Rumor Roundup: Souray, Kaberle, and Whimsical Wants

Howdy, partners. Rumor Roundup will be a recurring piece this offseason, focusing on rumors surrounding the San Jose Sharks. The unabashed use of alliteration is staying, but hopefully the western-esque feel dies down as we stop playing so much Red Dead Redemption. I swear, if someone behind us yelled "John Marsten!" we'd turn around while enabling Dead-Eye and blow em' away. It's bad.

Although a new Rumor Roundup will be published every Monday, the comments here should stay lively all week-- in other words, if you see a rumor over the next few days that you want to discuss, feel free post it in the comments.

Souray to Sharks: Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal breaks down a potential trade involving the oft-injured veteran:

One possibility may be the San Jose Sharks, who need help on the blue-line, especially if Rob Blake retires and they lose his big shot and $3.5-million worth of salary. The Sharks would likely offer defenceman Kent Huskins and forward Torrey Mitchell in return. Huskins, a No. 5 or 6 blue-liner at best, makes $1.7 million for one more year. Mitchell, who hasn't been the same player since breaking his leg and having knee problems, is a $1.3-million cap hit.

Oh, Sheldon Souray. It's kind of sad a name that would have excited us just a year ago makes us so leery today. Souray is still an effective offensive-defenseman when healthy, with a cannon of a shot and underrated puck moving abilities. When healthy, though, is the phrase that concerns us. After a strong 2008-2009 Souray spent an abundant amount of time in the press box with a concussion and hand injury, playing in just 37 games and putting up middling numbers. That injury is in addition to multiple others he has had in his career, and the fact that he is 33 years old makes us even more wary to green light this deal.

To say nothing of his $5.4MM cap his over the next two seasons. If the Sharks were to add Souray, they'd have $26.7MM tied up in four players (Heatley, Thornton, Boyle), and that's before signing Patrick Marleau, who will likely be one of Doug Wilson's top priorities. Although Souray could be had for very little (the Huskins and Mitchell package validates the thought that a Souray trade would be a pure cap purge for Edmonton, due in no small part to his trade request at the end of the regular season), the salary space that would have to be dedicated to Souray play a large role in the thought process.

A player such as Paul Martin, outlined in a previous article on Fear The Fin, is a much better bet for the Sharks this offseason due to his strong two way play and attentiveness in the defensive zone.

Kaberle trade possible: Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal looks at potential suitors for the puck moving blueliner:

Let's face it, the Toronto Maple Leafs don't need Tomas Kaberle. They have Dion Phaneuf now. But they have a tough chore convincing teams to take the defenceman unless the team wanting Kaberle can get him signed to a three-or four-year contract for, say, Sergei Gonchar-type money ($5 million a year). If so, you give up a top six forward for sure, but Leafs' fans are dreaming if they think they can get Bobby Ryan for Kaberle.Would the Sabres take Kaberle and give up Derek Roy or Jason Pominville? Probably. Would the Sharks take him for Devin Setoguchi? You bet. Would the Blue Jackets for Jake Voracek. For sure. How about Dallas for Loui Eriksson or Jamie Benn? Try the Bruins for centre David Krejci?

Matheson sure likes shootin' the shit don't he? We wrote in detail about Kaberle during the trade deadline, but have cooled on him considerably since then. Kaberle would have helped the Sharks this last postseason on the power play, but San Jose will likely allocate their dollars elsewhere when looking at a top four defenseman.

A large part of that is the emergence of Jason Demers, who has shown that he's more than capable of playing big minutes with the man advantage. Because of Demers you don't really need the equally poor defensive abilities of Kaberle, who's softer than Quilted Northern on your behind. With goaltender Evgeni Nabokov likely leaving for free agency, and the goaltending situation still up in the air, San Jose will need to do a better job of limiting shots on net in their own end. Kaberle doesn't help here.

In addition, trading the huge potential of Setoguchi for one year of Kaberle is something that makes little sense. Clowe for Kaberle? Maybe, but even then you are giving away your lone trade chip this season for a purely offensive defenseman. Setoguchi has encountered a great deal of criticism from the fanbase through an injury plagued 2009-2010 campaign, but ignoring the fact that he could have been a 30 goal scorer if healthy is a disservice to what he brings to the table at the young age of 23. Setoguchi is already one of the better players on the team and will only improve with time. Unless the Sharks get a huge package for him, or he gets an equally huge offer sheet from another team, expect him in teal to begin next season.

Hjalmarsson likely gone from Chicago: Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily Herald examines the vultures that will begin to circle next offseason as Chicago's cap worries become a full-blown conundrum:

Those discussions were the sideshow to the talks involving trades and free agency, setting the table for what's certain to be an interesting summer.

And at the center of it all are the Hawks and their cap problems, and a defenseman named Niklas Hjalmarsson.

The vultures are swarming and there's a lot of talk about players that might be available, like Kris Versteeg (two more years at $3 million per) and Patrick Sharp (two years at $4.1 million per).

While the Sharks aren't mentioned in this article, the addition of Niklas Hjalmarsson to the San Jose blueline would be a great addition to the team. We highlighted his underrated abilities before the Western Conference Finals, and true to form, the man they call The Hammer was a notable presence on the ice for the Blackhawks.

Extending an offer sheet to Hjalmarsson is an interesting situation. Anything under $3.01MM would only result in the Sharks losing next year's 2nd round pick, and anything from $3.01MM to about $4.5MM would result in losing next year's 1st and 3rd round selections. The former is definitely the most intriguing for a Sharks team whose cupboard is growing bare after years of buy deals, and the ability to bring in a promising young defenseman onto the blueline makes the waning strength of the system less of a factor.

Another route the Sharks could go would be to trade their first round selection to the Blackhawks for Hjalmarsson's rights. While this may strike some as ludicrous considering it would be the third straight year the Sharks have failed to draft in the first round, giving up a first round selection for a promising defenseman would likely be worth the same return (if not better) than what you would expect from the 28th pick in the NHL Draft.

A recent contract signed by Dennis Seidenberg ($3.25MM average over the next four years) shows us that a premium has been placed on free agent defensemen this offseason, likely bumping projected prices up at least half a million dollars. With the Sharks having some pretty significant holes to fill, it's uncertain how aggressively Doug Wilson will approach an area he hasn't had a lot of success in over the years. Signing one UFA defenseman is likely where San Jose draws the line, since it's the second tier guys who will really burn you in a weak market.

At a $3MM offer sheet Hjalmarsson is a steal, and the 2nd round pick is but a cursory concern when you consider how young (22) and talented he is. Extending offer sheets is risky business considering the notable RFA's San Jose will be dealing with in the coming years (Pavelski, Setoguchi, Demers, Couture, McGinn), but for a team that needs defensive help any way they can find it, burning a bridge with an unlikely trade partner (Chicago) is a calculated risk that could pay off big dividends.

We like the idea, especially when you consider what a second rounder is worth in the eyes of Doug Wilson.


Go Sharks.