Impact of potential expansion draft on Sharks

The General Managers sat down this week and came up with some basic rules for a potential expansion draft. The final rules still need to be negotiated with the NHLPA, so things are not yet fully determined.  One remaining question is whether No Trade and No Movement contracts must be protected (a player could waive his NTC/NMC to allow him to be exposed).

Teams will be able to protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goalie; or 8 skaters (any position) and a goalie. And they have to expose salaries equivalent to 25% minimum of cap hit.

Exemptions for the expansion draft are not the same group as waiver exemptions.  The groups exempt are unsigned draftees from the last two years (so even college kids drafted over two years ago would be exposed), and first and second year “pro” players.

Let’s start with those players exempt from the expansion draft:

  • Unsigned draftees from 2015 (G Mike Robinson, D Karlis Cukste, L Rudolfs Balcers, D Adam Parsells, C Marcus Vela, G John Kupsky) and 2016 (TBD)
  • First and second year “pro” players (IOW, rookies in 2015-16 and 2016-17); unclear if this includes players with European “pro” experience.
    • 2015-16 rookies (including AHL): Rumpel; Bergman, Cundari, McNally, Pinkston, Ryan; Arseneau, Aviani, Crane, Donskoi, Doremus, Emmanuelson, Gallant, Goldobin, Jevpalovs (assuming any RFAs are re-signed)
    • Projected 2016-17 rookies: Fitzgerald, Roy; Chartier, Helewka, Labanc, J Martin, Meier, Schoenborn (plus any further signees)

Now the Sharks have historically (see 2000 expansion draft when Lombardi made trades to protect exposed goalie) made a “Future Considerations” trade to expansion draft teams to protect 1-2 more players that have to be exposed (usually from among players exempt from the draft).

Protected list, my guess:

Goalie: Jones

Defense: Vlasic (NTC), Burns, Martin

Forwards: Pavelski (NTC), Thornton (NMC), Marleau (NMC), Couture (NTC), Ward (NTC), Hertl; and perhaps Karlsson.

(Note – players with expiring contracts could be acquired as UFAs, if not re-signed)

Cap casualties or trade bait?

It’s that time of year.  Not when young men dream of love, nor the winter weary of the blooming spring.  But the approach of the trade deadline and the preparation for what a team will do in the off season with re-signing and fitting under the cap.

The Sharks have 15 players currently on the NHL roster signed for next season.  $34.45m for 9 forwards, $21.93m for 5 defensemen and $3m for one goalie.  (Not including recent recalls.)  Of the seven expiring contracts, 3 are UFAs (Brown, Zubrus, Stalock), four are RFAs (Hertl, Nieto, Demelo, Tennyson) — perhaps deserving a raise. Expiring ELS deals for Hertl and Nieto.  (In the rest of the organization, six RFAs and six UFAs with expiring NHL contracts.  And six expiring AHL contracts.)

With the buyout of Burish on the books for one more season, the Sharks have $60m (less $200) allocated against the cap for the 2016-17 season, with five+ more contracts to (re-)sign and/or prospects to promote for the NHL roster.  The NHL minimum contract for 16-17 is $575k.

The 15-16 cap is $74.1m.  There is some speculation that the 16-17 cap could be reduced by up to $4m due to reduction in Canadian dollar which decreases revenue (HRR is calculated in US dollars). Which gives the Sharks about $10m for those five contracts/promotions.

Now comes the hard part: which players with expiring contracts will be retained/re-signed, and which won’t.   Plus who gets the $$s.  And, are there players with remaining term on their respective contracts that no longer fit in the Sharks roster? (Any players “out there” that the Sharks might want to acquire?)

First things first. Potential trade bait at the trade deadline. Which expiring contracts probably won’t be re-signed/retained?  Any players with term (or RFAs) that would make sense to trade? My partial list:

  • D Matt Tennyson (RFA) – a good player, a sentimental choice as the first Jr Shark to make the NHL Shark roster, but he’s been in the press box for more than half the games this season. UPDATE: With the injury 2/22 (likely a concussion), it’s unlikely he’ll be traded.  (Although it would have been weird as the AHL Barracuda are having his Bobblehead night 3/5.)
  • F Mike Brown (UFA) – utility 4th liner, pinch fighter. Changing culture means his role is disappearing.
  • F Ben Smith (UFA) – demoted to AHL, he has found his scoring touch, again, but just does not seem to fit into DeBoer’s plans.
  • G Al Stalock (UFA) – seems to have a confidence issue; good enough for a little work, but team has not been able to rely on him to take some load off Jones.
  • F Raffi Torres (UFA) – demoted to AHL, has lost a lot of speed and strength from multiple surgeries/procedures and no durability (playing perhaps 1 game in 3). Update: Traded 2/22 as part of cap differential for Polak/Spaling acquisition. Torres waived his NTC, but remains with the AHL Barracuda.
  • F Ben Smith (AHL, UFA) – has rediscovered his offense in the AHL after clearing waivers and being demoted. Does not seem to fit in with DeBoer’s coaching; could use a new home.
  • F Frazer McLaren (AHL, UFA) – has been out (what seems like months) since a fight. Concussion is suspected but has not been confirmed.
  • G Aaron Dell (AHL, UFA VI) – has actually outplayed Grosenick this season. Have to wonder if the organization might retain him instead.
  • G Troy Grosenick (AHL; one more year) – has been decent; might end up being a throw in if the Sharks acquire a goalie (otherwise seems to be penciled in as the NHL backup for 16-17).

Zubrus has played well under DeBoer, so I think it unlikely he’ll be traded (and could even get an extension).  Marleau has another year under contract; but I don’t think the Sharks would be able to get fair value nor replace the role/offense he brings. Hertl and Nieto are RFAs, but most likely to be re-signed. Demelo is coming off his ELS, and I expect him to be re-signed. Thornton leads the team in offense; no way to get fair value in a trade.

Stollery, Lerg, McCarthy, Haley have been good vets in the AHL.

Carpenter, Cundari, Emanuelsson, Doremus and Langlois have all played well and will probably be retained.

If the Sharks do make a trade, will it be to pare down the roster, or shore up a need?  Or both? Various pundits have postulated that the Sharks “need” more D depth (like 5th defenseman) and/or a better backup goalie.

UPDATE: Sharks acquired D Roman Polak and F Nick Spaling. Addresses their D depth and forward depth.

That trade may answer the depth issue, but not a better backup goalie.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson indicates that the organization plans to “replace” those two picks given away in the 2017 and 2018 draft for Polak and Spaling in the future.  So, even if the needs are filled, some of the “trade bait” players may wind up getting a few more draft picks (or prospects) down the road.

The Summer knows – Training Camp eve

One last caress
It’s time to dress
For Fall…

Recapping off season ponderings:

And it’s here!  Training camp. First on ice session will be Friday morning.

New coach DeBoer promises a clean slate, which is both good and bad.  If you had a bad season, new reasons to play your best.  If you’ve been at the top of the game, you have to prove yourself again.  And the new players to the organization have to show the coaching staff their abilities and how they’ll fit in.

So, where are we, what might the NHL roster look like at the start of the season?  Who’ll be in the AHL?  Or who won’t be playing pro with the Sharks?

To start, realize that the organization prides itself on merit promotions.  IOW, how you play will rank you in the depth chart, get you ice time and a NHL roster spot.

But if you’re an experienced NHL player on a one-way contract, what might that mean for your future with the organization if you’ve dropped down the depth chart?  The organization must consider the roster count (max 23), NHL contract count (max 50+CHL slideable) and the cap implications of any move. The cap for the upcoming season is $71.4m. This season, a player on a one-way contract gets a $925k cap exemption if assigned to the AHL; for example, if a player had a $1m contract, and was assigned to the AHL, there would be a residual $75k hit against the NHL cap; if the cap hit was $600k, there would be no residual NHL cap implications. And if a player has to be assigned to the AHL, is he exempt from waivers, or might he be picked up by another NHL team?

Here are some cap numbers from General Fanager.  And here is my determination of players’ waiver exemption status.

Another wrinkle is the handful of CHL-eligible players who will turn 20 by the end of the calendar year. They can be signed by the NHL Sharks, and play in either the NHL or AHL.  Or their rights will be retained until at least next spring if unsigned and returned to their respective CHL teams, as an “over ager”. These include F Helewka (’15 draftee), F Labanc (’14 draftee), F Schoenborn (’14 draftee) and D Vanier (’14 draftee).  (Update:  All but Helewka returned to their respective junior team 9/17. Sharks retain their rights until June 1, 2016; so if the organization decides to sign them it will be by then.)

There are also two signed draftees, Chartier and Meier, than can only play in the NHL or have to return to the CHL (and their contracts slide).

The organization has indicated that players in the NHL will play.  So, that if a young player isn’t getting a lot of ice time if on the NHL roster, he may end up in the AHL for playing time.

So, who “will” make the NHL squad?  Who “might” make the NHL roster?

My guess?

Goalies: Jones, Stalock
Unless Grosenick vastly outplays Stalock, this should be the season starting pair.

Defense: Braun, Burns, Dillon, Martin, Mueller, Tennyson, Vlasic  Mueller (still on ELS) has multiple years of waiver exemption remaining.  Tennyson would have to clear waivers to play in AHL. DeMelo is mentioned as someone who might make the team.

Forwards: Brown, Couture, Goodrow, Hertl, Karlsson, Marleau, Nieto, Pavelski, Smith, Thornton, Tierney, Torres, Ward, Wingels
Hertl, Karlsson and Nieto are nearly out of waiver exemption. Goodrow and Tierney have some waiver years left. A few of the 3rd/4th liners might end up plying their trade elsewhere (potentially Brown, Nieto, Smith, Torres).  Donskoi has been a revelation and I believe will unseat someone in the depth chart. Goldobin seems to be penciled in for the NHL roster.

Definitely a year where the competition will be fierce for a NHL roster spot.  And well worth keeping an eye on what’s happening at training camp.

Sharks/Barracuda news for week ending 150905

Highlights: SAP Center hosting NBA preseason game with Sharks-themed bobblehead giveaway.  And a list of many of the promotions to happen for the 25th Anniversary season. Prospect Helewka considering options (WHL overage with possible trade, NHL, AHL). Prospect Lablanc has similar considerations (OHL OA, etc.). ESPN’s LeBrun argues for Thornton’s (future) induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  A cool look at off season training regimens. Barracuda Bytes weekly update.

SJ Sharks

SJ Mercury News

CSN Sharks

CBS Sacramento:

Hockey’s Future: Top 20 San Jose Sharks prospects embody hunger for success


The Hockey News

USA Today

SJ Barracuda

Slam Hockey: NHL off-season training regimen not exactly how it appears

Puck Daddy: Hockey wives find ‘Hero’ as authors of children’s book
Wife of former Shark Matt Carkner and her sister write books

Spokesman-Review: Chiefs’ Helewka plays wait-and-see game

Barrie Examiner: Barrie looks to make another long run this season; 18 players returning
Lablanc could return to OHL as overager, or sign with Sharks.

Ottawa Sun: 67’s eager to start pre-season
Including Sharks rookie camp invitee G Liam Herbst

Kelowna Daily Courier: Rockets’ Chartier faces challenge of repeating last season’s success

Waterloo: USHL hockey: 29 to report to camp for Black Hawks
Including Sharks draftee Cukste (one of six imports at camp; team can have 3 on roster)


Recapping Sharks development Camp (and signings) through 150712

Sharks had their draftees and some invitees in town for development camp (7/6-7/10).  Sharks hosted a STH town hall on Tuesday (7/9).  Prospects had a chance to strut their stuff in scrimmage Thursday 7/11.

David Pollak, of the San Jose Mercury News, announces his retirement.  (But he’ll still be writing about the Sharks for The Hockey News.)

Sharks town hall included a few announcements including:

  • All 82 regular season games will include a full pregame show on flagship 98.5 KFOX station (radio).  (Previously, games on the road in ET, CT and sometimes MT, that started on week days did not have a pregame on their flagship station.)
  • As part of the 25th anniversary celebration, the Sharks plan on bringing in a Sharks alum to drop the puck for every Saturday night game.

Signings this week:

  • Timo Meier signs ELC
  • Gus Young becomes first player to sign with AHL Barracuda

Former Sharks: Irwin signs with Bruins. Scott signs with Coyotes.

News recap


SJ Merc

CSN Sharks

Gackle Report



Yahoo/Puck Daddy

Did the Sharks lose the draft?

Per Puck Daddy (Wyshynski and Leahy), the Sharks were one of the losers at the draft:

LOSER: San Jose Sharks

The Sharks were in on Cam Talbot and missed out after he was dealt to Edmonton. They then dealt the negotiating rights to Antti Niemi to Dallas. “As we look at it, there are more goalies than teams,” said GM Doug Wilson. “And there are more people available in discussions than you guys hear about.” So what does he do now? He didn’t rule out bringing Niemi back should he fail to sign with the Stars. But with all the goalies on the move this weekend, San Jose failed to snag one. Maybe Wilson can give Bob Murray a call. He’s got three NHL-level ones in Anaheim now.

Really? The Sharks “lost” the draft? I guess it really comes down to whether their expectations were met at the draft.  (BTW, Boston has a bunch NHL-caliber goalies, too.  Just sayin’.)

(As the Sharks seem to be extremely tight lipped regarding trade discussions I really have to wonder if this isn’t just a sour-grapes strike against the organization that does not telegraph in details all it’s actions to the press hours/days/weeks/months in advance.  Most of the “news” regarding potential movement seems to be coming out of the other side of the conversation, not from team teal.  GM Wilson does not discuss the conversations he has with other general managers.)

I agree that the Sharks did not check off their off season list, which still includes:

And more than two months left to accomplish those items before training camp.

But the main goal for this week was that the Sharks needed most of their draft picks to keep the pipeline stocked.  And they accomplished that (without mortgaging the future:  leaving picks intact, for the most part, in future seasons).

The Sharks were rumored to have kicked the tires on a lot of trade deals.  Bieksa (fell through as the Sharks did not want to give up their 2015 2nd).  Talbot (went to Edmonton).  (And those are just the one that news leaked about.)  The Sharks traded away Niemi (who looks like he’s just about got a deal done with the Stars), and picked up a defensive prospect at the draft.

Although the Sharks GM Wilson knows you have to pay to get, he’s not desperate to get his deals done at the draft.  He indicated that a lot of conversations that started this past week that will continue.

I would declare, as far as the draft went, the Sharks suceeded.  They drafted nine players, adding some needed depth.

First, they picked up two goalie prospects (Robinson, Kupsky).  (And re-signed Grosenick. That’s two signed goalies for the upcoming season.  Need at least four, so there will be more.  There are two RFA goalies that could be re-signed.)

Second, they added three blueline prospects (Roy, Cukste, Parsells).

Third, they drafted four forwards (Meier, Helewka, Balcers, Vela).

However, with any draft, it’s really hard to know how WELL a team does with its picks until five to ten years down the road.

But to declare the Sharks a loser because they don’t have a shiny, new clear cut #1 goalie before the UFA period starts?  Irresponsible, click baiting, FUD.

Let’s see where the Sharks’ roster is after Labor Day before making pronouncements that their season is doomed.

Sharks/Barracuda news for week of 150621 (predraft)

Highlights: Salary cap set at $71.4m. Mock drafts galore. New contract for Dillon in the works. Schedule released; Sharks open on the road in LA, home opener against Anaheim. Brent Burns wins NHL Foundation Award.

For draft picks and stats of new picks, check out the 2015 draft page.

SJ Sharks draft preview

Mock Drafts

Sharks pre-draft news/trade/re-signing speculation

NHLPA: players talk about Vegas experience in advance of NHL Awards

6/21: Friedman’s 30 Thoughts
Lots of trade speculation

Former Shark Mathieu Darche (and brother) to be inducted into McGill Sports Hall of Fame – Montreal Gazette

Bay Today

6/23 – NHL: Salary Cap set at $71.4m

6/23: Puck Daddy (Cooper) – Can the San Jose Sharks trade their way out of rebuild mode this week?

6/23: Puck Daddy (Lambert) – How will Sharks GM Doug Wilson try to save his job now?

6/23: Agent indicates Sharks are working on new deal for Dillon
PHT | SJ Merc | CSN Sharks

6/22: Gackle Report – Will The Sharks Top Defensemen See More Ice Time Next Season?
Following the trends of the Stanley Cup winning team?

6/22: CSN Sharks – What went wrong: 2014-15 San Jose Sharks

6/23: NHL – Sharks’ Burns waits for moves, excited about DeBoer

6/24: SJSharks – Sharks Open Home Schedule Against Ducks
And season opener on the road against Kings
SJ Merc | CSN Sharks

6/24: NHL – Sharks’ Burns receives NHL Foundation Player Award
SJ Merc | SJ Sharks | Red carpet interview | Winning award

6/25: SJSharks – Sharks 2015-16 Regular Season Schedule Announced
CSN Sharks | SJ Merc | SF Chron | Gilroy Dispatch

6/25: Upper Michigan Source – Petan, Watson to be MTU Hockey Captains
Sharks draftee Cliff Watson one of the two co-captains for upcoming season

6/24: SF Chron – Sharks’ draft spot represents critical rebuilding moment

6/25: Times Colonist – Kraft Hockeyville game to Q Centre in Colwood BC

CSN Sharks