In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, general manager Mike Grier has chosen his goaltenders for the 2022-23 season after he traded Adin Hill to the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday evening. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the organization re-signed Jonah Gadjovich to a one-year contract extension. In other news, a recent article from The Hockey News noted that Erik Karlsson wants to be traded from a rebuilding team and will need to up his play moving forward. Last but not least, Joe Thornton will not be returning to the Florida Panthers for the 2022-23 season, which means we may have seen the last from him in the NHL.
Hill Dealt to Golden Knights
It became clear this summer that the Sharks were going to move either Hill or James Reimer before the 2022-23 season. They believe that Kaapo Kahkonen has what it takes to be their number one goaltender moving forward, making someone expendable. On Monday night, they chose to move Hill to the Golden Knights in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Hill, 26, was brought over last offseason from the Arizona Coyotes in hopes that he could morph into a number one goaltender. That failed to happen, as he battled injuries and was inconsistent when he did play, recording a 2.66 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in 25 games. He will look to turn things around with an organization that recently lost their starting goalie, Robin Lehner, for the entire 2022-23 season due to hip surgery.
Gadjovich Signs One-Year Extension
Earlier on Monday, the Sharks announced that they were able to re-sign their last restricted free agent to a one-year, $750,000 deal. It’s a two-way deal, meaning there is a chance Gadjovich spends at least part of the 2022-23 season in the American Hockey League. Nonetheless, Grier made it clear they are very happy to have him back in the fold.
“Jonah’s work ethic and toughness are two traits that really stand out in his game,” Grier said. “We’re happy to have him signed and are looking forward to continuing his development next season.”
The Sharks claimed Gadjovich off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks in early October and dressed him for 43 games, during which time he recorded a goal and three points along with 74 penalty minutes. He will likely be nothing more than a depth option for the 2022-23 campaign.
Karlsson Needs to Step Up Play
When the Sharks acquired Karlsson during the 2018 offseason, the consensus was that they had acquired the best defenseman in the NHL. After all, that is what he had been for several years. He was just that in his first season as a Shark and was rewarded a massive eight-year, $92 million deal that very next summer. Since then, however, his play has drastically fallen off.
In 158 games since signing that extension, Karlsson has recorded 97 points. Those would be solid totals for many players, but they are far from the prime version of Karlsson, who for many years was playing at nearly a point-per-game pace. He is now considered as having one of the worst contracts in the NHL. At 32, he probably doesn’t fit into the plans of what will likely be a lengthy rebuild process for the Sharks, though with five years left on his deal, trading him will be no easy feat.
If the Sharks were to try and move Karlsson, it would require some serious salary retention. Not only has his production dropped, but injuries have also held him out of the lineup plenty in recent years.
As Adam Proteau of The Hockey News argued in an article published Sunday, the criticism is only going to increase if he isn’t able to improve. His 35 points in 50 games this past season prove he isn’t washed up, but that production is simply nowhere good enough for someone with an $11.5 million cap hit. If he hopes to be moved to a playoff-caliber team in the future, he will need to do everything in his power to get back to the level he was at as an Ottawa Senator.
Thornton Done in Florida
It appears that after just one season, Thornton’s time with the Panthers organization has come to an end. He remains an unrestricted free agent, and any hopes of a reunion were diminished days ago when his wife, Tabea, posted on Instagram:
“South Florida, I loved our time together! This break-up hurts, and I will miss you.”
Thornton, 43, has been able to stick around for the past few years despite not being very productive at this stage of his career. In 34 games last season with the Panthers, he managed just five goals and 10 points. However, it is a well-known fact that he is beloved by teammates in any locker room, meaning there is still a chance that the 1714-game veteran will secure himself another deal ahead of the 2022-23 season, though it doesn’t seem all that likely.
Looking Ahead for the Sharks
As we get closer to training camp, it appears the Sharks may be done making roster moves. While a few interesting free agents remain on the market, it isn’t believed they have interest in any. That said, they may end up choosing to invite a player like Alex Chiasson or perhaps a blueliner like Calvin de Haan to camp on a professional tryout offer should neither of them be signed beforehand.