NHL Trade Bait: San Jose Sharks

Brian Collett | Inside The Rink

Trying to figure out what the Sharks need is a relatively easy question. They need everything. A team currently sitting at 14-32-5 and five points out of 30th place needs help everywhere. So, what do the Sharks have, and what do they do with their few assets? We look into it on Sharks Trade Bait.

Let’s look at what they have first. They have, possibly, two first and second-round picks from other teams. (Pittsburgh for Karlsson and New Jersey for Meier). The problem with these picks is that they are both protected; each team can push it off until 2025. In Pittsburgh’s case, that might be good because they aren’t expected to get any younger. New Jersey could push it off to 2025, which may be late if New Jersey plays up to their potential next year. The Sharks have no third or sixth-round picks this year. They have an abundance of cap space and people on expiring contracts.

Related Post: Should the Boston Bruins Trade With An Atlantic Division Rival?

The Sharks only have 12 NHL players under contract after this season. This means they could use some of their open cap space to get picks, which they need. The team only has one third and fifth round pick in the next three drafts combined. Draft capital is enormous for a team going through a considerable rebuild. The Sharks only have $4.2 million in dead cap space next year and $1.7 million in buyouts, and next year, they only have one retained salary contract.

In terms of players, the Sharks are looking at a pretty bare cupboard. They have five players who will be UFAs after the year, and none of them are lighting the world on fire. They have Kevin Labanc, Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Alexander Barbanov, and Kappo Kahkonen on expiring contracts. In this group, Hoffman can provide a team with some leadership and has scored in the past. A team looking for a good third liner could do well with him; the problem is the $4.5 million contract hit he carries. Duclair is a much better trade option. He only comes with a $3 million cap hit and has nine goals on a team that struggles for it. He can provide playoff experience from his run with the Panthers last year. He’s also good on the power play, and the penalty kill. You could probably get at least a third or a third and fifth for him. The last one who has the most potential is Kahkonen. His numbers have not been the greatest this season (6-14-2, .901 save percentage, and 3.55 GAA), but he and Mackenzie Blackwood have been carrying this team for most of the season. As someone who has watched every Sharks game this year, I can tell you that goaltending has not been the problem, which is why this team has 14 wins. Blackwood has another year on his deal, but Kahkonen could provide depth and maybe even some help to these teams: Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Los Angeles Kings.

Mike Grier has set this team up for the long rebuild that should have started two or three years ago. He has the cap space to build this team up. He needs the draft picks and some depth from the Barracuda. Trading off a few of the expiring contracts he has and leveraging the cap space they have built up may be what the Sharks need to finally get this ship out of the depths of the lottery and rebound them to the glory days of the past.

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