Sharks’ Only Untouchable in 2023-24 Should Be Their Youth


The San Jose Sharks have numerous large contracts and ageing veterans, lots of which appeared immovable even a 12 months in the past. However, with the current commerce of Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins, it appears extra doable than ever that Mike Grier and the remainder of administration determine to make one other main transfer by buying and selling away one of many cornerstone items of the crew’s core. Entering the 2023-24 season, they’d be smart to entertain any supply that comes their approach with one notable exception, the youth needs to be their solely untouchable transferring ahead. 

Players Who Could Be on the Market

Many of the Sharks’ prime gamers have been with the group for over a decade at this level, which can make it onerous for followers to simply accept seeing them get traded. It’s apparent how widespread a participant like Tomas Hertl is on the SAP Center, and he’s the one participant with a moveable contract that has a no-movement clause in his deal. When wholesome, he’s a 60-70 level participant each season which is definitely precious to each crew.

Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

However, with Karlsson’s commerce request and subsequent commerce, it appears as if the Sharks have lastly been pushed right into a full rebuild somewhat than the retool they gave the impression to be trying. As a end result, it’s helpful to maximise asset administration and construct for the long run. At 29 years previous, Hertl is by far the crew’s most useful commerce chip in the event that they determine to go that route. The indisputable fact that he’s signed by way of the 2029-30 season at a fairly team-friendly cap hit, he may benefit any contending crew as their second-line heart. The solely query can be whether or not or not he’s in a commerce, and it’s a choice that’s totally as much as him at this level. 

Logan Couture is a good hockey participant though he’s already 34 years previous. It hasn’t slowed down his manufacturing and if something, he’s been experiencing a resurgence in current seasons. The solely draw back for opposing normal managers can be his contract, which carries a mean annual worth of $8 million for the subsequent 4 seasons. He additionally has a modified no-trade clause which permits him to offer a listing of three groups that he’d be prepared to go to, which might put the Sharks in fairly a bind in the event that they needed to get honest market worth for him. They would have the very same difficulty with Marc-Edouard Vlasic, particularly contemplating his cap hit in comparison with his manufacturing in the previous few seasons. 

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Finally, there are numerous gamers who’re more likely to be flipped on the deadline except the crew decides to offer them contract extensions. This contains forwards corresponding to Mike Hoffman, Kevin Labanc, and Alexander Barabanov. Of all of the pending unrestricted free brokers, Barabanov will undoubtedly be the almost definitely to earn a brand new contract from the Sharks as his manufacturing and age will justify it regardless of the rebuild standing of the crew.

Building Through the Youth is Key to Success

The Sharks have been just like the Philadelphia Flyers in the sense that they’ve all the time tried to keep away from a rebuild. It’s comprehensible for a crew just like the Sharks who’re in an unconventional market however want to show a revenue. With a lot to do in the Bay Area, it’s simple for followers to search out one thing else to do if their crew isn’t doing nicely. As a end result, staying aggressive has all the time been their purpose and sadly, it by no means led them to the purpose of profitable a Stanley Cup. Now, they’ve basically been compelled right into a rebuild and it offers them a possibility to construct a brand new core that may probably make them the promised land. Players like Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Joe Pavelski had been unable to do it, however possibly the mixture of Will Smith, Filip Bystedt, and William Eklund might. 

Will Smith San Jose Sharks
Will Smith, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Grier has executed an exceptional job of buying belongings in tough conditions. Given the circumstances of Karlsson’s departure, it was very tough to get most worth for him. He had an enormous contract, commerce safety, and an harm historical past that may be sufficient to make any crew nervous about how dependable he’d be on their blue line. A top-ten protected decide might not look like a lot on paper, nevertheless, if the Penguins had been to overlook the playoffs each of the subsequent two seasons, the Sharks might find yourself with two excessive picks in the 2025 Draft. The veterans included in the deal have the potential to be flipped and provides the group much more belongings. The Timo Meier trade was way more fruitful, not solely did the Sharks get a first-round decide which turned out to be Quentin Musty however additionally they obtained Fabian Zetterlund, Shakir Mukhamudullin, and a few different items. 

The Sharks have additionally added some nice items with their very own draft picks. The aforementioned Smith, Bystedt, and Eklund are the most important names, nevertheless, there are some others who can grow to be nice NHL gamers in the close to future as nicely. Players like Ethan Cardwell, Daniil Gushchin, and even the undrafted Valtteri Pulli look like they’ve the potential to crack the NHL roster in some unspecified time in the future. Their prospect pool will solely proceed to develop as they spend the subsequent couple of years in the lottery till they ultimately begin making their approach up the standings as these prospects proceed to develop. However, if administration had been to start out buying and selling a few of these belongings in a possibility to get higher sooner, that’s the kind of resolution that might massively backfire and preserve them out of rivalry even longer. 

Related: 3 Sharks Veterans With the Most to Gain From Training Camp

If the Sharks need to be as aggressive as doable in the long term, they’ll want to remain the course, construct by way of the draft, and take a look at to not take shortcuts. The Pacific Division as a complete is insanely sturdy, and that’s unlikely to alter inside a few years. Sometimes shortcuts work, an awesome instance of that’s the reigning Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights. However a majority of the time, it outcomes in a crew being in a lot worse form than they began in. The Arizona Coyotes had been a serious instance of this once they traded for Taylor Hall and it failed dramatically. As it at the moment stands, Grier has executed an amazing job constructing the group for the long run and if he continues down his present street, it’s going to result in long-term success. 

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