In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, David Pastrnak has recently been suggested as a player who could be moved this summer, and the Sharks are one of several teams who may be interested in acquiring him. Meanwhile, Evander Kane could potentially be rejoining the organization depending on how his pending grievance hearing works out. In other news, another potential general manager replacement for Doug Wilson has been suggested in Scott Nichol. Last but not least, the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL) announced on Tuesday that they have signed defenceman Montana Onyebuchi to a one-year contract.
Could Sharks Target Pastrnak This Summer?
Many in the hockey world, both media members and fans alike, were shocked to hear that the Bruins may consider shopping Pastrnak if the two sides aren’t able to agree to a contract extension this offseason. The 26-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the better players in the entire NHL, has just one season remaining on his contract that carries a cap hit of $6.66 million.
As you can expect, several teams have reportedly expressed interest in Pastrnak, who scored 40 goals and 77 points in just 72 games this season. One individual in particular who spoke about the possibility of the Sharks lining him was JD Young of the Locked On Sharks Podcast. His reasoning makes plenty of sense, as the organization is currently stuck in a tricky spot but has enough talent that adding a player of Pastrnak’s caliber could get them back to being a playoff team.
Young mentioned, however, that the price to pay to acquire Pastrnak wouldn’t come cheap. He believes that the Sharks would be needing to part with at least two first-round picks as well as a top prospect. While that still may not be enough to get the job done, it is worth noting that the Bruins do not have a strong prospect pool right now, which Young also alluded to. Of course, in order to make this trade happen, the Sharks would need to be sure Pastrnak is willing to sign a long-term extension beforehand.
Of course, the player himself has some control over his future as well, as he has a modified no-trade clause in which he can submit 10 teams he does not want to be dealt to. Whether or not the Sharks would be one of those teams is unknown, but there is no reason to not at the very least reach out and see where the Bruins are at with him.
Kane May Rejoin Sharks Organization
Just when it seemed like the Sharks were free from the Kane drama, there have been reports in recent weeks that he may be back with them for the 2022-23 season. Elliotte Friedman discussed what happens with Kane’s grievance hearing over the Sharks terminating his contract back in January. Friedman mentioned on the 32 Thoughts Podcast that Kane’s grievance hearing is expected to be sorted out by July 13. If the Sharks get there way, the termination will withstand and the 30-year-old winger will be free to sign wherever he chooses as a free agent. If it is determined his contract will not be voided, however, he will go back to being property of the Sharks, a very awkward situation for all involved given the fact it has been widely reported Kane was not well-liked in the dressing room.
On the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Jeff Marek asked why a team would risk signing Kane as a free agent only to possibly lose him based on the outcome of the hearing, and Friedman offered up the following response.
“It’s a great question,” Friedman said. “It’s absolutely a great question, and what one GM said to me tonight, this is a GM who I know is not pursuing Kane, I said ‘what do you think’? He said, ‘Let me think about it.’ He texted me back in about half an hour and he said that the only way he would consider it, if he was interested, was he would have to have a deal worked out with the Sharks.
“He’d say, Evander, I’ll sign you to whatever contract, but he would have to know if the Sharks won, he’d have a trade in place.”
Basically, how this goes is, if the Sharks win the grievance hearing, there will be no further Kane talk, and both parties can be moved on. If Kane wins the hearing, however, management will have to figure out what to do with him. It seems extremely unlikely they would consider having him return to playing with their team, but given how well he performed during his time with the Edmonton Oilers, perhaps they do indeed look to give it another shot.
Sharks Interview Nichol for GM Position
With the Sharks GM position currently vacant, the organization is interviewing and discussing several candidates as potential options to fill the job. Certain former players such as Ray Whitney and Kevin Weekes have been discussed, but recently there was a new name suggested by Friedman in Nichol. Nichol, who is currently the director of player development for the Nashville Predators, was reportedly interviewed by Sharks brass recently.
“I think Scott Nichol, who’s now based in Nashville, was also another interviewee,” Friedman said.
Whether or not Nichol is being viewed as a legitimate candidate post-interview remains unknown, but what is clear is that the Sharks are in no rush to make a decision here, and instead are focused on doing everything they can to find the right man for the job. That said, one would imagine they’d like to have their guy hired before the NHL draft, which is set to begin on July 7.
Barracuda Sign Onyebuchi
On Tuesday afternoon, Sharks interim GM Joe Will announced that the Barracuda have signed Onyebuchi to a one-year deal for the 2022-23 season. The undrafted 22-year-old defenceman spent the majority of the 2021-22 season with the Barracuda, in which he recorded a goal and seven points along with 137 penalty minutes in 46 games.
“Montana made big strides in his overall game as the season continued last year and became a regular in the team’s lineup,” said Will. “We’re excited to have him back and to see where his development goes.”
Along with his 46 games in the AHL last season, Onyebuchi suited up for eight games with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL, where he put up three assists. Prior to his rookie professional season, he spent five seasons in the Western Hockey League, split between the Everett Silvertips and the Kamloops Blazers.
Looking Ahead for the Sharks
While no offseason is minor for any team, this one could be extremely pivotal for the future of the Sharks. Rumors continue to swirl surrounding the future of some of their higher-paid players in Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and there will continue to be plenty more speculation surrounding their vacant GM position. What happens this summer could go a long way in determining whether or not they have a chance at success in the 2022-23 campaign.
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.