San Jose Sharks



San Jose Sharks


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The San Jose Sharks had a wild off-season. They were one of the finalists in the John Tavares sweepstakes, but he ended up choosing to sign with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. They then opted to remain patient, avoiding dipping into the free agent market for one of the second-tier prizes available.
Instead, San Jose made one of the biggest splashes of the summer right before the beginning of the season. They sent a package involving Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, prospects, and draft picks to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Erik Karlsson. As a result, the Sharks now boast two former Norris Trophy winners in Karlsson and Burns, giving them one of, if not the best blueline in the NHL.
Beyond that, the Sharks also inked two key forwards to contract extensions over the summer. Evander Kane, who was acquired in a trade deadline deal with the Buffalo Sabres, secured a seven-year deal worth $7 million annually. Kane looked excellent down the stretch for the Sharks, scoring 14 points in 17 games and adding some grit to the lineup. Long-time forward Logan Couture was also given an eight-year extension meaning there’s a good chance he’ll end up playing his entire career in San Jose. Joe Thornton was inked to yet another one-year deal to join the team for another playoff run. They also gave Tomas Hertl a four-year extension after his 22-goal season.
The Sharks are pushing hard to finally win their first-ever Stanley Cup. While many figured the team’s window would close with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau getting old, the Sharks have managed to remain competitive. Last season, they made it to the second round of the playoffs before getting bounced by the surprisingly good Vegas Golden Knights, and, this year, they’re a strong candidate to come out of the Western Conference and compete for the Stanley Cup.
This is a big year for the Sharks given their salary cap outlook moving forward. Captain Joe Pavelski is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. Also, Karlsson, of course, is set to hit the open market come July 1, but the advantage of trading for him means that the Sharks can try to negotiate a contract with the former Norris Trophy winner prior to free agency. The Sharks will also need to figure out restricted free agent deals for Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc this summer.
Beyond Karlsson and Pavelski, the Sharks have the majority of their core locked up long-term. Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Martin Jones, Couture, Hertl, and Kane are signed for at least four more seasons, meaning the team is primed to be competitive for the foreseeable future. Still, the Sharks best window to compete is right now before Karlsson and Pavelski can hit the open market. The Sharks have made the playoffs in 18 of their last 20 seasons, which is remarkable, and it seems that stretch is poised to continue.

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