While the San Jose Sharks are definitely more of a seller at the trade deadline this season GM Doug Wilson has also expressed the fact that San Jose would be a buyer if the price was right. With a need to get younger and faster the Sharks are willing to make some sacrifices for the long-term success of the team, and players like Ryane Clowe and Dan Boyle are both guys who can fetch quite a bit of a return. They would not only gain someone to fill a hole in the team but also maybe grab a young player and/or draft pick as well to help with the teams continuity in the years to come. Here’s a few potential targets I think would help out the Sharks. All my salary cap numbers are from capgeek.com.
Jussi Jokinen, Carolina Hurricanes
When the Hurricanes put Jokinen on waivers I had hoped the Sharks would try to snatch him although I expected a few other teams might try as well. Much to my surprise, and plenty others, he ended up going untouched and cleared waivers. Jokinen ended up staying with the team and in his lastest game actually scored the game-winning goal for Carolina.
With one year left on his deal and a $3 million cap hit he is definitely affordable and would be an asset for San Jose. At 30 years of age the Sharks could still get a few very strong years out of him and depending how he does could be in play to resign him after the 2013-14 season after Boyle most likely departs.
Jokinen is a very solid third liner and can even be put onto the second line with his skills. He has improved vastly in the faceoff circle this year and is an asset in the shootout where he is tied for third among active players with 30 goal in his career. While they are not absolutely necessary skills both are very nice to have, especially considering the Sharks have been a great faceoff team over the years, part of the reason they are able to play their possession style of game. Also, those shootout numbers would no doubt help any team gain a extra points over the course of the season.
The one problem is Jokinen is a centerman and the Sharks are incredibly strong at the position already with Pavelski centering the 3rd line. If he is willing and able to play on the wing though I would love to see him in teal.
Alex Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers
With a cap hit of $4.1 million the cost will be a little high, especially with next year’s total cap set to be drop from $70 million this year to a little over$64 million next year. It’s one of the major reasons there are more sellers this year than usual and the buyers are looking for rental players at a cheap cost to avoid adding more salary to next year.
At 31 Hemsky is on the wrong side of 30 like a few other guys on the team (Thornton and Marleau) but still has plenty left in the tank. He has nine goals and 10 assists for the Oilers this season so he still has plenty of offense in him. He has been a little streaky this season but as long as he puts up the points that would not be that big of an issue. Also, he fills a need the Sharks have at winger and could pair well on a second line with Marleau and Couture because he is most of the playmaking type rather than pure scorer.
Another plus is that he would be a great package deal that could send Ryane Clowe and Michal Handzus to the Oilers for Hemsky and a draft pick. Reports are that the Oilers are looking a for a 4th line rental center and Handzus fits the bill pefectly for them.
Dann Briere, Philadelphia Flyers
The bad news is that Briere’s cap hit is at $6.5 million for the next two season, something they cannot afford unless they get rid of Dan Boyle. I personally do not think this would be a wise trade for the Sharks, but I throw it up here because of all the rumors swirling between San Jose and Philadelphia. The problem is he is 35 years of age and the Sharks will be looking to get younger at the trade deadline not older, although Briere still could have a couple good years left in him.
He has struggled to produce this year and has become a defensive liability with a plus-minus rating of -13. He would also have to play on some sort of sheltered line that way he does not see many defensive zone draws. On the plus side he still possesses immense offensive talent and could be thrown on the first or second line for the Sharks, something they need extra depth at.
If the Sharks can get a first round pick + Briere it would be a nice way to both help the team out now and in the future, although in my opinion if the Flyers want Dan Boyle I would try to squeeze a second draft pick out of them as well.
While I and anyone else would much prefer Sean Couturier, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has stated he is untouchable, and with good reason. Still, I do not see how it would make sense for the Flyers to deal Couturier considering his age (he is only 20) and huge upside. It also does not makes sense for Clowe who wants to go to a team contending for the cup not just fighting for a playoff spot.