The Sharks would do well to look into bringing Thomas Greiss back to San Jose to fill their one remaining roster deficiency…
The potential of the San Jose Sharks trading for a backup goalie was examined here Tuesday, July 19. However, their choices are not limited to one.
Another team carrying three goalies with NHL experience is the New York Islanders. Former Shark Thomas Greiss has proven himself a very good backup and should absolutely be looked at as an option.
New York will not want to carry three one-way contracts on their roster, but also may not want to let go of a backup that played so well in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. Moreover, third goalie Jean-Francois Berube may or may not be ready for a regular backup role.
Berube has six NHL games on his career stats but did go 3-2-1 with a 2.71 goals-against average (GAA) and .914 save percentage (sv%) for the Islanders last season. He is 25 years old while Greiss is 30, comes at less than half the cap hit and is a restricted free agent after the 2016-17 NHL season when contracts are up for both goalies.
It might not make sense for San Jose to take Berube; only New York really knows enough to say he is ready. From an outsider’s perspective, he is not worth much more than Aaron Dell or Troy Grosenick. It is quite possible no one would even claim him if he was waived to be reassigned to the AHL.
However if he is ready, Greiss becomes expendable. That is not the same as coming cheap.
After a solid 2015-16 NHL season (23-11-4, 2.41 GAA and .925 sv%), Greiss played better than his 5-6 record and 2.46 GAA might suggest during the Stanley Cup playoffs. He had a .923 sv% with an overtime and two double-overtime games among his first-round wins.
He certainly comes with enough experience as a suitable backup, with solid career marks of 59-41-15, 2.44 GAA and .917 sv% in the regular season. He will have chemistry with his new team because it is the one that drafted and developed him—the one for whom played more than half his seasons. Eight Sharks remain from the team that he was last on during the lockout-condensed 2013 NHL season, including the three defensemen likely to get the most minutes next season.
Of course, one of those players might have to go in the trade. Over $500,000 of cap space from a skater would have to be moved to fit Greiss under San Jose’s cap. The most logical place to do that is from the abundance of forward talent.
However, Greiss is more established and would come at more of a cost than the frequently-mentioned Tommy Wingels. The Sharks would probably first look at moving one or more draft picks, but could even consider giving up on disappointing-to-date prospects like Mirco Mueller or Nikolay Goldobin if others pass them on the depth chart.
If the Islanders are looking for more immediate return, they might see Brenden Dillon as a target. They are lacking experience at the bottom of their blue-line depth chart and could probably afford one of three prospects currently fighting for the sixth and seventh spots.
San Jose would be okay with a third pair of David Schlemko and Dylan DeMelo if Mueller or anyone else is ready for the inevitable necessary call up to the NHL. That would leave room for Greiss and whatever skater was returned in trade, needed to be called up or gets signed to fill the roster.