If one area of the Sharks was exposed in their Stanley Cup Final loss it was their bottom defensive pairing. San Jose needs to make a change there, whether it be through organizational promotion or signing a free agent. We know what the in-house options are, so let’s look at some of the players hitting free agency on Friday.
Previous Contract: 1yr, $800,000
The Case: Mostly just that he’s a former Shark. He played the majority of last season with the Boston Bruin’s AHL team and while his 2015 numbers are sort of okay (his last partial season with the Sharks are above) I can’t say he’s better than just promoting Dylan DeMelo or Mirco Mueller. Next!
Previous Contract: 1yr, $625,000
The Case: Schlemko boasts strong possession numbers and won’t cost the Sharks much. He’s likely a bottom pairing guy and has little offensive upside, but Schlemko would be a fine value acquisition.
Previous Contract: 6yrs, $4.5 million
The Case: On one hand, Hamhuis is going to get a contract that’s either too expensive, too long or both. On the other hand, for a team that should slam into win-now mode (yep, the Sharks) it might be worth the overpay as long as you don’t give him a no-movement clause. Gotta be thinking about the expansion draft.
Previous Contract: 5yrs, $3.6 million
The Case: As one of just a few right-handed defenders on the UFA market, Schenn is a bit of an interesting case. His possession numbers aren’t great and he doesn’t exactly light up the scoresheet. Still, since Jason Demers (see the next chart) will likely get a big payday, Schenn could be a decent bargain buy.
Previous Contract: 2yrs, $3.4 million
The Case: I know I don’t have to sell anyone on bringing Demers back to San Jose. He’s a solid top-four guy who would pair perfectly with Brenden Dillon. That being said, Daddy’s going to get paid and the Sharks will probably be priced out. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but this seems like a bit of a longshot.
Previous Contract: 1yr, $1.5 million
The Case: Listen, I died on this hill a long time ago. Ehrhoff is a great possession-driving defender and I would love to have him on the Sharks, the same way I would have loved to have him at any point over the past four years. For whatever reason he hasn’t really found a fit in either of his previous landing spots which means he could be a great buy-low pick up.
Alright, who did I miss?