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Tommy Wingels likely to be the odd Shark out

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NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The signing of Mikkel Boedker brought the Sharks within $2.3 million of the cap, according to General Fanager. And that’s before coming to terms with Matt Nieto and Dylan DeMelo, whose combined salary will likely get very close to or surpass that number.

Oh, and then there’s the matter of Timo Meier’s contract, which will be just under a million dollars. So something’s gotta give — and it’s probably going to be Tommy Wingels.

Assuming the Sharks reach a deal with Nieto, here’s how they’ll probably line up:

Timo Meier — Joe Thornton — Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi — Logan Couture — Joel Ward

Patrick Marleau — Tomas Hertl — Mikkel Boedker

Matt Nieto — Chris Tierney — Melker Karlsson

The two players I italicized, Nieto and Melker Karlsson, are Wingels’ biggest competition for a lineup spot. Here’s how their HERO charts compare.

Karlsson is quite a bit better than Wingels (which I could have told you before showing you the charts) while Nieto slightly edges him out in terms of possession play. Nieto is also likely to come a bit cheaper next season and seems to be trending up, while Wingels’ play has deteriorated over the past couple of seasons.

For those more interested in his production numbers:

Wingels’ scoring was down, his possession game deteriorated and he just didn’t look quite as effective as he has in seasons past. One area where Wingels still excels? Drawing penalties. This is the area the Sharks would miss his game the most (yes, more than the #big #hitz he lays down).

From Corsica, Wingels drew 24 penalties last season, good enough for sixth in the league. His penalty differential (penalties drawn vs. penalties taken) is 12 and given the Sharks power-play acumen (and lack thereof on the penalty kill) that’s pretty darn valuable!

For the first time in what feels like years, the Sharks have too many relatively productive forwards. This isn’t an all-time great team where your fourth liners could be your second liners, but the addition of Boedker means a productive player is going to be forced out. I think it should be Wingels, and given the cap space he takes up (nearly $2.5 million) he seems like the most logical target.

So then there’s the matter of moving his contract. My guess is the Sharks can get something for Wingels, even if it’s only a late draft pick. His #truculant style of play will impress a few general managers and his relatively low cost should provide a match with someone before the season begins. If I’m Doug Wilson, I’ve already got calls in to Jim Benning and Brian Burke. Yes, even though Burke keeps pretending his phone is out of battery or whatever.