San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks Current Situation Before 2019 Draft

The San Jose Sharks are in an interesting situation entering the 2019 Draft, having no first round picks and limited salary cap space after signing Erik Karlsson to an eight year contract worth $92 million.

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Erik Karlsson‘s AAV will be $11.5 per season and will not be an UFA until 2027. This was great news for Sharks fans until we see what is left to spend on San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. The Sharks will still look to keep their core intact, but may have to let Pavelski go. Let’s take a deeper look into the Sharks current situation.

Captain Pavelski Walks

Signing Erik Karlsson was huge and puts the Sharks in a weird place considering their captain Joe Pavelski will be needing a contract as well. Since the Sharks and Pavelski already had a hometown deal on his last contract, I do not see that happening again, which lies the problem. Pavelski will be 35 years old by next season and is still in position to receive a large contract somewhere around $7 mil/per. Having signed Karlsson, I do not see the Sharks retaining the captain Pavelski as it does not make financial sense. The Sharks must also sign Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc who are young and the future of this team along with Tomas Hertl. Meier and Labanc’s contracts could be around 9 million combined, (Meier 5yrs/$5.75) (Labanc 3yrs/$3.25) that leaves approximately 7 million to sign Joe Thornton and fill in the gaps.

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Keep Thornton

Joe Thornton is not going anywhere and will sign a team friendly contract, he does not want to play anywhere else and has made over $100 million in his career. The players that remain to be signed that would have smaller contracts would be Antti Suomela, Dylan Gambrell and Joonas Donskoi. All three can contribute and the three would total around $4 million. Leaving enough money to keep Joakim Ryan, rather than Tim Heed. The only player out of a starter that could essential walk besides Pavelski would be Gustav Nyquist, I do not think they have the money to retain him.

So with that said, the Sharks team looks something like this next season.

Forwards

Kane – Couture – Meier
Labanc – Hertl – Donskoi
Sorenson – Thornton – Suomela
Radil – Goodrow/Gambrell – Melker Karlsson

Defensemen

Vlasic — Erik Karlsson
Simek — Burns
Dillon — Ryan
Middleton

Goaltenders

Jones
Dell

On the Future

My opinion on the Sharks retaining Erik Karlsson is that they made the right move. If in turn that means letting Pavelski go, then that is the cost of keeping one of the best offensive defensemen in San Jose. The Sharks would obviously like to keep their 13 year veteran captain Pavelski on the roster, but having $65 million tied up already probably means it cannot happen. Pavelski will have one more monster contract in his career and this is his chance. The Sharks will be fine offensively and will give the younger guys, Hertl, Meier and Labanc even more room to make noise. Logan Couture would most likely fill the void at captain and continue his epic career as a Shark.

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I also think the Sharks will be fine with no first round draft pick this year as they added a second rounder in 2019 and a third round pick in 2020 by trading Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers. That trade frees up $3.8 million in cap space and recoups some of the draft picks lost with the Erik Karlsson deal with the Ottawa Senators. The Sharks GM Doug Wilson is a master at late round draft picks, but the Sharks time is now. The Sharks seemed poised to make another cup run next season and with the re-signing of EK65, up and coming youngsters the future is bright! Chomp chomp!!!

You can follow me on Twitter at @jmargo23

All stats and information courtesy of Hockey Reference, Cap Friendly and the NHL.

 

 

San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks: Erik Karlsson signs record deal

It has been widely reported that Erik Karlsson is staying with the San Jose Sharks on an 8-year deal with an $11.45 AAV.

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The Good

Erik Karlsson is a generational defenseman. These guys are worth every penny that you invest in them. In just 53 games last season, he had 3 goals and 42 assists. He is a contender to win the Norris Trophy, and when healthy, could be a Hart Trophy level candidate. If you watch footage of him playing, you will quickly notice the precision passing and flawless skating that he has. One of the best of our generation and a surefire Hall of Famer.

The Bad

As noted above, he only played in 53 games last season and missed the final game of the playoffs due to a groin strain. He had surgery on May 31, and San Jose is reporting that he should be good to go at the start of next season. The injuries have been mounting over the past few seasons, as he missed 11 games last season, and finished the 2016-17 campaign with a fractured foot. The other notable thing is that he is 29 years old, and that means the Sharks will be paying a 37-year old defenseman $11.45M dollars. Sure, the cap is going to increase, barring a financial setback, but that will still be a hefty tag to carry for a team that is a perennial contender.

Other factors for the Sharks, include a large salary commitment to a very small group of players. As of now they have ~$41M committed to just 5 players (Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Logan Couture, Evander Kane, and Karlsson). Even if the salary cap rises to the projected $83M, that is almost half of your cap gone before you even address the Joe Pavelski and Kevin Labanc contracts. I understand the logic in re-signing Erik Karlsson, but it will be difficult for the Sharks to maintain their consistent level of Pacific Division dominance with this model. Every team has a few players on ELC’s on their Stanley Cup roster, but San Jose may need their whole bottom nine on those contracts just to fill out their roster.

The Verdict

I have faith in the way that Doug Wilson works with other GM’s in the league, and I am sure he will find a way to get the numbers lined up. But looking at this in a vacuum, this is a win for Erik Karlsson and the Free Agent class, and a loss (for now) for the Sharks.

research from capfriendly.com

stats from hockey-reference.com

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators must try to sign Erik Karlsson.

“The time is nigh’.” Those were the famous words first said to sought out upcoming free agent Erik Karlsson when first asked about his return to Ottawa as a member of the San Jose Sharks.

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Now granted the Swedish superstar defenseman ended up walking out immediately after as his team just suffered a loss at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs but once again we can use those famous words once again when it comes to returning to the Ottawa Senators.

On July 1st, when Erik Karlsson‘s current contract expires and becomes an unrestricted free agent, he very well could be given that opportunity to become a returning member of the very team that drafted him and played his almost entirety of his NHL career with. Whether that happens or not or if Karlsson wants to is a different story entirely. However, if I’m the current general manager of the Senators, Pierre Dorion, I have to consider on throwing a pitch to the team’s former and most recent captain.

Why the Return Makes Sense

There are numerous reasons as to why Sens owner Eugene Melnyk and company should throw their best effort at Erik, from ticket sales and poor attendance to star power in the locker room and line up to giving back to the very loyal fans that are still with the team cheering and to those who left and have temporarily or permanently snubbed the team. Let’s break it down.

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First of all, as it is well known across the NHL, the Ottawa Senators operate on an internal budget set by Eugene Melnyk. That’s not to say that the Ottawa Senators won’t or don’t need to spend this summer. The Sens currently sit at a projected cap hit of $47.9M and are almost $15M shy of reaching the cap floor, not including the estimations of there three restricted free agents still to be signed. From what’s speculated, Erik Karlsson is looking to sign a contract with a similar dollar value or more of LA Kings elite defenseman, Drew Doughty, who has an annual cap hit of $11M. Surely if Erik signed that kind of deal, the Senators would have no worries in reaching the almost $62M cap floor.

Tie in the fact that no one of the Senators blueline even comes close to making half that with unbelievably Mark Borowiecki being the highest paid (Cody Ceci pending RFA) at $1.2M, it would be safe to assume that Ottawa could use some serious star power. No offense to Thomas Chabot, he’ll get what’s due to him next season when he becomes a RFA.

Patching Holes in the Roster

The backend of Ottawa lacks star power as much as the locker room does as Dorion didn’t have much choice in trading away three key star players at the past trade deadline in Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, and Mark Stone. Ottawa does have some great up and coming players in the likes of Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, Logan Brown, Alex Formenton, and the aforementioned Chabot to name a few but there isn’t anyone with close or greater of the same skill level and with a veteran presence. That’s another check for Erik.

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Who wouldn’t love that kind of star power and a familiarity no more than the fans? The fans, the only thing that would and can keep the Senators afloat and the very people that feel heartbroken and betrayed by the vilified owner Melnyk. If Scrooge Eugene truly wants to bring the fanbase back and make Sens Army strong once again and not suffer with a measly and dwindling average attendance of 14 553, good for 27th in the league, then giving an open pocket, and heaven forbid his heart, to the two time Norris trophy winning Erik Karlsson. Outside of the legendary Daniel Alfredsson, who’s the only modern Ottawa Senator to have his number retired, there may not be as a beloved player in Ottawa than Erik Karlsson. Sure you could make a case for the two of the longest tenured players in Senators history in both Chris Phillips and Chris Neil, but neither of them were as close to being as dynamic and exciting to watch as Karlsson.

The Answer is Clear

Check it out, the locker room needs him, the financial structure of the team could be solved, Erik’s wife Melinda is a proud Ottawa native, the fiasco with Mike Hoffman and his wife is in hindsight as he’s a member of the Florida Panthers, and most of all the the fans might forgive and forget and some might even come back which bumps ticket sales back up.

There’s no one better than Erik Karlsson for the Ottawa Senators to gun for this free agency. Sure, Erik might reject with hard feelings but not taking a shot at all might one of the biggest mistakes in this franchise’s history.

All stats and information courtesy of Hockey Reference, Cap Friendly, and the NHL

Not Panda Watch, It’s Time For Erik Karlsson Watch

Last summer, we saw the Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares on day one of free agency. This summer, San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson is set to test the free agent market. 

It’s been a topsy-turvy year and a half for Erik Karlsson. Karlsson and his wife dealt with the Mike Hoffman situation, Eugene Melynk’s mismanagement and a bunch of turmoil in Ottawa. Fortunately for Karlsson, he was able to evade the frustration in Ottawa. Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion pulled the trigger on a trade with the San Jose Sharks and shipped Karlsson off to the Northern California. On September 13th, Karlsson and Francis Perron were dealt to the Sharks in exchange for Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, Josh Norris, Rūdolfs Balcers, a first rounder (2020), a second rounder (2019) and a conditional second rounder (2021).

After joining Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and the Sharks defensive core, Karlsson had some health challenges. He had sustained a groin injury and thus he was kept out of the lineup for 27 games. His health wasn’t great at times, but neither was his offensive production. In 53 games played, he tallied 3 goals. It’s the lowest amount of goals scored in his career. Karlsson has lost his 5v5 goal scoring touch. The hope is that Karlsson will redeem himself next season and get back to his old self.

Where Will Karlsson Play?

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But, the bigger question is where will Karlsson play next season? 

His tweet that he wrote after the San Jose Sharks were eliminated in the playoffs made it sound like his days in the Silicon Valley were done. In addition, its been rumoured that his wife, Melinda would like to return back to Ottawa. But, does that mean that Karlsson feels the same? He left an organization that was in shambles and it might take quite a bit of money for Karlsson to forgive and forget. 

The good news is that if he does return to Ottawa, he’ll be alongside elite defenseman Thomas Chabot and a rising core of youthful talent. Brady Tkachuk is emerging, Drake Batherson and Alex Formenton are almost ready to make the leap and Erik Brännström is a top defenseman in the making. Everything is looking good for the Senators long-term, but can Karlsson forgive the Senators front office? 

If he can forgive and forget, he’d be a great addition to the Senators. But, it still might be a couple of years before the Senators are contenders. They need more than just Karlsson, but if they can land Karlsson, it’ll give the Senators leverage in attracting other top free agents.

Montreal 

The other two teams that have best chance of landing Karlsson are the Montreal Canadiens and the San Jose Sharks. 

Last off-season, the Habs lost out on Tavares, but had a great season. They added Max Domi via a trade with the Arizona Coyotes and Brendan Gallagher was easily the best 5v5 goal scorer in the NHL last season. While the Habs weren’t able to make it to the playoffs, they just need a piece or two to be a true playoff team. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin needs to add a defenseman and should look to add some forward depth. If he can add Karlsson, he’d have one of the best defensive groups in the NHL. Karlsson would also take a ton of pressure off of Shea Weber. Both defenseman play on the right side and with Karlsson present at the Bell Centre, the Habs could scale back Weber’s minutes. 

San Jose

In addition, the San Jose Sharks could theoretically re-sign Karlsson. But, the main issue is cap space. The Sharks have quite a few pending free agents including Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi, Michael Haley and Gustav Nyquist. The Sharks need to keep Meier and at least two of those forwards to stay competitive next season. So, if Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is looking to re-sign Karlsson, he’s going to have to create some cap space. Wilson could look at trading Justin Braun and/or Brenden Dillon to free up some space, but either way, the Sharks will put themselves in a whole new cap crunch. If Karlsson and Meier both sign long-term contracts, they’d have seven players on the hook for next five years. Given the salary situation in San Jose, the Sharks might be better off bowing out of the Karlsson sweepstakes. But, who knows what will go down.

Tampa

A lot of hockey fans speculate that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be in on the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes, but I’m not sure that will happen. The Lightning are in a bad cap crunch and need to re-sign Brayden Point. In addition, the Lightning need to re-sign Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Vasilevskiy next off-season. With how much money top defensemen and goaltenders are being paid these days, the Lightning simply can’t afford Karlsson. They’d have to move quite a few pieces to cough up the cap space and that might hurt them in the process. So, if you are a Lightning fan and are hoping for a Victor Hedman and Karlsson pairing, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high. 

Dark Horses

Instead, I believe that there will be two dark horses who will jump into the sweepstakes. They haven’t been mentioned yet in the rumor mill, but they likely will soon. 

The New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins are my two dark horses. 

Islanders

The Islanders need a true offensive defenseman. They need someone who can step in and be the number one defenseman. Barry Trotz needs a John Carlson in Long Island. If Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello can land Karlsson, he’ll get a “John Carlson” and a whole lot more. Karlsson can control the tempo of the game, he’s got great hands, phenomenal speed and a laser of a shot. He’d be a welcomed addition in Long Island. The only issue is Lamoriello’s shaving policy. I’m not sure if Karlsson will be on board for shaving his facial hair. But, who knows? 

Bruins

Like the San Jose Sharks, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Islanders and the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins were interested in bringing John Tavares to Boston. Well, that failed, but I’m not sure that the Bruins see it that way. They are in the Stanley Cup Finals. Regardless if they lose to the St. Louis Blues, they have outplayed the Toronto Maple Leafs during the season and in the playoffs. Even though secondary scoring was needed in Boston, they went the cheaper route and acquired Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson at the deadline. That seems to have worked well. 

But, the Bruins will be in a challenge next off-season. Torey Krug, John Moore, Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton will all test the market. There is a good chance that Chara will retire. He is 42 years old and I can’t imagine that he’s going to play till 50 like Tom Brady. In addition, Krug has been a tad inconsistent throughout his time in Boston. Krug is dominant in the offensive zone, but isn’t always reliable in the defensive and/or neutral zone. Moore has been in and out of the lineup. Grzelcyk and Clifton will get raises. But, even if Grzelcyk and Clifton remain, the Bruins will still need to fill a couple of holes on defense and Karlsson would be a great stop gap.

stats from hockey-reference.com, NHL.com

research from CapFriendly.com

Clearing the Puck! Your Weekly Look at the World of Hockey!

Welcome back to Clearing the Puck for the week of June 1st to 7th! This week we look more at the Stanley Cup Finals and the NHL Entry Draft! I also shamelessly show my love for the Toronto Raptors again!

Incase this is your first time, here is the rundown. What we’re going to be doing at Puck77 is putting out a weekly recap. There are going to be observations, summaries and some cool things that we noticed around the web from the NHL and the world of hockey from the last week. There will be 10 points every Saturday morning. Included will be links to articles from our website as well as many others to help fill you in on some of the best hockey and NHL content from around the web. Without further ado, let’s dive into the week!

Brett Hull is Fired Up!

You have to love when teams bring back some of the legends. It’s a big thing around sports and hockey is no different. This week the St. Louis Blues brought out Brett Hull prior to game four. The Blues Executive VP was fired up when addressing the crowd and it seemed to pump up the team and the crowd. He also flipped off the Boston Bruins bench during the game.


Tweet courtesy of @NHLonNBCSports

Craig Button’s Draft Rankings

The topic of the draft world on Thursday was the release of TSN Head Scout Craig Button’s 2019 Draft Rankings. The reason for that was what some called complete lack of effort and insight outside of their Elite Prospects page. I am not going to go into the actual rankings or even the errors in the small blurbs that were attached to each prospect. What I will say is that at a bare minimum, we should respect his rankings.

Craig Button has been an NHL general manager, scout and involved in hockey in many ways that most of us could only dream of. Whether or not you agree with his rankings, many of which I personally don’t, you shouldn’t attack the man. Criticize his ranking, point out that there were errors in the stats listed and the blurbs but there are too many times where people were attacking Button and calling for his job. Let’s be honest, we would kill to be in his position and he’s worked hard. This year his rankings were bad in many eyes, but he has the pedigree and connections that could be giving him information that he used. Yes he should have double checked (or have a TSN intern do it) and it poorly reflects on him and his rankings. Attack the rankings if you must, but stop attacking the human being. Be kind to your fellow human being.

Bruins Experience Poor Officiating, Oh no…

So we all know that the Bruins have played “Bruins hockey” all playoffs long. From Brad Marchand punching guys in the back of the head to Zdeno Chara uppercutting John Tavares in a scrum, the Bruins know how to play on the line better than any other team. The officiating in the post-season has been questionable to say the least, but the Bruins have been the beneficiary more often than not this year.

Until now. As game four of the Stanley Cup finals started getting closer to the finish with the Blues holding a 1-0 lead the Bruins got their taste of the officiating. Tyler Bozak skates towards the puck carrier, Noel Acciari, and blatantly trips him. The trip disrupts the pass which St. Louis recovers and then scores to put the Blues up 2-0.


Tweet courtesy of @BradyTrett

Making this situation all the more painful for Bruins fans was the fact that Jake DeBrusk scored almost right away, which conceivably could have tied the game. Now we don’t know if that goal happens with the game playing out differently but it’s undeniable that this stings for Boston. So much so that fans were fighting each other in the stands. Again, be kind people.


Tweet courtesy of @theTonyFerrari

Officiating disasters of this post season!

Speaking of terrible officiating, Rogers Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen put out an article on Friday summarizing some of the worst calls of the playoffs. I’m not going to go into it a ton, but I will say that there are three teams that seemed to have benefitted the most. The Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and most of all, the San Jose Sharks. You can read Rory’s piece here.

Puck77 Draft Rankings

The Puck77 site rankings came out last weekend! There was a lot of movement from our previous rankings. How far did Caufield rise? Did Kakko overtake Hughes? Who slipped into the end of the top-31? You can check the rankings out below!

https://twitter.com/thepuck77/status/1134795135982682112?s=21
Tweet courtesy of @thePuck77

Chara doesn’t care about his face!

Zdeno Chara is a freak. He’s a massive man, listed at 6’9″ and 250lbs. He is a future Hall of Famer. He has won the Norris Trophy as the leagues best defenceman. He also doesn’t care about his face. During game three, Chara was attempting to disrupt a shot when the puck deflected cleanly off his stick and struck him directly in the face.


Tweet courtesy of @HockeyNight

After dealing with the blood and injury during the intermission, the Bruins captain came back to the bench to help cheer his team on with a full face shield. He didn’t play the remainder of that game despite being on the bench in the third. He did however, suit up for the Bruins in game four and played 16:42 of the game and while he wasn’t 100% he was effective at times with his long reach and strength in the defensive zone. Chara is an animal.

Puck77 NHL Draft Profiles

This week Puck77 released our NHL Draft Profile Deep Dives for the top dozen prospects on our rankings. In the profiles you can find a scouting report, some basic stats and advanced stats, video with quick analysis and a review of their season. They are arguably some of the most in-depth free profiles on these players. Enjoy reading them and prepare for the draft with Puck77! You can find them below, linked to each player.

Jack Hughes

Kaapo Kakko

Alex Turcotte

Bowen Byram

Trevor Zegras

Dylan Cozens

Cole Caufield

Kirby Dach

Alex Newhook

Peyton Krebs

Matthew Boldy

Vasili Podkolzin

Erik Karlsson finally gets his groin fixed

https://twitter.com/sanjosesharks/status/1136374623606583296?s=21
Tweet courtesy of @SanJoseSharks

Erik Karlsson is one of the best defencemen of our generation. He’s one of the all-time greats with multiple Norris trophy wins. During his playoff run with San Jose, Karlsson looked absolutely hobbled. His hamstring injury plagued him all season and in the playoffs, it was so much worse. San Jose confirmed this week that Karlsson had surgery to repair the injury. It’s a welcome sight because the all-time great is looking to sign his big-money contract. Hopefully, for the sake of hockey, Erik Karlsson recovers fully and we can start watching him make extraordinary plays again. This was mostly my excuse to watch Karlsson highlights.

Video courtesy of the Hockey Brothers Youtube channel

Podcasts to get you through the summer!

With the NHL season almost over, I figured I’d throw some podcast out here to listen to while you pass the time in the summer. Some are hockey, some aren’t, but here’s a solid list of stuff I’m listening to and stuff I want to get together.

Steve Dangle Podcast (Leafs Centric, all NHL)

Hockey PDOcast (NHL General, stats)

Staff and Graph podcast (NHL General, stats, strategy)

Winged Wheel Podcast (Red Wings centric)

Always Aggravated (Sports General, pop culture)

Andrew Berkshire Podcast (Movies/Superheroes)

Hardcore History with Dan Carlin (history, long form)

What Really Happened? (A look back at historical events)

Atlanta Monster/Monster: Zodiac (Crime, History)

Full 60 (Hockey General, Athletic subscription required)

Puck Soup (Hockey General, Athletic subscription required)

Most of these fantastic podcasts can be found on Apple Podcast, Google, Spotify or any other podcast app or pod-catcher that you may use!

Raptors go up 3-1!

This is a hockey blog but the Toronto Raptors fever that’s overtaken Canada has been a blast! I won’t go crazy into analysis but it’s a big deal for Canada! So here’s this gem from Shaw after the Raps win over the Golden State Warriors to go up 3-1 in the NBA finals and come that much closer to Canada bringing a Championship home in the four major sports for the first time since the Blue Jays in 1993!

Video courtesy of TSN YouTube channel