The San Jose Sharks are faced with a challenging cap situation.
Many of their best players, who are on the most expensive contracts, are at an age where they should be contending, however, there arguably isn’t enough depth around them for the Sharks to be a true contender at this point. In order to add that depth, San Jose needs cap space but unfortunately, that’s tied up in overpriced contracts. Ideally, the Sharks should look to move one of those contracts but that seems highly unlikely at that point.
On defense, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson have full no-move clauses and have six and seven years respectively remaining on their contracts. Brent Burns also has a list of just three teams he can be traded to and still has five years remaining on his contract. Between the three defensemen, who are all between 30 and 35 years old, the Sharks have committed $26.5 million in cap space (or nearly a third of the team's cap space).
In net, Martin Jones would need to have a huge bounce-back year for somewhere to even consider taking him, with four years remaining on his contract with a $5.75 million AAV. Then up front, Evander Kane and Logan Couture are 29 years old and 31 years old respectively and take up a combined $15 million in cap space. Kane has five years remaining on his deal, while Couture has seven years remaining and each player also has a list of just three teams they can be traded to.
Essentially, the Sharks have $47.3 million committed to six contracts which would all be hard to move. I’m not saying that some of the players attached to those contracts aren’t contributing but each is either nearing 30 years old or has already hit that mark, with quite a bit of term remaining.
So if the Sharks want to clear cap space, it essentially means moving one of their younger players, which would be one of Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc or Timo Meier. They could clear cap space in doing this but if they did, they’re losing a player from their top-six and should probably commit to some sort of a retooling, if they were to go that route. It also obviously completely defeats the purpose of creating space in order to add, as they'd be losing a top forward.
The best way for the Sharks to build is through the draft, however, that's not a quick solution and by the time any players develop, the key roster players on those expensive contracts will be on a steep decline. Perhaps this season will give some indication as to where the team can go from here but as for now, they’re stuck in a fairly tough spot with nowhere to go.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):