The San Jose Sharks have signaled that they are pushing all the chips in this year in order to win the Stanley Cup. This shifts talks about contract extension with Joonas Donskoi to an uneasy off-season
The San Jose Sharks enter the off-season with 11 players with expiring contracts on their roster. 7 skaters are becoming unrestricted free agents while 4 of them are still under team control. There are a few marque names that Team Teal need to prioritize but they need to be wary of losing an essential player like Joonas Donskoi in the shuffle.
The 26-year-old joined the San Jose Sharks on May 19th of 2015. He’s on his second contract with Team Teal and since joining the roster Donskoi has contributed in big moments, most notable the Stanley Cup Final run of 2015 – 2016.
Through his 4 seasons in the NHL he’s accumulated 118 points with 45 of those being goals. Donskoi is deployed up and down this line-up over his tenure and has proven useful in many situations. He’s strong on the puck and has an uncanny ability to finish around the crease, however he is the streakiest player on the San Jose Sharks roster.
He goes on spurts of brilliance where he racks up large amounts of points in a small windows of time. But there are moments where the Finnish forward hasn’t been able to put together a full season with the Sharks due to injuries. He’s never been able to eclipse the career high mark of 36 points that he set at the beginning of his career in teal.
So far this year it has been a different story. Donskoi has suited up in every game this season. He’s currently tied for the best point pace of his career with 0.48 points per game rate. On the surface is appears that he’s solidified his place on the Sharks roster. However the fan favorite can seem absent from the line-up even when he’s put in positions to succeed. He has seen time with plenty of talented line mates but seems to go on cold spills often.
The San Jose Sharks have locked in a few of their depth scorers this season with extensions being handed out to Marcus Sorensen and Lukas Radil. Could this be signalling that a player like Joonas Donskoi might be lost in this off-seasons free agent shuffle?
The San Jose Sharks will have roughly 23 million dollars in cap space heading into the summer, they are also given 10% cap flexibility during the off-season. Even if that seems like a lot of wiggle room for Team Teal they have a few other skaters that they need to prioritize over extending Donskoi. Besides the elephant in the room Erik Karlsson, there are players like Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc, and Timo Meier that need new deals. That could leave Joonas Donskoi out of the mix in the Bay Area.
Donskoi’s current contract is a two-year deal with a 1,900,000 AAV, per CapFriendly. This summer he is a due for a raise considering how he has continued to produce points and with the salary cap raising on a consistent basis. Realistically speaking the 26-year-old could command a contract that will collect him at least 3 – 4 million with decent term. It’s not hard imagine him getting that type of money and opportunity on a different team.
Donskoi has been an extremely effective skater for the San Jose Sharks and as far as merits goes he deserves an opportunity to stay in the Bay Area just as much as anyone. However with a summer of unknowns looming for Team Teal he might get lost in the free agent frenzy that faces the Sharks this coming off-season.
The statistics in this article are from Hockey-Reference.com unless stated otherwise.