8. San Jose Sharks
And now we get to the last-place team in the division – the worst of the worst. New GM Mike Grier has just started a rebuild so his teams will be very bad for the next few years.
On the plus side, at least he succeeded in trading away Erik Karlsson, and hopefully, he learned his lesson about not trading more than the market wants to offer him. Well, they got a first-round pick from the Pens and a whole bunch of assets in the Timo Meier trade to New Jersey, so hopefully that helps.
Again, not much to say about San Jose. I picked them for last place for a reason – they’re bad. They managed to sign Mikael Granlund, Mike Hoffman, and Anthony Duclair as free agents – not long-term, but it’s something. Grier’s next moves – ideally – would be to trade away Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, and Mark Edouard-Vlasic, but that will be a tall order as all three have some form of NTC or NMC in their contracts. Also, in the case of the pickle man, his contract goes until he’s 38. That’s going to be a tough sell to get rid of without a 50% retention. Would these players waive their clauses to leave a rebuilding team? Possibly, but you’re at the mercy of the player.
What’s also going to hurt is the Sharks have retained salary on both Karlsson and Brent Burns which totals over $4.2 million for the next two seasons, and buyouts on Rudolf Balcers and Martin Jones taking up an additional $3.2 million in cap space for this season – at least that goes down to $1.67 million after this season, so that’s some relief anyway. But that’s almost $7.5 million in dead cap space for this season…..ouch. GM Grier clearly needs to get out from under MEV and his $7 million cap hit ASAP. That’s going to hold the team back for a long time.
This is another GM chair I’m glad I don’t have.
For now, Grier’s choice is clear – keep trying to unload veterans and assemble draft picks to continue building up the talent level.