LOS ANGELES — The status of impending UFA Tomas Hertl – will he stay with the San Jose Sharks or choose greener pastures? – is a league-wide domino as the Trade Deadline fast approaches. Maybe the domino. Where Hertl goes will set the market.
Not surprising, it should also set the market in San Jose.
Hertl’s linemate Alexander Barabanov is also a pending UFA. In his first full NHL season, the 27-year-old KHL veteran has been a revelation, notching eight goals and 19 assists in 48 games.
So are the San Jose Sharks hoping for a Hertl-Barabanov partnership in the years to come?
A source tells San Jose Hockey Now that re-signing Hertl is the organization’s priority right now. They’re not negotiating concurrently with Barabanov.
Let’s say Hertl comes back. Is Barabanov next?
I’m told that Barabanov’s camp is optimistic that the Sharks will make an offer. There’s no doubt that winger, who’s found success in San Jose after a rough start to his NHL career in Toronto last year, would welcome it.
But as for the dollars and the years? It sounds like Hertl is first in the buffet line. Then it comes down to what the Sharks think Barabanov is worth.
An interesting question is what happens if Hertl walks? Do the San Jose Sharks decelerate from their hopes to get back into contention quickly and trade the Russian winger off – or will they actually need Barabanov even more if a producer like Hertl leaves?
There is some debate as to whether or not Barabanov is a top-six forward on a deeper team, or if he’s more benefiting from the Sharks’ lack of depth up front.
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