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Sharks’ Trade Deadline Talk: Sheng on Hertl, Barabanov & Middleton

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LOS ANGELES — Check out my “Sharks Pregame Live” hit today!

Sheng Peng: The San Jose Sharks and Tomas Hertl are throwing offers back and forth.

Ultimate question, does the impending UFA want to stay here? Can they make it work it in terms of dollars and years?

If they can’t, the Trade Deadline is Mar. 21, and the Sharks will need time to entertain trade offers.

Based on past Trade Deadline deals for star forwards, we’re probably talking a very high pick and a very good prospect in return for Hertl, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

So don’t expect Hertl to make his decision on the 21st, instead, I bet he’s going to give the San Jose Sharks time to take offers if he decides to leave.

What’s telling right now is that the Sharks aren’t taking offers yet – that’s how focused they are on bringing Hertl back.

But when the times comes, I would think the Bruins and the Rangers would be among the teams who are in front of the line.

Alexander Barabanov is the San Jose Sharks’ other big UFA.

San Jose Hockey Now has learned that the Sharks are NOT simultaneously negotiating with Hertl and Barabanov.

It’s Hertl all the way right now, and maybe Barabanov afterwards.

I do know that Alex is happy here and he’s optimistic that San Jose wants him back.

The big question with Alex is how he’s valued. Is he a true top-6 forward on a good team – or is he producing big right now just because the Sharks are a below-average team that can give him a ton of playing time?

So I’m very curious what the Sharks offer him, if they do offer him a contract.

The under-the-radar Sharks player who’s hit the rumor mill is Jake Middleton. He’s the kind of old-school physical defenseman that teams love to have around during the playoffs.

TSN reported that Boston, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay have checked in. I can tell you that there are more teams than that interested.

My sources indicate that Middleton is worth roughly a third or fourth round pick.

The question for the Sharks here, is it better for them to hold onto Middleton, who should be cost-controlled next year, over adding another middle-round pick to the war chest.

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