San Jose Sharks: Additions likely to come during season

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 30: Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Vegas Golden Knights during Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 30, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 30: Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Vegas Golden Knights during Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 30, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

After unsuccessfully landing the top free agent, the San Jose Sharks opted to stay in-house with extensions and will stand pat with the current roster to begin the 2018-19 season.

The San Jose Sharks came close to pulling off what would have been the biggest signing in franchise history in John Tavares. Not often does a high-caliber player become available in free agency as teams prefer to keep their franchise players.

Unfortunately, Tavares opted to sign with his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, on a seven-year deal. The young talent, paired with former Sharks’ great, Patrick Marleau, makes Toronto a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in the Eastern Conference.

Doug Wilson is undoubtedly feeling disappointed knowing another big-time player will not be donning a teal jersey. Instead of hitting the panic button though, Wilson turned in a decent offseason from the contracts given out to current players on the Sharks.

More from San Jose Sharks

Upon his arrival to San Jose, Evander Kane came as advertised with his physical presence and goal scoring capabilities.

Baggage though, came with Kane from past altercations with teammates from Winnipeg and Buffalo.

With an opportunity to play postseason hockey for the first time in career, Kane needed to convince Sharks’ management he can be a difference maker.

It became clear where he wanted to play after a four-goal performance against Calgary on the road.

No doubt, Wilson was not going to drag discussions with Kane and his agent out before the free agency period began.

Kane got a seven-year extension, solidifying his status as one of the faces of the Sharks’ franchise moving forward.

Some point out that Kane’s deal is worth far too much, but he will provide the consistent offense to help keep San Jose contenders.

Logan Couture will become captain for the Sharks at some point. San Jose is where Couture wanted to be and made his position clear after agreeing to an eight-year extension.

Both Couture and Kane are entering their primes and are bound to compete every night in hopes of bringing a Stanley Cup to San Jose. Injuries and taking a puck to the mouth may have kept Couture out of the lineup at times but is one player who will sacrifice to reach the ultimate goal.

Joe Thornton’s injury last season, proved to be a central factor in Wilson being active at the trade deadline. The Sharks could have tanked in December when Thornton went down and did not return for the rest of the year.

Instead, after the shock wore off, a few games into his absence, the Sharks got significant contributions from players such as Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, and Chris Tierney. The play from all four lines made acquiring Kane a risk worth taking for Wilson.

Wilson has stated he does not want to acquire rental players but saw an opportunity to improve the lineup and fit into the plans.

As mentioned, Kane made the most of his chance and got rewarded. In the end, Wilson made a great hockey trade with Buffalo.

Back to Thornton though, as he did not intend to leave San Jose. Thornton knew Tavares was a possibility and was flexible with his terms. The grizzled vet will remain in teal on another one-year deal.

More from Golden Gate Sports

In a sense, Thornton is a free-agent pick up after missing more than half a season with his knee injury. His health and how productive he can still be will be a question coming into this season.

Head coach, Peter DeBoer, will likely put Thornton on a line with Kane and perhaps, the second unit of the power play.

Hertl and Tierney got extensions during the offseason as Wilson dished out salary-cap money to his players, spending what would have been earmarked for Tavares. Both turned in decent seasons, but expectations are higher to raise the bar.

Overall, the current roster is a work in progress and training camp will give a better indication of the available roster spots. Wilson is once again allowing players from the San Jose Barracuda to make a case for themselves to be included with the big club.

Last season, the Sharks did not make upgrades to the roster and stood pat when training camp opened. A trade came during the season after some stellar play, and they found themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.

San Jose is likely going to be in the trade rumor mills again this season, and the chances of adding a player will come once again during the campaign.

Finally, a lot of intrigue is surrounding the Sharks’ latest first-round pick, Ryan Merkley. Draft picks have been duds in recent years for the Sharks’ scouting staff as the development pool is thin. Wilson opted to select Merkley knowing the high-risk, high-reward in the defenseman.

High risk, high reward is an area familiar to the Sharks with current defenseman Brent Burns. In Merkley, he has the potential to be a scoring threat with his puck-handling skills, but often gets exposed in trying to do too much.

His anger is also an area of concern as several teams passed on him during the draft because of it.

Time will tell if Merkley will resolve those issues as he develops and eventually find his way with the Sharks.

Next. San Jose Sharks: No Reason to Panic After Missing Out On Tavares. dark

The Sharks are currently a team not yet ready to contend despite the deals to keep current players in the fold. Whether a piece is added during the season or comes from within, Wilson is not done putting the 2018-19 Sharks together.