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Sharks Should Target These 3 Free Agents



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mike Grier’s M.O. has been clear this off-season.

From Mackenzie Blackwood to Anthony Duclair to Filip Zadina, and even the failed pursuit of Vladimir Tarasenko, the San Jose Sharks are obviously looking for devalued assets who still appear to possess real upside. For the rebuilding Sharks, these assets represent either a path to speed up the rebuild or very flippable Trade Deadline assets.

REPORT: Sharks Offered Tarasenko $6 Million?

Oft-injured Blackwood, acquired for just a 2023 sixth-round pick, finished sixth for the Calder Trophy in 2019-20 and was once considered one of the best young goalies in the NHL. Duclair, acquired for Steven Lorentz and a 2025 fifth-round pick, had two goals this past season but scored 31 in 2021-22. Zadina, inked to a one-year, $1.1 million deal, was the sixth-overall pick of the 2018 Draft. Six-time 30-goal scorer Tarasenko is on the wrong side of 30 but could well have flourished with all the playing time that he’d receive in San Jose.

Approaching August, there are three unrestricted free agents left who I think are realistic for the San Jose Sharks – so no Patrick Kane – and also possess high upside.

“That’s basically it for me,” an NHL scout agreed.

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Matt Dumba

Elliotte Friedman suggested that the San Jose Sharks could be a good fit for Dumba, though it’s not clear if they’re actually interested.

SPECULATION: Sharks Interested in Tarasenko, Dumba?

They should be though, especially if they trade Erik Karlsson before the beginning of the season.

The Sharks will then be missing clear offensive punch from the blueline – unless you’re ready to count on prospects Leon Gawanke or Shakir Mukhamadullin to play up – and Dumba, a power play fixture for most of his career, has eclipsed double-digit goals four times in his career and had a career-high 50 points in 2017-18.

The 28-year-old did slump with just 14 points in 79 games this past season, but his PP time was also cut severely, from 1:45 a night in 2021-22 to just seven seconds a game.

It’s actually the first time in his decade-long career that Dumba hasn’t been a fixture on the Minnesota Wild power play, and he still played over 20 minutes a night without PP time, telling you that he was still valued at 5-on-5 (second most-used among Wild defensemen) and the PK (fourth).

Independent pro scouting service Team 33 told the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast that they still rate Dumba as a top-four defenseman and didn’t see any clear physical reason why he shouldn’t slot back into a power play role.

SJHN Podcast: Marchant & McCarthy Talk Prospects Scrimmage, Why Dumba Fits Sharks, Will Smith Interview

For the Sharks, sans Karlsson, Dumba would be projected to be their top defenseman, with all the PP and PK time that he can handle.

For Dumba, the Sharks could be an attractive destination on a one-year, high-dollar prove-it contract. A strong season in San Jose would pave the way for a big payday for Dumba as a UFA once again next off-season.

Tomas Tatar

Tatar wouldn’t be a bad alternative to losing out on Tarasenko.

While he’s never surpassed 30 goals, the 32-year-old winger has scored 20 or more seven times, including last season.

For whatever reason, however, Tatar has been a playoff dud. During the Vegas Golden Knights’ run in 2018 and the Montreal Canadiens’ in 2021 to the Stanley Cup Final, he was a frequent scratch. Last year for the Devils, he was also scratched in the post-season. His career 0.58 Points Per Game average shrinks to 0.25 when it counts the most.

So for the Sharks, while the 5-foot-10 Slovakian would help fill out the top-nine wing and power play, along with Duclair, Zadina, Alexander Barabanov, and hopefully, a prospect like William Eklund, his Trade Deadline value might not be particularly high.

Tatar, however, could also be San Jose’s best winger immediately. So on a one-year, high-dollar contract, it’s not a bad place to rebuild his reputation.

Max Comtois

In the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign, the 22-year-old Comtois notched 16 goals and 17 assists in 55 games and looked well on his way to being a top-six scorer in the years to come for the Anaheim Ducks.

That off-season, the Ducks inked Comtois to a two-year, $4.075 million bridge deal.

Since then, however, the 2017 second-round pick has sputtered, putting up just 15 goals and 20 assists in 116 contests.

Comtois still gets a lot of power play usage, but his 5-on-5 usage has dropped, and he averaged a career-low 13:49 a night last year.

Anaheim chose not to qualify the RFA this off-season.

For the Sharks, a short, inexpensive prove-it contract with Comtois, a la Zadina, could make sense. Besides a legitimate scoring touch, the 6-foot-2 winger is capable of playing with some edge, which might be attractive to Grier.

Just 24, Comtois is a reasonable candidate to get his career back on track in San Jose.

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