With the NHL trade deadline just over one month away, talks and speculation over which players will end up where have begun to heat up.
As for the San Jose Sharks, a 14-25-10 record and 7th in the Pacific Division places them in the sellers category. Whether or not it was their goal at the beginning of the season, the Sharks find themselves in the race for the first overall pick in the 2023 draft.
Despite their struggles this season, the Sharks have a handful of players who will likely be on the move at the trade deadline. If first-year GM Mike Grier is willing to make some big moves, the Sharks could walk away with a bolstered prospect pool and increased draft capital.
If you’re considering buying the jersey of any of the following players, with one exception, that jersey may become outdated sooner rather than later.
Out of all the potential trade options for the Sharks, Meier easily has the most value. Meier leads the Sharks in goals with 28 and has notched 48 points in 49 games played.
Meier could be a great fit for any team looking for a scoring winger. He is willing to fight for positioning in the dirty areas and has a quick shot release with impressive accuracy.
If he isn’t creating scoring chances with his shot, Meier is aggressive along the boards and willing to fight for possession in the offensive zone. Meier’s tenacity and physicality are attributes that lead to success in the regular season and are invaluable in the playoffs.
At just 26 years old, Meier is in his prime and may see even more production if he plays alongside a true playmaking center. Meier will be an RFA at the end of the season which gives the team he’s on more time to come up with a qualifying offer.
Overall, trading Timo Meier may be the best option for Grier if he wants to bring in more picks and prospects. Meier could easily bring in at least a first-round pick in the 2023 draft along with some promising prospects.
Going back to the jersey statement I made earlier, this is the exception.
Karlsson has been dominant all season and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. He’s the clear-cut favorite for the Norris Trophy and leads defensemen in goals, assists, and points.
Trade rumors have been circling Karlsson for the majority of the season and while he could bring a hefty return, Karlsson being traded still seems unlikely to me. At least for now.
Karlsson carries an $11.5 million cap hit for four more seasons. Any team that trades for him would have to give up significant assets to clear space. It’s also unlikely Grier wants any more dead cap space floating around on a team that’s trying to rebuild.
There’s also Karlsson’s full no-movement clause. This means Grier could come up with the perfect trade where all parties would be happy and Karlsson could simply say “N0,” meaning the deal would fall through.
The rumors around Karlsson are more of a testament to how well he’s played this season. It’s very rare to see a player with that type of contract still manage to remain at the center of trade rumors this far into the season.
While Nieto doesn’t produce points anywhere near Karlsson or Meier, he brings his own type of value to teams looking to make a playoff push.
The Sharks have the third-best penalty kill in the league and Nieto is a big part of that stat. Nieto does well in his bottom-six role and uses his speed to pester teams in their defensive zones.
Nieto may not bring in a large return, however, his style of play can help push some teams over the edge come playoffs. Grier may be able to use that fact to get a little more in the return for a Nieto trade.
When it comes to trading Reimer it may come with a lot of risks. Reimer has put up decent numbers during his time as a Shark despite getting little to no help defensively on most nights.
Teams that trade for him know they’re getting a goalie they can rely on in case of injury or poor play for their starter. That being said, if Reimer is shipped off to a playoff team, he’ll likely be placed in the backup role which could slightly decrease his value. But that doesn’t mean Grier couldn’t get a decent return for him.
But on the risky side of trading Reimer, seeing him depart would leave the Sharks without a clear-cut starting goalie. To say Kaapo Kahkonen has struggled this season is an understatement.
While both Shark goalies don’t have the best stats, Reimer has done a much better job at giving the team a chance to win. Kahkonen may not yet be ready for a starting role, and it doesn’t seem like any of the AHL goalies are either.
Without Reimer, the Sharks may find themselves far less competitive and in desperate need of another goalie this offseason. Trading Reimer now may not be worth it if the team can’t easily replace him.
With other players on expiring contracts such as Nick Bonino, and Noah Gregor, the Sharks may see a lot of departures as the deadline approaches. Only time will tell which players will remain a San Jose Shark after March 3.
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