What trade chips do Sharks have at the deadline?
Let’s make a deal!
As the trade deadline approaches, the Sharks are looking good. Currently sitting second in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference, the Sharks look poised to go on a deep playoff run — but they could probably use some reinforcements. We’ve covered who the Sharks could target. Let’s take a look at what the Sharks could offer to secure the services of one of those players.
In order to comply with the salary cap, the Sharks will likely have to part with a roster player. As the Sharks are looking to add, not subtract, any roster player will be almost certainly accompanied by a pick and/or a prospect (AKA, a Plickspect).
The 23-year-old winger is in the final year of his entry-level contract. His $717,000 cap hit will free up minimal cap space, but his age and scoring ability, especially on the power play, will make him attractive to other teams. His ice time is spent with players who do not have his offensive skill, but Labanc has already equaled his goal total from last season.
It is unlikely that Braun will be traded during the season, but clearing his $3.8 million cap hit would be a win on its own. It is possible that other teams will be willing to pay a premium based on Braun’s reputation and his right-handedness. In the past, Doug Wilson has done a good job in trading players when their perceived value is greater than their current ability. Still, Braun has been part of the core for years, and Pete DeBoer still relies on him for over 20 minutes a game, so it is not terribly likely that he is traded before the deadline. If he is traded, it seems more likely that Braun will be dealt at the draft in June.
He’d be a welcome addition to just about any team in the league’s blueline and at 25 years old, he’s still young enough for rebuilders and contenders alike. Clearing out $650,000 wouldn’t give much the Sharks much cap relief, but it would make him appealingly cheap to another team. With Erik Karlsson back on the ice and Radim Simek doing well in his role as the Wookiee Whisperer, Ryan is likely to see limited ice time going forward.
On the same $650,000 contract as his former D-partner, Ryan, Heed is a little bit older at 28 years old, and has less NHL experience. However, Heed offers an offensive upside and is right-handed. The Sharks aren’t going to want to lose Heed for nothing in free agency this summer.
The other Karlsson is 28 years old and makes $2 million against the cap. Peter DeBoer trusts him defensively, but he offers very little offensively. If the Sharks need to clear out a bit of cap space, Melker might be on the way out, but it’d certainly be a scenario of hoping the other GM involved is as high on “plays on the penalty kill” as a skillset as Wilson and DeBoer seem to be. The likelihood of that is pretty low, but his position is where the Sharks could find an upgrade.
Just kidding, nobody is trading for him.
The Sharks cannot trade a first round pick in 2019, 2020 or 2021. Thanks to a group of conditions on the Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson trades, it is not clear at the moment which of those picks will ultimately wind up with Buffalo and Ottawa, but suffice to say that the Sharks’ first round picks for the next three drafts are not eligible to be traded at this time.
So what can they trade?
The Sharks currently hold the following picks:
- 2019: a second (either their own or Florida’s, whichever is lower), a third, a fifth, a sixth and a seventh
- 2020: a second, a third, a fourth and two fifths (their own and Ottawa’s)
- 2021: a third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh round picks /
They also will have either their own first or second in 2021, based on conditions in the Erik Karlsson trade, but we won’t know which that will be until after the season, so it’s safe to say that either pick is probably not in play.
To be perfectly honest, the players and picks that the Sharks have to offer are, uh, not particularly compelling. However, the Sharks do have some prospects who would be very attractive to trade partners.
We are big fans of Merkley around these parts and it would be very disappointing to see him traded. That said, the Peterborough Petes blueliner is the Sharks’ highest upside prospect, and could be fetch a big return. It is unlikely that he is traded, but not impossible.
Joachim Blichfeld, Alexander Chmelevski, Ivan Chekhovich
The highly skilled forwards are in a similar situation. They are playing very well, which means that the Sharks won’t want to trade them, but other teams will ask for them in a trade. Not being able to offer a first round pick any time soon means that the odds one of these three are traded are probably higher than they otherwise would be.
Is he a player or a prospect? Since Gambrell hasn’t stuck with the Sharks, we’ll include him here. He seems to be the type of player who could do well if given an opportunity to shine in an offensive capacity. That isn’t going to happen with the Sharks, but it might on a rebuilding team. Could easily be part of a deal in the same way Daniel O’Regan was last year.
The Barracuda have been at the top of the AHL Pacific Division for the entire season. While they’ve faced some challengers on the back half of the season, they’re still giving strong performances. Teams could have an interest in several other players that may have an NHL upside or fill a need in their organization.
Fans of other teams may look at this list and chuckle that there is no way the Sharks turn any of this into a useful player. But remember: Doug Wilson turned “six assets” into Erik Karlsson less than six months ago. Go get bread, Doug.