Sharks already hard at work this off season and the best is yet to come
It's been forever and a day since the San Jose Sharks fell to the Western Conference Champion, Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While I have taken my sweet time getting back behind the keyboard, the Sharks have been hard at work trying to assemble a roster that can finally get this team over the hump. The urgency to win a Stanley Cup in San Jose is only going to increase with Washington winning that franchise's first championship. The Sharks trophy case is still hollow, except for those cob webs.
And the Sharks, despite so much regular season success, are the only California team without a Cup. That has got to be a thorn in Doug Wilson's saddle.
Since the season ended stuff has happened. Yes, stuff.
- We learned that Joseph Eric Thornton "bleeds teal" and that his goal is to remain with the Sharks. The cagey vet is recovering from another major knee injury that includes both a MCL and ACL tear in his right knee.
It’s the same injury he had last season - different knee. So, a nearly 40-year-old vet with two bum knees wants to remain in San Jose? If it was anybody else but Thornton I think we'd all take a pass. However, if the future HOFer wants to come back and the price is reasonable - and by reasonable, I mean far less than the $8 million he made this season - than it has to be done.
- The Sharks didn't wait long to lock up their big trade deadline addition. Evander Kane was a natural fit in San Jose from the moment he pulled that teal and black sweater over his head.
He made it clear he felt it too by admitting he knew pretty quickly he wanted to remain a Shark. The Sharks and Kane agreed to a 7-year contract extension soon after the playoff handshakes were done.
Per capfriendly.com - Kane will earn $9 million next season, $8 million in 2019-20 and $5 million in signing bonuses spread between the two years. He will make $6 million in each of the last five years of the contract ending in 2023 with another $7 million in signing bonus money distributed over that time.
The 27-year-old is now the highest paid forward on the team - for now. Kane had an immediate impact on the Sharks goal production. His speed and skill pushed the Sharks offense into the modern NHL model, with he and his teammates thriving offensively down the stretch.
He ended last season with 29 goals and 25 assists in the regular season, including nine goals and five assists as a Shark. The scoring carried over into his first ever playoff appearance with five points (4g 1a) in nine games.
Despite Kane's rich deal, the Sharks still have some cap flexibility and it appears they may be willing to use some of that to add some more scoring whether it's free-agents John Tavares or Ilya Kovalchuk.
San Jose has been linked to both big names with Kovalchuk meeting with the team earlier this week.
I think Tavares is a pipe dream, but Kovalchuk is a real possibility. I've written before on this blog that he would thrive as a Shark playing for Pete Deboer, his coach in New Jersey.
Kovalchuk has flirting with the idea of playing on the west coast before. He nearly signed with Los Angeles before re-signing with the Devils. Kovalchuk and Deboer went to a Cup Final in NJ and both share a mutual respect for each other.
It was believed he is looking for a deal in the $6-7 million range and that's absurd. But, if the latest numbers are true and the 35-year-old sniper would accept 2-3 years at around $4 million - why not? He can still score and would be a huge get for the power play.
Are you interested in Kovy or have his past actions soured your thoughts?
It's mid June and the fun hasn't even really begun. If I'm a Sharks fan I cannot wait for what's next.
Thanks for reading,