The San Jose Sharks are in limbo entering the 2022 offseason. The team is nowhere near ready to compete, and with issues present in the forward, defensive, and goaltending core, there does not seem to be much hope for the squad entering the 2022-23 season. The draft should allow the team to add a few more talented players to the prospect pool, but no one drafted will be ready to slot in the lineup right off the bat. Additionally, without a general manager selected, the Sharks’ options are relatively limited until a decision is made.
If the Sharks genuinely want to start turning around their team, they should seriously consider making some trades this offseason. A few young players are looking to make their impact on the team next year, but most of the players are beginning to age out. The peak has long since passed, and now the Sharks need to find new players to fill out the roster. With this in mind, there are a few players who management might be able to make a deal for before the next season kicks off.
Jake DeBrusk has been the source of numerous trade rumors for a long time. The Boston Bruins have been floating his name around for a while, but then they extended him until the 2023-24 season at the trade deadline, which made his future uncertain. While many speculated the Bruins were attempting a sign and trade strategy, no deal was made. However, if he is still available, the Sharks should take a swing at him.
DeBrusk has been a solid point producer on the Bruins for a while. He put up 42 points in 77 games this past season, but what really makes his stats stand out is his 25 goals. For a Sharks team that struggled to score this past year, having a younger, 25-goal scorer would do wonders for the offense. In addition, DeBrusk would undoubtedly get more ice time on the Sharks than he does with the Bruins. Perhaps those point totals could increase exponentially with more opportunities.
What could make DeBrusk a scary player to go after would be the asking price. A young, decent point producer will raise his value to the point where it might deter the Sharks. The team needs to hold on to nearly every draft pick and prospect they have at this point. However, the Bruins might be looking to add some veteran presence to their team as they look to win another Stanley Cup. Regardless of what Boston will want in return, the Sharks would be fools to not at least look into what DeBrusk could offer.
Alexandre Carrier had a breakout year with the Nashville Predators this past season. He spent the majority of his professional career with the Milwaukee Admirals in the American Hockey League, but the 2021-22 season proved to be a massive step in the right direction for him. In 77 games, Carrier put up 30 points and a plus/minus rating of plus-26. If he was not a player to look at before, he certainly is now.
The main issue with acquiring Carrier is that the Predators will most likely not want to give him up. He had a great year with the team. Losing a player who just proved he was worth a shot in the NHL is something that any fanbase would not be exceptionally happy with. However, the Predators may recognize that their window to win a Stanley Cup is rapidly closing, making management desperate to get the job done. Carrier could be a player that could be shipped out to bring in more proven NHL talent.
It is no secret that the Sharks have a particularly weak blue line. The defensive core is falling apart, and the team has no real standout defensive prospects ready. A player like Carrier would do wonders for a defensive core that needs younger players to rejuvenate them. He might be a difficult player to get, but he would be a fantastic addition to the Sharks.
If getting Carrier is too difficult for the Sharks, they could go a completely different route with their plans. The Toronto Maple Leafs are dealing with a bit of trouble with the salary cap. They have a costly team, and Jake Muzzin might be one of the lack of cap space casualties. They have a lot of young players ready to play fulltime, which leaves Muzzin as the odd man out. The Sharks could try to take advantage of that and add a veteran to the blue line.
This past season, Muzzin’s numbers were nothing spectacular. In 47 games with the Maple Leafs, he had 14 points and a plus/minus rating of minus-6. While he could have done much better, what he offers is still better than what most of the Sharks’ defensive core produces routinely at a much lower price. Muzzin is getting paid $5.625 million for the next two seasons. His cap hit is large, but that could provide another upside for the Sharks.
The Maple Leafs need to clear cap space. They are rapidly approaching a situation where they will have very few options for free cap space. In other words, they are getting desperate. While Muzzin adds no real help long-term, the Sharks could get more assets from Toronto in exchange for simply taking on the salary cap. It would be far from the first time teams have employed the same strategy. Muzzin is still a decent NHL defenseman, but what could be packaged with him could be the real prize from making a trade for his services.
Related: Three Sharks 2022 Draft Targets
Realistically, the Sharks will probably make little trades here and there throughout the offseason, but nothing major. The team has no real direction right now, and it will likely stay that way until they experience another year of mediocrity. However, if fans are lucky, there could be a few new players in teal this offseason. Perhaps, if the Sharks play their cards right, they can begin to turn things their way sooner rather than later.
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Andrew Stille is a freelance writer for THW who is currently studying Journalism and Communication in college. In addition, he’s a devoted NHL content creator looking to grow and learn daily. Andrew is a trustworthy source for everything San Jose Sharks-related and strives to create fun and exciting articles for all readers.
Other contributions include: Puck Prose and PuckEmpire.com
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