Heading into this season, the expectations for the San Jose Sharks were sky-high, as many people saw them as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. At this point in the season, it appears extremely unlikely that the Sharks will even qualify for the playoffs much less win the Cup. Currently, the Sharks sit at 52 points in 56 games, which is 12 points back of the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference.
The Sharks are in an awkward trade deadline situation because they currently don’t own their first-round pick in the upcoming 2020 draft, as they dealt it to the Senators in the Erik Karlsson trade. Should they decide to tear down, it increases the chances of the Senators having two lottery picks in the most loaded draft class in recent memory. We would actually suggest approaching the trade deadline in a similar way that the Ottawa Senators did last season when they were a struggling team playing without their pick. Ottawa elected to trade the majority of their star players at or around deadline time last season, as they traded Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel in the span of three days. Doing this allowed the Senators to accumulate solid prospects and draft picks to make up for not having their lottery pick, which is exactly the way we see the Sharks trade deadline strategy shaping out.
Being realistic, there probably won’t be a full tear down in San Jose, they will probably hold onto their stars such as Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Evander Kane, and Timo Meier. However, we think the Sharks should attempt to deal their pending unrestricted free agents, such as Brendan Dillon, Melker Karlsson, and franchise stalwarts Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Dillon is the player teams are apparently most interested in, as he is a 29-year-old, left-shot defenseman making a tad under $3.5 million this season. He is coming off his highest career AB performance of -0.49 last season since 2013-14, which is his only positive season to date. His career AB score is respectable for a defenseman at -2.74. This year, however, he is struggling mightily on the penalty front. He is tied with Evander Kane for the most penalties taken on the Sharks this season with 21, however, Kane has drawn 5 more penalties than Dillon. For a defenseman, Dillon’s takeaway/giveaway ratio is solid at 12/21, which is even more impressive given the fact that he plays over 19 minutes per game. The fact that he is only -1 on this team is another impressive statistic, given that Erik Karlsson is -14, and Brent Burns is -23.
Melker Karlsson would be a solid pickup for interested teams as well, his career AB score is a +1.04, despite the fact he is coming off the worst AB season of his career with a -0.74 score. Karlsson has only taken 3 more penalties than he’s drawn, but only has 8 points in 52 games played with the Sharks this season. Thornton and Marleau may fetch the Sharks a late-round pick. Being the caliber of veterans they are, the Sharks should grant their trade requests if they arise. This may be their last chance to win a Stanley Cup, and they should be able to play for a contender if they desire it.
It will be interesting to see the return GM Doug Wilson can get for his assets, and it’ll surely be fun to watch what the Sharks decide to do in the next coming weeks to prepare for the rapidly approaching deadline. Perhaps they will address their goaltending situation, as there are many goaltenders apparently on the market. Much more to come.