2011 NHL Free Agency Gameday: Buckle Up

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9:00 AM
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9-6-2, $56.6 MM 3-1-0, $7.7 MM
30th in July 1st signings
1st in robbing GM's $$$

Whew.

We've been quite busy over the last two days previewing the who's who of the 2011 Free Agent class. Players like Joel Ward and Eric Belanger are obviously our highest targets, but ultimately, one can safely assume they are the targets of other teams across the League as well. It's always a wait and see game with San Jose on July 1st (with more waiting involved than many would like), but this year it really seems like San Jose makes a bigger impact than usual on the first day of free agency.

Here is what the San Jose Sharks are working with heading into today's gong show:

  • Jamie McGinn signed a one year deal worth $680 K per season.
  • Andrew Desjardins signed a one year deal worth $540 K per season.
  • Frazer McLaren signed a one year deal worth $570 K per season.
  • Assuming McLaren isn't on the opening night roster and McGinn/Desjardins are, the San Jose Sharks have $7.7 MM in cap space. This includes Justin Braun as the sixth defenseman.
  • Three forwards need to be either signed via free agency or promoted from within the organization.
  • One defenseman can be signed or promoted from within the organization in order to give the Sharks a healthy scratch or send Justin Braun down to Worcester.

The Sharks have a distinct opportunity to make a huge impact today. We cannot stress this enough. If they stand pat there is no doubt they will be a good team in the thick of the Pacific Division race-- however, the current roster has some notable holes which will make it hard to really hitch your cart to the Hoowa horse throughout the year.

If they make some bold moves and acquire some affordable impact players (of which there are many, too many to count really), the opportunity is there for them to become a premier Stanley Cup favorite heading into next season.

With the amount of cap space San Jose has right now expect them to target their guys early in the day. They aren't looking for any big fish to come in and change the vibe of the franchise. They can be aggressive in snatching up their key acquisitions while other teams wrestle over the higher profile names.

Maybe it's the excitement talking but I have a feeling DW is going to turn some major heads today with some quality third line forwards. The Brent Burns acquisition proved he's willing to push the pedal and watch the engine roar.

Big day ahead.

Enjoy.

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