The San Jose Sharks have been a model franchise over the past ten years. The Sharks have been one of the best teams during the 2010s. Consistently going on deep playoff runs and even reaching the Stanley cup final during the 2015-16 season. The San Jose Sharks always have a good mix of older veterans and young energetic players throughout their lineup.
What went wrong for the Sharks
After losing in the western conference finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues the San Jose Sharks came into the 2019-20 season with big expectations. The Sharks are loaded with big-name players such as Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Logan Couture that are supposed to carry the team to the playoffs in the present and future. Instead, the injury bug hit the San Jose Sharks hard and this ruined the Sharks season. The Sharks also allowed the third-most goals in the league. Martin Jones and Aaron Dell will deservingly take most of the blame for the terrible goals allowed but the blame should be shared equally with the defenseman. Another reason why the San Jose Sharks had a down year is that they could not score enough goals to outscore all goals they allowed on the other end of the rink.
How to fix the San Jose Sharks Issues
The San Jose Sharks have some holes in their lineup and places where players as passed there prime and need to be replaced by some youth. Since the salary cap is going to stay at 81.5 million dollars the Sharks will be strapped for cash. Although “Jumbo” Joe Thornton is a fan favorite and is arguably the best Shark to ever put on the uniform, he should not be resigned. Thornton is forty-one years old and he is making 2 million dollars. He is simply too old and not contributing enough to earn a contract of similar size.
Another player that played an important part in the Stanley cup runner up team who’s contract is expiring is Melker Karlsson. Karlsson chipped in 6 goals and 6 assists during the regular season. This production is not enough to warrant another contract from the cap-strapped Sharks.
Stefan Noesen is another player on the San Jose’s roster that didn’t do enough on the offensive side of the game to warrant a new contract with the Sharks.
On the defensive side, Brandon Davidsson is currently on the roster. Davidsson has an expiring contract with the Sharks. Davidsson only played five games with the San Jose Sharks during the shortened season. Given his lack of games played Davidsson should not be offered a new contract with the team.
Moving into the goaltenders Aaron Dell, had a below-average year. Dell posted a 3.01 Goals against average and .907 save percentage in 33 games. There are better opinions on the free-agent market and on the trade market.
Martin Jones has been the starting goalie for the San Jose Sharks for the past five seasons but over the last two seasons, his play started to deteriorate. To fix the goaltending issue San Jose will need to bring in fresh players.
Re-signing current players
The San Jose Sharks have some players on their rosters that actually do deserve to be resigned. For starters, Kevin Lablanc is one of these such players. He posted a career during the 2018-19 season he posted 17 goals and 39 assists. He surprisingly didn’t cash in but instead, he signed a one million dollar deal. This season he disappointed and got 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 total points. His new deal won’t be as lucrative as it would have been if he signed a big deal last offseason. Nether the less he deserves a new deal. Labanc’s new deal should be in the 3-4 million dollar range.
The Sharks have more than just Kevin Labanc as a free agent. Joel Kellman and Antii Suomela are two caple bottom-six forwards that they sharks should be able to bring back on short term deals and low cap hit. Kellman and Suomela should get a pay raise and make about one million on their next contracts. Another player on the Sharks that is due for a new contract is Tim Heed. Heed is a defensive defenseman who played 38 games this season. Heed was a solid player for the Sharks and deserves a new contract from the team. Heed’s new contract should be similar to Kellman’s and Suomela’s as it should be short term and low cap hit. Heed should get a little raise up to one million dollars on his next contract from San Jose.
As previously mentioned the San Jose Sharks are going to strap for cash due to large contracts given to their star players and because the cap is going to be a flat cap. With only about seven million dollars to sign free agents after all the resigning the Sharks will not be able to acquire the big-name free agents. Instead, they should look to sign Anton Khudobin. Khudobin had a fantastic season with The Dallas Stars. Khudobin played in 30 games earning 2.22 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. At age 34 Khudobin put in his best season in the NHL. Khudobin deserves a pay raise and the opportunity to be the new starter for San Jose.
Since the Sharks do not have a lot of cap space than the general manager, Doug Wilson may look to make a trade for a new starting goalie. The perfect trade target for the Sharks is Alexandar Georgiev. Georgiev currently plays for the New York Rangers and is part of the trio of fantastic goalies.
The Rangers have a Russian stud named Igor Shestorkin as their current starter. Henrik Lundqvist has been the face of the Rangers franchise for the past fifteen years. Lundqvist now age 38. During the 2019-20 season, he was replaced by his younger counterparts during the 2019-20 season. Lundqvist posted a 3.16 goals-against average and a 905 save percentage.
Georgiev is a pending restricted free agent after the 2019-2020 season finally wraps up. The Rangers similar to the Sharks will also have limited cap space and need to sign some of their own free agents. Since the Rangers have limited cap space Georgiev is now available to be traded. This past season Georgiev didn’t have his best year as he posted 3.04 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. Georgiev’s new contract should be in the range of 2-3 million dollars.
In conclusion, the San Jose Sharks will be right back into contention if the injury bug does not strike again. The Sharks also need to improve there goaltending by bringing in fresh players. If they are able to carry out these two ideas than a return to their once dangerous and powerful self as Western conference champions is in the near future. The San Jose sharks will soon be back into the Stanley cup playoffs with some good luck and good signings.
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