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Grier Talks Karlsson Trade, No. 4 Pick, Jumbo’s Future



NASHVILLE — San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier answered some questions and avoided some others in his pre-Draft availability.

Do the San Jose Sharks have a meeting with Matvei Michkov before the Draft tomorrow evening?

“We met with all the Russian players that we wanted to meet with,” Grier said.

Grier also declined to confirm the trade for MacKenzie Blackwood, even though the San Jose Sharks announced the trade themselves less than an hour later.

BREAKING: Sharks Acquire Blackwood, Sustr

Grier also declined to reveal which RFAs he’s qualifying, which ones he’s not.

“I won’t get into that,” he said. “You guys, like everyone else, will find out on Friday.”

He did say about RFA Eetu Makiniemi, “We do have high hopes for Makiniemi, who’s already in the system, to be healthy and play. We think pretty highly of him.”

The San Jose Sharks GM did answer some other questions a little more head-on, like how the process of trading Erik Karlsson is going.

“I’ve talked to a bunch of teams, there’s some serious interest, and there’s some people kind of dipping their toe in the water to see what something might look like,” he said.

Grier also made it clear that the San Jose Sharks aren’t retaining 50 percent of Karlsson’s contract, though he did concede that they’d probably have a little wiggle room.

“At some point, there’ll probably have to be a little bit of give on our side,” he said. “We’re not just going to, people think we’re gonna eat 50 percent of his contract, it’s probably not going to happen.”

Why not? The Sharks, honestly, aren’t projected to be competitive for a while. What are they saving cap space for?

“It’s a lot of money,” Grier said bluntly. He also noted that owner Hasso Plattner is certainly involved in a big-money decision like retaining on Karlsson’s contract.

“At the end of the day, it’s his money, right? He’s the owner,” Grier noted. “We’re asking him to pay a player not to play for his team anymore.”

He also shared what to expect for the San Jose Sharks at the Draft. Will the Sharks trade up or back from No. 4?

“I don’t think we would trade back from there at this point. Unless we were completely overwhelmed,” he said. “We’ll probably stay there.”

He also suggested that the Sharks would be looking at a center at No. 4.

“When you’re picking high, this high up in the Draft, No. 1, you want to just take the best player available. This year, it looks like it’s going to be a center,” Grier dropped.

Smoke screen or not? That might rule out wingers Matvei Michkov and Ryan Leonard, or defenseman David Reinbacher.

He complimented centers Will Smith, Leo Carlsson, and Adam Fantilli.

“He’s got kind of that competitive fire burning in him to be the best everyday in practice and in games,” Grier offered, when asked particularly about the highly-skilled Smith.

Will the Sharks draft a goalie?

“I think we’ll probably draft a goalie. I don’t know when, I don’t know if we’ll be early or late,” he disclosed.

How active will the San Jose Sharks be in free agency?

“We’ll try to be smart with our spending,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll be chasing any other high-end free agents.”

Finally, is Joe Thornton joining the front office like Patrick Marleau has?

“I don’t think there can be anything official on Jumbo until he retires,” he said with a smile, before joking, “He might show up for training camp.”

Grier made it clear though, that whenever Thornton is ready to work for the Sharks, that the door is wide-open: “There’ll be a role for him.”

Grier also confirmed that the San Jose Sharks will not buy anyone out in this buyout period. He noted the Sharks would also be open to taking on a bad contract for the right incentive.

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