I’m starting to feel bad for Tommy Wingels. He’s not in a great spot right now as young players and free agent signings pushed the forward down the depth chart. If all these dominos fall the way I think they will, Wingels won’t be a member of the Sharks on October 12 when the Kings come to SAP Center.
His $2,475,000 cap hit will make this a tough move based on his play over the past year or so. The time to sell on Wingels was last off-season, but that didn’t seem like a great option for the Sharks at the time.
He played in 68 games last season and scored just 18 points, while admittedly not playing with the world’s greatest linemates. Individual production numbers can be misleading as well. Wingels shot below his career average (6.3 compared to 8 percent) but his possession ability also deteriorated.
This takes into account the past three years of Wingels’ play, with more recent years weighted more heavily. His HERO chart doesn’t paint a pretty picture and matches the eye test. Wingels lost a step last year and it showed as he devolved more into an instigator than the semi-skilled bottom-six forward we’d seen the previous two seasons.
So with all that in mind, what do the Sharks need to see in order to send Wingels somewhere else?
General Fanager projects the Sharks as $995,836 under the salary cap. That’s before taking into account Aaron Dell’s $625,000 cap hit, so San Jose could use some monetary flexibility. The good news is that Wingels is the kind of player that can fit just about anywhere that needs a fourth liner. The not so good news is that players like him can come a whole lot cheaper.
Wingels is the kind of get-under-other-players-skin guy that lots of teams like to have on their team, but he doesn’t really have that reputation league wide. Players with a bigger track record may add more value to their name, but Wingels’ antics, such as they are, are mostly known to other Pacific Division teams.
The Sharks might have to be happy with a salary dump. Send Wingels somewhere, anywhere, for a sixth round pick and bank the extra cap space. Based on his production last season, I don’t see San Jose getting a team to pay much more than that. The Sharks need the cap space more than what Wingels brings to the table.