Summer thoughts: goalies

OK, we’re in the off season.  Time to think about what the roster moves might be.

First up: the goalies.

This is a key position for any team.  The Sharks historically have 5-6 goalies under contract for depth: 2 in NHL, 2 in AHL and 1-2 in ECHL.

Sharks/Barracuda have the following goalies under contract (in approximate depth chart order) for 2016-17 (with year(s) remaining):

  • Martin Jones (2 years left)
  • Troy Grosenick (1 year left)
  • Mantas Armalis (1 year ELS)
  • Jamie Murray (1 year, AHL)

In the depth chart (not signed):

  • Frederik Bergvik (defected)
  • John Kupsky (college; scheduled graduation ’19)
  • Mike Robinson (college; scheduled graduation ’20)

UFAs include:

  • James Reimer
  • Aaron Dell (group VI)

And Joel Rumpel (RFA).
UPDATE: Rumpel not QO’d

Sharks need to have one goalie (either signed through 2017-18 or pending RFA in 2018) exposed in the (anticipated) expansion draft next June, and can protect only one goalie.  Armalis, Kupsky and Robinson are all exempt from expansion draft (Rumpel too if he’s re-signed); technically, on an AHL deal Murray is not exempt, but for all practical purposes is.  Jones is the protected guy from my prospective.

Dell surpassed Grosenick in the depth chart this year.

There are no pending RFAs in 2018 based on the current depth chart, unless it’s exposing Rumpel or similar.  (Grosenick will be a UFA after his contract expires.)

My guess is that the Sharks re-sign Dell to a two year deal as their exposed goalie for the expansion draft (at a reasonable cap hit even).  He’d be pencilled in as Jones’ backup. Armalis and Grosenick would be in AHL and Murray in ECHL.

While Reimer might be an interesting re-signing, he’d probably demand near starter $$s and may prefer finding a starting role elsewhere.  (The Sharks might be able to trade his rights for a pick.)

Teal-tinted free agent frenzy

As of June 29, the Sharks have 3 goalies, 10 defensemen and 20 forwards (plus pending buyout Burish) under NHL contract.  The nominal signed depth for the Sharks organization has been 5-6 goalies, 15-20 defensemen, 30-35 forwards (not counting signed players in the CHL).  So about another 20 signings to go.  (And some of those will be AHL deals rather than NHL.)

There are 6 RFAs, plus 5 UFAs (that could be re-signed), plus 12 other AHL players that could be re-signed.  And two college graduates (that need to be signed by August 15 or they become UFAs).  (Those figures may change as QOs are due 6/29. Some that are listed as RFAs may become UFAs if not qualified.  Or signed.)

And a handful of players not with the organization last year will be acquired (signed as free agent or traded for).

While the Sharks have tendered an offer sheet in the past, I don’t know that there are many players the Sharks would target (unless the RFA’s team is up against the cap).  (And the player has to want to play for your organization to even SIGN the offer sheet.  Some may receive them, but not sign.)

Obviously one top need is a new “#1” goalie.  This player may be signed in free agency (there are at least 26 as of June 29, including former Shark Greiss), but could be acquired by trade.  UFA options, under 30 years of age, include Kari Ramo, Jhonas Enroth, Thomas Greiss, Anders Lindback, Richard Bachman, Brad Thiessan, Jeremy Smith, Aaron Dell (signed by Sharks last year), and Allen York. Ramo, Enroth, Greiss, Lindback all have NHL experience.   Ramo might be an interesting option, if not re-signed by Calgary.

Sharks also need 2-3 more goalies to play in AHL and/or ECHL this season.  (UFA Dell and RFA Anderson could be re-signed.)

And the blue line needs some help.  One question to be answered is whether UFA Irwin is re-signed.  At least two NHL-ready defensemen are needed (Sharks may avail themselves of the UFA market, or try to land Bieksa or other signed player).  And another 3+ defensemen to fill out playing depth.

Up front, another 7-10 players are needed.  (My guess is that the majority would be prospect/depth players, not top end players.) I would expect the Sharks to sign a handful of prospects for development and 2 or so NHL depth (3rd/4th line) type guys, and some journeymen to help mentor in AHL.

Lots of needs.  Lots of options.

Some of the prospects the Sharks might be targeting, could be participating in the development camp, the second week of July.  (If of “draft” age, the Sharks can sign the CHL-bound players and keep them around a few years; but that nominally happens with players invited to “Rookie” camp in September, and not development camp in the summer.)

Let the speculation begin!