With the signing of Matt Nieto, the Sharks’ 2016-17 roster is just about complete. Barring a move to alleviate cap space or signing a goaltender, San Jose looks about set for the upcoming season. Let’s take a look at the Sharks’ cap situation and how that will affect the team over the season.
The Sharks have a measly $995,836 in available cap space according to General Fanager and have $72 million committed for the 2016-17 campaign. General Fanager currently has 13 forwards, eight defenders and one goaltender on the Sharks NHL roster, so these numbers will probably change before opening night.
If San Jose calls up Timo Meier and Aaron Dell while sending down Micheal Haley and Mirco Mueller, they’ll have nearly identical cap space according to Cap Friendly. I put together a team, which you can see below, to give an idea of how the dollars and cents would work out.
The elephant in the room remains Tommy Wingels, whose $2 million in cap hit outweighs the value he brings the team. If the Sharks plan to use Meier this season, Wingels will likely be left without a lineup spot which makes it pretty darn likely that Doug Wilson will try to move him before the start of the season.
If Meier doesn’t make the team, the Sharks will have a bit of breathing room cap-wise and will have a spot for Wingels in the lineup. Any look at the Sharks roster for the 2016-17 season must start with asking if Meier will make the team or not, so get used to this discussion.
The other wild card here is Mueller. If the young defender puts together a great camp, he’ll force Wilson into making a difficult decision. The Sharks will want Mueller to play if he’s up with the NHL team but there’s not really a roster spot up for grabs after signing David Schlemko. That’s why I think Mueller will get more time in the AHL while Dylan DeMelo gets to hang out in the press box at SAP Center.
Then there’s the backup goalie situation. Dell will come with a pretty light cap hit, but he also has no NHL experience. His AHL numbers are good, but it’s possible Wilson wants a veteran backup after going through the Alex Stalock experience last year. There are still a few left on the market, including Karri Ramo and Jhonas Enroth.
So now we wait. Training camp will be very interesting for the Sharks as Dell, Mueller and Meier will all compete for a spot on the opening night roster. When we get our 25 under 25 series started on Thursday you’ll see there are more than a few dark horses to keep an eye out for as well.
This is shaping up to be a pretty exciting build up to the 2016-17 season — only 84 days until opening night.