes on to point out Stuart-to-San-Jose makes a lot of sense on the ice as well:

– He’s a top four guy and the Sharks need a top-four defenseman. Douglas Murray “doesn’t look like he can keep up” anymore and Jason Demers hasn’t proven himself as a bonafide NHLer. Veterans Jim Vandermeer and Colin White are both UFAs and might not be retained.

– So how does a projected top four of Stuart, Dan Boyle, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic sound? (The answer: Above-average, though not especially young. Vlasic is 25, Burns is 27, Stuart is 33 in November and Boyle is 36 in July.)

The x-factor in this, as it often is, will be money. The Sharks have approximately $9 million in available cap space; Stuart is coming off a deal that paid $3.75 million annually; San Jose already has $19.4 million committed to its blueline for 2012-13.

  1. bensawesomeness - May 11, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    I’m a Wings fan, and i’d LOVE to see Stuart stay in Detroit for a few more seasons ( though i’ve never seen so many pucks go in the net off of anyone else, including a goalie )
    But if he does choose to go out west – power to him , best of luck, he’s welcome back whenever he’d like

  2. mydadyourmom - May 11, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    That sounds like an average top four to me, at best. Sharks need to blow it up.

  3. polegojim - May 11, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    I have a different take… thanks Brad, you’ve been good in Detroit, but…

    1) he ‘may’ be a blueliner, but at 32, enters downward production years of his career
    2) -5 in playoffs… wow. Along with Bert and Abdelkader, worst on the team (see #1).
    3) Stuart Reg Season – +22 at home… -6 on the road

    Outside of a couple guys… I’ve developed some disillusionment with our defense after these playoffs. Love to see some changes – Kronwall…+15 at home… -17 on the road. Sorry boys, that’s pathetic and it’s time to make it right.

    • bensawesomeness - May 11, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      Kronwall’s signed for longest on the team – get used to him

      • polegojim - May 12, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Always been a Kronwal fan… but can’t figure out why his production has dropped off so badly.

        07-08 and 08-09, the guy was a beast. Since then, quite average.

        Big contract lethargy?
        Too much focus on ‘hits’ vs overall production?

        He’s got the ability… its the ‘drive’ that’s lacking.

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