I’ll cut to the chase, the only logical option is Arizona Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata, the 35-year-old pending unrestricted free agent.
He is currently riding a nine-game point streak, with 11 points during that span, and that will certainly raise his stock.
Vrbata is beyond affordable at $1M, and the Coyotes could even eat some of that salary as well with the Sharks up against the cap. At that cap hit, his position and production, it’s a no-brainer.
Overall, he’s got 15 goals and 46 points in 61 games on a bad Coyotes team, which would be fifth and third on the Sharks, respectively. His 186 shots would be second on the team, only to the NHL-leading Brent Burns.
It’s no secret that the Sharks, unlike last year, are hungry for depth scoring.
He would fit in very nicely with either the Joes, which would get Joe Thornton rolling again with two natural snipers on his wings, or on the third line with Hertl and Donskoi. That would make for a lot of depth scoring with three legitimate threats to score.
It also gives them the option to roll out a fourth line of Karlsson-Tierney-Ward. That is pretty good come playoff time when depth is a necessity for success.
Vrbata would also improve the powerplay, mightily. Something that has held the Sharks back in some of the few losses that they have this season.
The Sharks are in a rare spot this season where their powerplay is not only outside of the top three, but it’s in the league’s bottom third.
The problem with the powerplay is that it’s gotten too stationary and predictable. It scores when they have the proper setup and Burns shoots with a screen/sticks in the slot. But they need a second weapon. That’s where Vrbata comes in.
His 13 power-play points would be third on the Sharks. It also gives Deboer the flexibility to strengthen his second unit, moving one of his five stars down to help Hertl, Schlemko and company, and maybe, hopefully, taking Vlasic off of the powerplay.
He’s second on Arizona in CF% at 48.0, ahead of the recently-traded Martin Hanzal, who fetched a big haul, and he’s played the second most minutes of any forward, still succeeding on a last-place team.
The Sharks will realistically have to give up at least a second-round pick, but with the strength of this roster, if not this year for the Sharks, then when?