With the draft behind us and free agency looming, we can finally take a comprehensive look at what the Sharks have to work with this offseason. I’m going to group all the 2015-16 Sharks into three categories: Signed, UFAs and RFAs. From there, we can see what holes need to be plugged.
These Sharks are under contract for the 2017-18 season. All salary information comes from GeneralFanager.com.
Forwards (9, $34,453,332)
Joe Thornton, $6,750,000
Patrick Marleau, $6,666,666
Joe Pavelski, $6,000,000
Logan Couture , $6,000,000
Joel Ward, $3,275,000
Tommy Wingels, $2,475,000
Melker Karlsson, $1,650,000
Joonas Donskoi, $925,000
Chris Tierney, $711,666
Defenders (6, $22,824,166)
Brent Burns, $5,760,000
Paul Martin, $4,850,000
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, $4,250,000
Justin Braun, $3,800,000
Brenden Dillon , $3,270,000
Mirco Mueller, $894,166
Goalies (1, $3,000,000)
Martin Jones, $3,000,000
Forwards: Nick Spaling, Dainius Zubrus, Micheal Haley
Defenders: Roman Polak, Matt Tennyson
Goalies: James Reimer
Forwards: Tomas Hertl, Matt Nieto
Defenders: Dylan Demelo
So the Sharks currently have nine forwards, six defenders and one goalie under contract for the 2017-18 season. Doug Wilson has already stated that he’ll allow the players acquired during last season to test the market. That group includes Roman Polak, Nick Spaling, James Reimer and Dainius Zubrus.
That may not include Matt Tennyson and Micheal Haley. Haley played in 16 games with the Sharks, recording one goal and 10 shots while Tennyson played 29 games with one goal and three assists on 23 shots.
The Sharks have until 2 p.m. PDT on Monday to make a qualifying offer to their three pending RFAs. I expect San Jose will do that. We’ll likely get some kind of an update on Tomas Hertl’s health this week, which I imagine will factor into the kind of deal he’s offered by the Sharks.
Matt Nieto is also a guy San Jose would like to keep around as he’s proved to be a solid depth forward. Dylan Demelo should also be extended a qualifying offer — he impressed in limited (and sheltered) duty last season and could eventually turn into a bottom pairing guy.
Assuming the Sharks tender contracts to these three players (with Hertl and Nieto getting one-way qualifying offers) that leaves San Jose with 11 forwards and six defenders signed. Mirco Mueller, while technically on the Sharks roster, is not a lock to make the opening night roster and could be dropped back to the Barracuda.
If that happens, the Sharks will need at least one forward, one defender and one goaltender. Assuming Timo Meier makes the team this fall (I think he will) the Sharks will likely go outside the organization to find a backup goalie and a bottom pairing defender.
Note that San Jose does have the options in the organization to fill all these roster holes if they choose to, but I doubt they will. The Sharks can also try to go out and upgrade certain positions, most likely on the bottom forward line, if they desire. The money San Jose will have to spend depends on the contracts the RFAs get, but the Sharks should have a decent amount of cash to splash now — or during the season — if they want.