San Jose Sharks: No reason to panic after missing out on Tavares

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 13: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks scores a goal against the Arizona Coyotes in the first period at SAP Center on January 13, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 13: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks scores a goal against the Arizona Coyotes in the first period at SAP Center on January 13, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Jose Sharks must find alternative plans to upgrade the roster after losing out on the top free agent available.

Credit Doug Wilson for getting the San Jose Sharks in a financial position to potentially add a marquee player in free agency.

The Sharks, looking to add some firepower to their lineup, sent a contingent, to meet with John Tavares and his agent in Los Angeles. Looking to make a strong impression in attempting to lure center, even Sharks owner Hasso Plattner joined the meeting.

Plattner does not make many appearances as Sharks’ owner, but his presence undoubtedly gave an impression on Tavares on his commitment to make the Sharks a Stanley Cup contender.

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In the end though, Tavares spurned all other NHL clubs and opted to play for the team he grew up supporting as a kid. He left money on the table to sign a seven-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With Tavares and a young core around him, the Maple Leafs will likely be contenders in the Eastern Conference.

For the Sharks, missing out on the big fish stings. Tavares signing with the Sharks would have been a franchise-altering deal and the most significant capture since they  acquired Joe Thornton in a blockbuster trade.

As of now, the current roster does not have enough firepower to make a run for a Stanley Cup. The Sharks have to be considered a bubble team for the playoffs if Wilson elects to keep the current roster for the upcoming season. especially with. Los Angeles, Vegas, and Calgary making some improvements that make the Pacific Division tougher.

After Tavares made his decision, Wilson did not panic and make an impulse decision which could hurt the Sharks. The free-agent pool is not especially strong this year, and Tavares was the best available.

Paul Stastny was the next best option but being in his thirties would have added to an already aging core for the Sharks. Vegas scooped him up.

Wilson has stated the team is in a “win-now” mode while giving younger players an opportunity to grab roster spots. With Evander Kane now in the fold for seven years, the offense should not see any significant dropoff from last season.

The Kane extension may draw criticism given the length and money. If Tavares came to San Jose, the deal would look smart with Wilson in keeping the physical forward in teal.

Kane does not appear to have had any drop off in his production after saying he wants to retire a Shark and San Jose was a team he was hoping to be part of, given his respect for the other players in the locker room.

Now, Wilson must find a difference maker to strengthen the top-six forward positions. Mikkel Boedker did not pan out as expected, but his production is now a void, which Wilson must fill.

Erik Karlsson and Max Pacioretty are two names that came up recently in trade talks with San Jose. Trades are nothing new to Wilson as a few from the past have shaped the current Sharks’ roster (Brent Burns, Martin Jones, Kane).

Karlsson would solidify the Sharks’ defense as the best in the league but not necessarily fill the need for another scoring threat. Wilson appeared to attempt to acquire Pacioretty from Montreal, but nothing seems imminent.

Perhaps Wilson will make another attempt as the winger is coming off a 37-point season with the Canadiens.

San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks /

San Jose Sharks

Gabriel Landeskog may be one name to surface later this summer. But, Colorado made significant strides last season and may not be willing to move him. The price may be steep, but Wilson has stated he has the assets and salary cap space to add a big-time player.

Internally, the Sharks have taken care of their players. Before Tavares made his decision, Logan Couture agreed to an eight-year extension. The deal will pay him $64 million; the same amount Burns signed on for two years ago.

Couture could have played out his final year and hit free-agency but wanted to play in San Jose. In the Sharks’ 2016 run to a Stanley Cup Final appearance, Couture was arguably their best performer. To lose Couture would have been a disaster for a franchise still trying to claim hockey’s ultimate prize.

Thornton stated his intention to re-sign with the Sharks and will be back on a one-year deal. The grizzled vet is the heart and soul of this team and hopefully will be at full strength by the time training camp opens. He missed the second-half after suffering a knee injury, the same knee he hurt before the 2017 playoffs.

Chris Tierney and Tomas Hertl will be in line next for deals as the two stepped up during Thornton’s absence. The verdict is still out on Hertl remaining in teal as he could be a likely trade-piece if Wilson is looking to improve the team. Hertl just signed a four-year contract.

Next: Sharks Open More Cap Space After Recent Trades

San Jose made a pitch, but Tavares chose to go home to Toronto. In the end, the Sharks are still in good shape as the summer rolls forward. For now, Wilson will remain calm until he makes his next move.