In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, Tomas Hertl recently spoke with reporters about his belief that this team needs to add another goal scorer to the lineup. In other news, Brent Burns discussed whether or not he may want to leave the Sharks in order to chase a Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, Marc-Edouard Vlasic remains confident he will be back next season, despite some believing he will be bought out this summer. Last but not least, Adin Hill talked about how frustrating the 2021-22 campaign was for him from an injury standpoint.
Hertl Hopes Sharks Add Goal Scorer
Entering the 2021-22 season, there were many questions surrounding Hertl, given the fact that he was a pending unrestricted free agent. Those questions are no longer, as he and the Sharks were able to agree to an eight-year deal back in March. While it is clear he enjoys being a part of the organization, he wasn’t shy about his hopes to see some changes with the roster this summer.
“Yeah, I think so,” Hertl said when asked if Sharks management should be looking to add a goal scorer to the lineup. “[It would] be nice to get another guy because, all the playoff teams, they have 40-50 more goals this season, and that’s a lot of goals.
“Sometimes I feel what happened with me and Timo the last couple of months, we both tried to do too much. We tried, and it actually got worse.
“So I think we need a little help, but at the same time, I want to still be better. I want to still play every night, even if I don’t score, I want to help with other things.”
As far as saying his play dipped in the final months of the season, he isn’t wrong, as he managed just eight goals in 36 games post-All-Star break compared to the 22 he had in the 46 games prior. With that said, he had himself a fairly solid year overall with 30 goals and 64 points in 82 contests. Now that the anxiety of not having a contract is in place, there is plenty of reason to expect him to up those totals in 2022-23.
Burns Doesn’t Shut Down Possibility of Chasing Cup
Despite putting up a very solid 54-point season, Burns‘ playing days are slowly coming to an end. At 37 years old, it’s fair to suggest he may very well be over by the time his contract expires at the end of the 2024-25 season. While that is still some time away, the Sharks aren’t expected to be an overly competitive team these next few seasons, meaning if Burns is looking to win his first-ever Stanley Cup, he may need to do so with another team. Recently, when asked if leaving the Sharks is something he would consider, he said the following:
“San Jose has been a special place for us, for our family,” Burns said. “It’s definitely tough when you lose three years, not making the playoffs. I think everybody feels that way, whether they’re younger or older. At the end of the day, that’s what we all play for. I’ve been in the league long enough to know that, when you’re doing these meetings at this time, there’s a lot of changes that happen, that need to happen. A lot of changes are going to happen here. When you’re looking for a new general manager, there’s a lot of things on the table. So I don’t know. I’m going to be staring at a squat rack in a little bit here and trying to get my head wrapped around that.”
He didn’t flat out say it, but these comments seem to suggest that he would welcome a trade to a contender. You certainly can’t blame him, as he has given this Sharks organization everything he has to offer since joining them back in 2011-12. With that said, moving him wouldn’t be the easiest of tasks, as his contract still has three years remaining and carries a lucrative $8 million cap hit.
Vlasic Believes He Will Be Back for 2022-23
For many years, Vlasic was one of the game’s most underrated blueliners. Though he didn’t put up a ton of offence, he always matched up against opposing teams’ top stars and was widely considered to be the best shutdown defenceman in the entire NHL. In recent seasons, however, father time has been catching up with him. That was extremely evident in 2021-22, as he averaged just 15:11 of ice time over his 75 games. Not only is that the lowest total of his career, but it has led many to believe he may be bought out this summer, though he doesn’t seem to believe that is the case.
When asked about the possibility of a buyout, Vlasic seemed to take offence to the question, responding, “Why would they?” Clearly, he is of the belief that he can still contribute. With how great of a career he’s had overall, you can understand why he would have this thought process, and who knows, perhaps he is able to dip into the fountain of youth and get back to being a great shutdown option. At the age of 35, however, that seems unlikely, making his contract that still has four more years at $7 million per a serious issue moving forward.
Hill Not Happy With Sharks Debut
This past offseason, the Sharks looked to fix their past goaltending struggles by going out and acquiring Hill from the Arizona Coyotes. Despite his lack of NHL experience, the now-25-year-old was considered a goalie with a lot of potential and one that Sharks management believed could transition into a quality starting netminder. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this season.
Hill began the season out very slow, struggling to find a consistent rhythm. He was then hampered by a lower-body injury that will require surgery this offseason, one which limited him to just 25 games. He struggled in that limited action, posting a subpar 2.66 goals-against average (GAA) along with a .906 save percentage (SV%). He was able to speak with the media recently and talked about how frustrating his first season as a Shark was for him.
“I’ve always felt like I’ve been pretty resilient and haven’t really ever had much [in terms of] injury problems. So this year was pretty frustrating for me. It was annoying just not feeling 100% and feeling like I couldn’t do what I needed to do to help the team win.”
The good news for Hill is that he does have one season remaining on his contract that carries a cap hit of $2.175 million, meaning he will likely get another shot with the Sharks next season. The big goal now is for him to get healthy and hopefully get over the inconsistent play he put out in 2021-22.
Long Offseason Ahead
For right now, things will likely be pretty quiet surrounding this Sharks team. With the playoffs ongoing, there won’t be anything in terms of trades or roster moves, though the team is currently in search of a new general manager. Once they pick someone out for the job, questions will then begin as to whether or not Bob Boughner will remain as the team’s head coach moving forward. There isn’t expected to be any news surrounding either of those topics until this summer, however.
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Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.