As the San Jose Sharks return home from an east coast road trip, trade rumors have cropped up. According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, multiple Sharks are being shopped around the league (read TSN’s initial report here). Doug Wilson is no stranger to the trade market, but some of the names may warrant some surprise.
Least shocking is Mikkel Boedker, a Danish hockey player currently collecting a $4 million annual paycheck. Boedker has the blistering totals of one goal and three assists and somehow looks even worse than the stats suggest. He has been a source of frustration since the day he signed as a free agent, as he hasn’t lived up to his lofty contract. Trading him would be tough, but getting anything in return would be a win - even if it is a future mid-to-low round pick.
Chris Tierney is also reportedly on the chopping block. Tierney is a depth center, albeit, he is only 23, so he has some time to develop still. He posted career highs last year of 11 goals and 23 assists, but has a more tepid start this season. Garrioch reports that there has been mild interest from the league in Tierney’s services, which makes sense. A team looking to bolster its depth chart or a depleted squad would likely make a trade for him. Examples could include the Ottawa Senators or Nashville Predators, and with a lower cap hit of $735,000 for this season, Tierney could fit into most team’s payroll quite easily.
Another part of Tierney’s expendability is the log jam at center. In addition to Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, and Tomas Hertl, the Sharks also are trying to fit Ryan Carpenter and Danny O’Regan into the fold. With Tierney most likely maxing out at where he is now, it would make sense to swap him out to let Carpenter and other young Sharks have a shot at the bottom six line-up.
Last, and maybe most surprising, is Paul Martin. As Sharks fans know, he has been sidelined for almost the entire season so far with an ankle injury. The aging defenseman has inched closer to a return and has been speculated to rejoin to the line-up once the Sharks returned from their east coast road trip. It would not be surprising to see him take the ice against Toronto tonight and if not, then very soon. Martin has a limited no-trade clause, and carries a fairly large $4.85 million cap hit until the end of 2019.
The report that Martin is on the block is intriguing. This would signal that Sharks coaches and management like what they have in Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan and want to continue to develop the younger players. It is no secret that the Martin-Ryan lineup choice has become divisive among Sharks fans and analysts. Martin is a savvy vet, and someone who has been seen as a “Brent Burns Whisperer,” in that he was the ideal pairing for Burns to do what he does best - defend while scoring goals. The desire for Martin to return to the line-up is based on how well the Burns-Martin pairing has done in the past and not is necessarily reflective of the current situation.
Others, myself included, see the Ryan-Burns pair as superior to the former, and would like to see this continue. Ryan-Burns have put up a blistering 57.36 CF%, which is fourth in the league for pairs over 100 minutes together and is 13th for pairs with 50 minutes together. They continue to be an excellent pairing, so removing Ryan and inserting Martin would disrupt one of the better pairings in the league. If management is indeed shopping Martin around, this would be a throw of support for the new defensive pairs.
As the Sharks are trying to find their footing at 5-5-0, it is no surprise Doug Wilson is looking to potentially shake things up. We can speculate if Wilson is trying to package Boedker, Tierney, and Martin together as part of a broader deal or attempting to clear them out for a bigger separate deal (possibly John Taveres?). In any case, it looks like the Sharks may be headed for a roster shake-up.