The NHL trade deadline is three weeks away and every team is evaluating its roster. Today we examine the San Jose Sharks skating options…
Teams will continually assess their needs over the three weeks leading up to the 2016-17 NHL season trade deadline. Today we examine the San Jose Sharks skating options just as we did the goalies on Monday, Feb. 6.
It is worth a reminder that speculation is without inside knowledge. Injuries, contract talks, competing suitors or the demands from potential trade partners sometimes prevent moves. Thus, we can only assess areas of need and expendable assets.
As noted with goalies, the Sharks have no real skating needs. Their abundance to move players displays that lack of a problem.
Potential injuries are not predictable but must at least be accounted for in any evaluation. Injuries could alter San Jose’s needs; general manager Doug Wilson knows that. He will do his best to ensure enough roster depth to weather losing anyone they cannot replace after the trade deadline.
The Sharks need blue-line help if Dylan DeMelo is not close to returning by the trade deadline. Playing Mirco Mueller or Tim Heed is fine in the regular season but experience is invaluable in the postseason.
DeMelo will also need time to get to that level. Third-pair veterans are generally affordable, so adding blue-line reinforcements make sense.
However, San Jose could move talent from this unit. Obviously, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are untouchable. Justin Braun probably has yet to peak and is already an excellent right-handed defender—an asset worth keeping.
Trading Paul Martin is also unlikely. The reasons he is worth moving suppress his value. Things other teams value are reasons to keep him. Finally, his play frees partner Burns to be creative offensively.
Everyone else could be both desirable and replaceable. If DeMelo returns in March, he could supplant either David Schlemko or even Brenden Dillon. It is thus sensible examining whether the return for any of them is worthwhile.
However, the Sharks will not protect any aforementioned assets in the expansion draft. Thus, trading one exposes another. That could make getting a reserve in return a priority for any blue-line loss. It is thus unlikely their trade value is worth the composite cost.
While sending anyone away from San Jose is unlikely, bringing someone in is not. A depth veteran is usually a bargain value. Decisions will depend on the asking price, DeMelo’s health and the development of Mueller or Heed.
Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier and Kevin LaBanc are not leaving. However, losing other current Sharks would still leave a void to fill either via the trade or by untested rookies.
There are three other unlikely trades. Enforcer Micheal Haley is more valuable to San Jose than other teams. Chris Tierney has slumped but is young and has two-way potential. Ryan Carpenter has been exceptional after finally getting ice time.
Joonas Donskoi has struggled and his value has thus dropped. Moreover, trading him means giving up on a promising puck-possession player because of four shaky months. Trading a character player like Joel Ward has similar broad implications, although his age (36) could justify it.
Melker Karlsson may elicit interest. However, it is unlikely other teams would match his value to San Jose. He is smart enough to develop chemistry with anyone. He can skate on any line because he is defensively responsible and possesses some offensive skill.
That leaves Mikkel Boedker. Trading him means convincing another general manager to accept his (per Cap Friendly) four-year, $16 million contract. Furthermore, he has to offer something worthwhile in return.
More importantly, it is too early to give up on Boedker. It took time to settle in, but he has 16 points in 30 games after American Thanksgiving. He has also recently developed chemistry with Marleau and Couture, scoring 12 points in his last 18 games.
Thus, it seems unlikely Wilson will pull off any trade moving parts out of San Jose. Moreover, a shallow prospect pool increases the cost of trading anyone in the system or major draft picks. Therefore, adding anything more than a bit skater is unlikely.