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NHL Power Rankings Week 19 Recap – Who Might the Sharks Trade?

Things are almost back to normal after the combination of the NHL All-Star break and bye weeks, so most teams were back to regularly scheduled programming. This is a good sign for NHL Power Rankings action. This week, a look back at last offseason for the Detroit Red Wings and what the status of the team’s rebuild is through the rest of the season. And, the fire sale in San Jose seems ready to start, so who will be a few of the players on the trade block for the Sharks? But first, a few quick hits from around the league.

Quick Hits

It was a huge week for the New York Rangers as they acquired Vladimir Tarasenko while going undefeated in four games. Their consistency was a key to their success earlier this season, but a hot streak will help get them closer to home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs as they currently sit just three points back of the New Jersey Devils for second in the Metro Division.

The Pacific Division is in the midst of a power shift as the previous leaders, the Vegas Golden Knights (3-5-2), Los Angeles Kings (5-4-1), and Seattle Kraken (3-6-1) are all struggling in their last 10 games. On the other hand, the Edmonton Oilers do what they do in the second half of seasons and climb the standings rapidly with an 8-0-2 record in their last 10. This is even allowing the Calgary Flames to catch up, as they may be tied for a wild card spot but are now just three points back of the third divisional spot as well.

The Buffalo Sabres have made it perfectly clear that they believe in their core of prospects and younger players. After signing Dylan Cozens to a seven-year, $50 million contract, a trend has emerged for the team. Handing out long-term, big-money contracts to players a lot earlier than one might expect. Tage Thompson and Mattias Samuelsson were also recipients of long-term deals. More commonly, players would receive smaller and shorter bridge deals, but the Sabres are clearly confident in the core that they have and are willing to commit early on. Based on the improvement seen this season, that confidence is well-placed.

Detroit Red Wings Not Ready to Compete Yet

After making a series of noteworthy moves last offseason, it appeared that Steve Yzerman and his Red Wings would be looking to compete as early as this year. Addressing holes at every position by signing Andrew Copp, David Perron, Ben Chiarot, Ville Husso, and Dominik Kubalik, the overhaul of the Wings’ roster signalled it was time.

Early on this season, that seemed accurate. The team was competing in a difficult Atlantic Division. But shortly after the first quarter of their season, the Red Wings fell off in a big way.

The moves in net, one of the more prominent struggles for the Red Wings, were a bit risky. Giving long-term commitment to goalies with less than 60 NHL games at the time. And Husso finds himself near the bottom of the league with -4.3 goals saved above expected, a stat that is not helping a young team find stability and confidence in the crease.

For the skaters, one can imagine that the amount of roster turnover would be jarring. It takes time to build chemistry with linemates and fit into the team’s system, especially with a new coach this year as well. This could be an area where a season or two of development and growing as a group is necessary for them to succeed.

What may be an area of concern, however, is that team captain Dylan Larkin finds himself on the trade block. He is in the final year of his contract, and the Michigan-born centre would love nothing more than to stay with his hometown team, but there are rumours that he may be sent out at the deadline. After another captain, Bo Horvat, was recently dealt as well, there is precedent for that to happen now.

It is not yet time to start questioning the Yzerplan. After all, the Red Wings are still improving year after year. But maybe the hype around the team was a bit premature.

The Trade Block in San Jose

It might finally be time for the San Jose Sharks to commit to a rebuild. They find themselves 28th in the league and comfortably out of a playoff spot with some intriguing players that could fetch some prospects and picks to start building up again.

The Sharks have been flirting with this status for a while now. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2018-19 and will miss for a fourth straight year this season. The roster is stuck in cap purgatory, the front office does not have the cap space to make any moves to significantly improve the team. So, now seems as good a time as any to start the fire sale and free up some space and build up for the future.

Who might be appealing trade targets off of the Sharks’ roster?

Timo Meier leads the list. A pending RFA, he is one of the top players available at the moment, and he has a high ceiling. With 51 points in 53 games, he would be a major addition to the top six on some playoff contenders. He is also a high-event player, leading the team in both shots and hits. Even though the price to pay for a player like this would be high, he would be well worth the add.

Erik Karlsson is another intriguing name on the list. He has struggled mightily the last few seasons in San Jose but has bounced back in a big way and leads the team in scoring with 70 points in 53 games. His contract, with an AAV of $11.5M for four more years, would be a difficult sell for most teams that are already cash-strapped, however. The Sharks would have to eat a big portion of that contract for years if they want to trade him.

Aside from the two biggest names on the list, a few others may produce some calls. Up front, Kevin Labanc, Nick Bonino, and Alexander Barabanov would be appealing targets for a playoff contender needing some veteran leadership or depth scoring. And although he just signed a long-term deal with the team, a physical, minute-munching defender like Mario Ferraro might draw some attention.

That wraps up this week’s NHL Power Rankings recap! Who is ranked too high? Drop a comment down below!

main image credits: Getty Images

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