The Hockey Gods have quite the sense of humor. I was helping my aunt yesterday, while avoiding writing this article, clean out the shed when I stumbled upon a Chicago Blackhawks hockey puck. For those of you that don’t know I’m the only hockey fan in my entire family so finding this was odd and well completely random. I picked it up looked to the sky and smirked thinking “Well played sirs, well played”. I evened the score though when 5 minutes later I found four AC/DC cds in a gym bag (score!) and alas everything is right in my world again.
I’ve been avoiding the cap space/UFA issue since I last went on capgeek.com and a disclaimer popped up saying “WARNING: The San Jose Sharks are screwed!!” Kidding aside GM Doug Wilson has quite the situation on his hands. To start the Sharks are not in a rebuilding phase they have the talent, just have fallen short of expectations the past 6 or so years. They also have one of the largest UFA/RFA lists out of all 30 teams.
As of right now their salary is at $36 million having Thornton ($7.2), Heatley ($7.5), Clowe ($3.6), Mitchell ($1.3), Boyle ($6.6), Vlasic ($3.1), Murray ($2.5), Huskins ($1.7), Greiss ($500K), McGinn ($996K), Demers ($543K) and Couture ($1.2). That gives them only $20 million to work with which seems like a lot but really is nothing. You’re talking about 12 players in contract, three of which are call-ups from Worcester and one is our back up goalie, yikes!
Now it comes down to who stays and who goes. This is how I see it, San Jose will re-sign Pavelski and hopefully they get him into a 3-5 year deal. The kid has proven to be clutch under pressure and was just shut down in the Chicago series. I think Ortmeyer and Nichol will be back, Orts with a 1 year deal and Nichol they will extend a 2 year offer. Setoguchi could get a decent offer but his play this past season will factor in if he is better for trade bait. If they keep him great, cause a healthy Devin is a lethal one.
Malhotra may get another 1 year deal but I have a feeling that San Jose may go with a youth movement. Which leads to Blake, he’s probably done but if the Sharks re-sign him for 1 year at $4-5 million that would be, how should I say, hmm dumb. The guy has done and accomplished so much in his career but it’s time to hang up the skates. Others that won’t be back are Leach, Staubitz, and Wallin. Leach and Wallin were brought in for one reason and they didn’t perform. Staubitz was a healthy scratch through the playoffs and became a liability in the regular season.
Marleau or Nabakov? Ahhh the topic that’s the giant elephant in the room. If they choose Marleau they will be committing over 22 million to the top line alone. If they choose Nabby they will be gambling if he can show up the whole season. So much has been said about these two players but has anyone thought that maybe neither will be back? This is a very real possibility considering the number of free agents out there and figuring that’s about 12 million you don’t have to worry about.
In less then a month you have the draft and free agency. I’m not one to speculate or talk about all the rumors going around so I’m not going to start here. I’m not the GM nor would I want the job. All I know is that every team goes through this cap situation and will lose good players along the way. Any way you look at it the San Jose Sharks are in for a long off-season.