Doug Wilson is working with less assets than most teams who’d be interested in making a big move at the deadline. They don’t have a second or third round pick in this year’s draft, and a mid to late first rounder doesn’t go as far as it used to. Plus, giving up that first round pick means punting on this draft at least for right now.
They don’t have the prospects to work a major deal either. Doug Wilson has said he’s not trading the young players they have now in Joakim Ryan, Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc. Past those guys, the Sharks aren’t exactly stacked prospect wise. So I think a major deal is out of the question.
With that being said. These are some trade options that could legitimately help this team right now.
5. Jeff Skinner - LW Carolina Hurricanes
Remember how I said in the introduction that the Sharks won’t be making a big move, and that there won’t be players like Pacioretty, E. Kane, and Tavares on this list? Well, this could be a big move. Skinner isn’t any of the three mentioned above but he is a very good, very underrated player who is kind of getting wasted away on Carolina’s third line. Skinner is going to be the most expensive player on this list. We just saw Derick Brassard go for a first, a third, a nice goalie prospect, and Ryan Reaves. I think this is around what Skinner will cost, maybe more. They’d at least have to part with Brandon Mashinter at a minimum — I’ll see myself out.
He’s 25, under contract for another year, and is putting up good numbers this season with the ‘Canes. Skinner isn’t quite on pace to have the season he had in 2016-2017 where he scored 37 goals and 63 points. But he’s close. He has 37 points on Carolina’s third line, along with 20 goals and a CF% at a little over 56. This means that when Skinner is on the ice, his team possesses the puck 56% of the time. And for the Sharks, who play a possession style game, he could be a much needed boon on their top six.
4. Tommy Wingels - Wing, Chicago Blackhawks
No need to adjust your eyes. You saw that right. Don’t @ me.
DW loves getting the band back together, and Wingels is a fan favorite. But he’d also bring something to the Sharks that they don’t really have right now: Physicality. Wingels leads the Chicago Blackhawks in hits, and while he won’t lead either team in any relevant statistical category, Wingels would provide that much needed spark on the bottom six.
I know that physical play, and toughness is quickly becoming obsolete in today’s league, but since Joe Thornton’s injury, this team has been getting pushed around more so than they already had. Plus he’d a better option on the fourth line at this point than Melker Karlsson.
The Sharks get bullied. And for an expected playoff team, that can’t happen. I understand that hits don’t necessarily equate to a statistical advantage on the ice, but it does provide a mental and emotional boost. Knowing night in, and night out that no team is going to be able to push you around is a huge asset mentally. San Jose doesn’t have that right now. They let teams like Arizona run roughshod on them with dirty hit after dirty hit and nothing was done to counter. It’s as if they ignored them. Just last night we saw Wingels flatten both Hertl and Donskoi on separate occasions — something that isn’t uncommon for those two players.
Wingels won’t light up the score sheet. And he’d be a bottom six player and even a possible healthy scratch for some games. But every team needs a player like him.
3. Tomas Tatar - LW, Detroit Red Wings
Tatar to me is interesting. He’d come in and immediately be the fastest player on the ice. He’d provide much needed scoring on the third line, and you could even benefit from playing him with Hertl and Couture. But Tatar has also underachieved for most of his career in Detroit and I’m not sure if it’s because of misuse, or if he just missed his potential.
He has the ability to put up far more points than he has throughout his tenure with Hockeytown. His career high in points is 56 in 2015. A very good year for all intents and purposes. But after 2015, his total points regressed to his mean at 45 and 46 respectively for the two years after.
One thing remained the same for Tatar throughout his career: He’s a goal scorer. He’s posted 20 or more goals the past three seasons, and with 16 this year, he will exceed that number again.
Tatar was supposed to be one of the next great Detroit Red Wings when he was first coming up, but he just hasn’t put all that potential together. He’s someone who could be had by a contender for cheaper than we have seen other guys go. If the Sharks miss out on a front line forward, then they’d be keen to check in on Tatar.
The Slovakian winger’s game is a little bit different from what the Sharks play. But they could use a guy like him in transition and in open ice. He’d be a very interesting player on either the second or third lines for this team.
2. Patrick Maroon - LW, Edmonton Oilers
Are you sensing a theme here? Speed and physicality, speed and physicality, I want fast, physical players because the Sharks have very few of those. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Maroon isn’t a guy who’s going to get pushed around by another teams checking line. He’s a big time physical player, but he has the skill to be a top six forward.
I do believe Maroon is a guy who benefits from playing on the top line with Connor McDavid, but then again, I’d be a guy who’d benefit from playing with Connor McDavid. And I’ve never played organized hockey.
Maroon wouldn’t be a top liner for this team. The Sharks’ top line is slow enough. But I could see him protecting Couture on the second line, or adding a physical presence with Tierney and Boedker on the third.
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - C, Edmonton Oilers
Finally! A Center! Do I think the Sharks have a realistic shot at bringing in RNH? Yes, I do. Is he going to be expensive? Maybe not as expensive as one would think for a former number one overall pick.
Nugent-Hopkins has all the skill in the world, he just hasn’t been able to put it together with Edmonton. I know the term “he might just need a change of scenery” is cliche. And honestly, how many times has that ever worked? Usually guys are who they are. That being said, RNH could be an exception to the rule. He’s been stuck in Edmonton his whole career, and well, I’ll let you, the reader do the trashing of the Edmonton Oilers for me. We all know what happens to players drafted number one overall by Edmonton (the current one notwithstanding). I mean, just look how good Taylor Hall is now that he is out of Oil Country.
RNH could be the remedy for the Sharks. He’d be the third line center, pushing Chris Tierney down to the fourth line, which isn’t a knock on the Cobra. Peter DeBoer would finally be able to roll four lines with impunity if Tierney was centering that line with Goodrow and Karlsson. And a Nugent-Hopkins, Boedker, LaBanc line could be very interesting.
If I’m Doug Wilson, I’m calling Peter Chiarelli every day with offers for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He could be exactly what the Sharks are looking for at the center position, especially with all the uncertainty surrounding Joe Thornton.
This isn’t the most flashy list in the world. But the Sharks aren’t exactly working with a whole lot. If they can swing a creative deal, take on some bad contracts to sweeten the offers, et cetera, they could really improve this team down the stretch. The Sharks were one player away when Thornton was healthy. Now, with Jumbo out, it’s just about treading water in the Pacific Division until the postseason. Any of these five guys would help them do that.