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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our thoughts on which Pacific Division team has had the best off-season to date.
The San Jose Sharks. Not because of what they added (next to nothing), but rather what they kept – and how they did it.
Timo Meier has developed into one of the best, and most efficient, scoring wingers in the NHL. Few produce offense and create chances like he does at 5v5. The cap-strapped Sharks somehow locked him up for his 23, 24, 25, and 26-year-old seasons (the majority of his prime) for $6 million per. Then they extended Kevin Labanc, he of 56 points last season, for $1 million. $1 million!
They also managed to retain Erik Karlsson on a long-term deal. For all the talk about his 'decline', the guy produced at a 70-point pace on a per 82 game basis while helping the Sharks control 59.22% of the shot attempts, 58.88% of the expected goals, and 53.40% of the actual goals at 5v5 (per NaturalStatTrick.com). He is very much the star he's been for years.
Losing Joe Pavelski stings but the Sharks have enough offense to survive without him, and I think they did quite well landing a 2nd and a 3rd for Justin Braun while dealing from a position of weakness.
Doug Wilson gets an A.
The Pacific Division overall has had a pretty underwhelming summer. The Arizona Coyotes may have made the biggest single trade in acquiring Phil Kessel but the San Jose Sharks have done the best job overall in setting up the team for long term success.
While average players like Kevin Hayes are being given contracts of 7+ million, for scoring less than 20 goals last season, Doug Wilson was able to sign 30 goal scorer Timo Meier to a four year 6 million dollar deal. Kevin Lablanc had 56 points last season and was signed to a one year 1 million dollar deal, keeping the player an RFA at the end of the contract. Lastly while many expected Erik Karlsson to test free agency, the Sharks were able to lock up the elite defender long term.
The Pavelski/Thornton era might be over in San Jose but almost seamlessly the Sharks have started a new era.
Which Metro Division team has had the best off-season?
Which Atlantic Division team has had the best off-season?
Favorite free agent signings thus far?
Worst free agent signings thus far?
On the Tyson Barrie / Nazem Kadri trade
On the Phil Kessel trade
On the Flyers' off-season moves to date
On the Blackhawks / Penguins trade