Monday’s Trade Deadline madness is behind us and the San Jose Sharks are looking a little bit lighter as acting general manager Joe Will tries to get the club back to its winning ways by next fall.
Here’s every move the Sharks have made so far to achieve that goal:
Waiver Claim: Ryan Dzingel, F
Kicking things off — and signaling that the team is desperate for offense — the Sharks picked up Ryan Dzingel off of waivers when the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired the 30-year-old forward in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes and immediately placed him on waivers to reassign him to the AHL. Had he made it, he would’ve been a decent depth piece and likely served as a black ace in playoffs. Instead, he headed to San Jose ... where he was eventually assigned to the AHL.
Dzingel is on a one-year, $1.1 million contract and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Acquired: Alex Stalock, G
To Edmonton Oilers: Future Considerations
This move is less about the Sharks’ future and more about 1. getting the team through a period where their goaltending is depleted and 2. doing right by a player who deserves a break. Stalock gave the Sharks a lot of good years and no doubt the organization saw both an opening and an opportunity here, but it’s not a move made with longevity in mind. The future considerations are likely to develop into either a depth player or, at most, something like a seventh-round draft pick.
The 34-year-old Stalock is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $785,000.
Signed: Tomas Hertl, F
One of the Sharks’ biggest moves this trade deadline was to take a big name off the board: the team’s top center signed a maximum eight-year contract extension to keep his talents in the Bay Area long-term. And all it will cost the Sharks is $8.1375 million each year.
Acquired: Kaapo Kahkohnen, G; 2022 fifth-round pick (SJS)
To Minnesota Wild: Jacob Middleton, D
Capitalizing on the hype that former ECHL defender Jacob Middleton made for himself over the course of this season, the Sharks secured another goaltender, hoping to not only weather this injury period, but perhaps looking toward the future of the crease. Kaapo Kahkohnen was expected to become the Minnesota Wild’s franchise goaltender just a few seasons ago. Could he take over the starting role in San Jose when 34-year-old James Reimer becomes a free agent in 2023?
He also comes in extremely budget-friendly, swapping Middleton’s contract for an identical $725,000 contract. Both players will become restricted free agents this summer.
Acquired: Anthony Bitetto, D
To New York Rangers: Nick Merkley, RW/C
I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this one. It seems like — given his play earlier in the season and in the AHL, as well as his extremely alluring $750,000 contract — that the Sharks could have gotten more for 24-year-old Nick Merkley than 31-year-old AHL defender Anthony Bitetto. I suppose with Middleton gone, someone will have to come up, leaving space for an AHL defender. New York needed to clear a defensive logjam and the Sharks have an abundance of bottom-six forwards. Just seems like wasted leverage, but what do I know?
Merkley will be a Group 6 UFA this summer. Bitetto will become an unrestricted free agent then, as well. It’s possible the Sharks weren’t planning to re-sign Merkley, and this will allow him a new opportunity elsewhere.
Acquired: 2024 fifth-round pick (COL)
To Colorado Avalanche: Andrew Cogliano, LW (50 percent retained)
This trade got to me, I’m not going to lie. Doug Wilson really wanted Andrew Cogliano, and wanted this team to be successful with him. He’s an incredible worker, someone who has put in the reps in the league and I’ve come to appreciate him as a player and a person in his time in San Jose. Knowing the struggles off the ice he’s had this season, I’m going to be thinking about him and his family a lot throughout the remainder of the season and postseason.
Glad the team could do right by him to send him to a contender, and a fifth-round pick is about expected for a 34-year-old depth forward. The retained salary is chump change.
Acquired: Antoine Morand, C
To Tampa Bay Lightning: Alexei Melnichuk, G
With the acquisition of Kahkonen early in the day, it seemed certain that a Sharks goaltender would be on the move. Many were predicting, or perhaps hoping, that the team would move James Reimer, in order to maximize the potential return. Instead, the front office is committing to Reimer, who has been the bonafide starter basically all season, and shipped off a goaltender who has taken steps backward in his development. Melnichuk’s days with the club seemed numbered from the moment Zachary Sawchenko beat out the 23-year-old Russian netminder for a call-up role.
Tampa Bay’s AHL goaltending is nightmarish, and if the team wants a historic threepeat championship title, they’ll need insurance in net, and hey, at least Melnichuk is cheap. Again, it feels like the Sharks could’ve pushed for more, but clearing out a pending restricted free agent that the front office wasn’t going to re-sign is something, at least.