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What’s Sharks’ Cap Situation After Re-Signing Kunin, Kahkonen?

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Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The San Jose Sharks are bringing back Luke Kunin and Kaapo Kahkonen with almost-identical contracts.

Per Puckpedia, RFA winger Kunin has re-signed for two years with a $2.75 million dollar AAV. Per Elliotte Friedman, RFA goalie Kahkonen has re-signed for two years with a $2.75 million AAV.

“Luke is a physical player with high energy and pace to his game who can chip in offensively,” San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier said in a team press release. “He also brings several strong leadership qualities on and off the ice, previously serving as captain for the US National team and the University of Wisconsin.”

Grier added of Kahkonen: “Kaapo has shown potential to be a number one goaltender in the NHL, and impressed us when he joined our team in the last part of the season.”

Kunin is represented by Pete Rutili of Wasserman and Kahkonen is represented by Robert Hooper of Octagon.

So what’s the San Jose Sharks’ cap situation look like with Kunin and Kahkonen back in the fold? At first glance, it’s ugly:

FORWARDS2022-23
Hertl, Tomas8,137,500
Couture, Logan8,000,000
Meier, Timo6,000,000
Labanc, Kevin4,725,000
Kunin, Luke2,750,000
Barabanov, Alexander2,500,000
Lindblom, Oskar2,500,000
Bonino, Nick2,050,000
Sturm, Nico2,000,000
Bordeleau, Thomas916,667
Eklund, William894,167
Nieto, Matt850,000
Gregor, NoahRFA
TOTAL41,323,334
DEFENSE2022-23
Karlsson, Erik11,500,000
Vlasic, Marc-Édouard7,000,000
Simek, Radim2,250,000
Nutivaara, Markus1,750,000
Benning, Matt1,250,000
Knyzhov, Nikolai850,000
Megna, Jaycob762,500
Ferraro, MarioRFA
TOTAL25,362,500
GOALIES2022-23
Kähkönen, Kaapo2,750,000
Reimer, James2,250,000
Hill, Adin2,175,000
TOTAL7,175,000
BUYOUT2022-23
Jones, Martin2,416,667
Balcers, Rudolfs8,334
TOTAL2,425,001
RETAIN2022-23
Burns, Brent2,720,000
TOTAL2,720,000
2022-23 TOTAL79,005,835

The cap is $82.5 million dollars in 2022-23, so that’s a little over $3 million dollars to bring RFA Mario Ferraro back.

Keep in mind that the San Jose Sharks also have other RFAs to ink like Noah Gregor, Sasha Chmelevski, Jonah Gadjovich, and Steven Lorentz. None are waiver-exempt. Meanwhile, signed Sharks like Jasper Weatherby and Scott Reedy are waiver-exempt. Jeffrey Viel is not.

But none of these AAVs will clear over a million dollars, so they’re all fairly interchangeable with waiver-exempt Thomas Bordeleau and William Eklund, and veteran Matt Nieto, when it comes to constructing a roster of 13 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies.

There are a couple obvious moves that will clear some cap space for the Sharks though: Trade spare defenseman Radim Simek (probably with a draft pick and/or a player) and his $2.25 million AAV and a goalie, either James Reimer ($2.25 million AAV) or Adin Hill ($2.175 million AAV). That’s a little over $4 million cleared up.

Keep in mind that teams can go 10 percent over the salary cap during the off-season.

So the Sharks could still have about $7 million dollars to bring Ferraro back and add more free agents. I wouldn’t expect them to use it up, the roster is pretty full and the UFA market has been picked dry, but it should be available for them to use.

Of course, hanging over all this is the Evander Kane grievance. So the Sharks might need to keep some space for however that works out.

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spon

Yup. gotta move a Goalie. gotta move Simek, gotta move Lebanc. then you can sign Ferraro. whew. lots to do.

Falco5

That seems like a lot for kunin. I know it isnt much more than his qualifying offer, but that seemed high for his production. 450k might not be much, but every bit counts when you are up against the cap.

Hideki

Goal scoring is one thing but Kunin has been an analytical crater when it comes to play driving. A plus shot maybe for a bottom 6 guy that results in some goals, but that’s about it.

david barnard

or a complimentary winger in the top 6, but i think he’ll need to pick up the scoring pace for that to work out well.

Clark

I am encouraged by the direction things are going. Move a goalie and Simek somehow, and should hit the cap. The whole thing will hinge on how the young kids do in their entry level contract years.

Alaskan_ice

Very pleased to get KK signed. This makes me think that Hill will be moved. Anything at this point to get the money off the books.

jamnjon

I’d prefer Optimus Reim gets moved rather than Hill. Makes the team worse, giving a better shot at Bedard/Michkov/Fantilli, more likely a better return on the trade

KE

Why would you intentionally want the team to be worse just for some prospect pic that you don’t know will be the one. You want your team to feel good about themselves as a team and will be able to put anyone in the mix to shine.

bunnymcfoo

I’m sorry, I mean this in the nicest way possible, but are you new to sports? Because the way you get better, the way you win long term and dominate, is by drafting high and developing. The Bolts did it. The Avs did it. God knows the Pens did it. I’d like us to try that path, since the “trading away everything in the cupboard and our future for vets who we then sign to extended contracts until they’re going ancient and failing” path hasn’t worked out so well for us. So yes, I (and many, many, many others) would… Read more »

david barnard

this is the Sharks current cap space per CF: $1,331,666

why wait until you’re in cap trouble before moving out `1 of these goalies, Simek, and/or KL? you’ve had all kinds of opportunities to do it previously. now, you look like a desperate team that HAS to move out these guys just to sign your new guys and pending (important) RFA’s. easy pickings by the other GM’s. this is the situation i had hoped MG would’ve avoided.

Falco5

I don’t think they can move simek or Labanc. Keeping an extra goalie this long is probably a mistake.

david barnard

they absolutely can move Simek with an asset attached, like any other cap dump. it’s not even a big cap dump, so you wouldn’t need to use a 1st rd pick on it. Labanc could similarly be moved, but it’s prob worth seeing if he’ll recover some of his value and do him at the TDL.

david barnard

Viel’s not waiver’s exempt. the current roster players who are: Bordeleau, Reedy, Merkley, Hatakka, and Knyzhov. if you sent them all down that would clear up $5,654,999 (current cap space of $1,331,666 incl.). leaving pending RFA’s needing contracts: Chmelevski, Gadjovich, Gregor, Lorentz, and Ferraro.

The Fin Factor

People are forgetting to remove AHL players from the roster. I can take Labanc and Knyzhov off IR, have Simek and Weatherby as scratches, and have all 3 goalies on the roster, and still have $3M in cap space. If you sign Gregor, let’s pretend it’s $1M, you’d have to move a player to the AHL which would free up cap for Gregor to come in, so net the cap hit only goes up like $100-200k. Add Ferraro and the same applies someone has to move down or out. You really only need to move a goalie to sign Ferraro… Read more »

david barnard

Ferraro’s not a $5M AAV player right now, imo. you bridge him around $3M and see IF he develops his 2-way game more (although i have my doubts about his offensive instincts). KL and Knyzhov aren’t on LTIR, just IR, which means the Sharks aren’t getting cap relief for either. Weatherby’s not on the active roster. they have 12 F’s signed right now, so 2 more to go for the NHL roster, of the pending 4: Gadjovich, Gregor, Lorentz, and Chmelevski. Lorentz has taken the club to arbitration. he’ll get a standard contract (prob for 2 years). i doubt that… Read more »

The Fin Factor

Right, Ferraro isn’t a $5M player. I was saying I could pay even higher than we would in reality and still be under cap. I know there’s no cap relief on IR, I was just stating that I’d be putting them on the active roster so we’re not adding another player to fill the spot. Weatherby can go up or down, regardless, it’s a <$1M salary whether it’s him or someone being called up. Idunno that I re-sign Gads, and I’m not losing sleep over Viel. Lorentz I just don’t know enough about to have an opinion one way or… Read more »

david barnard

ditto TFF;)

david barnard

i’m hoping Benning can return to form when he was with EDM. he was considered a top 30 “high calorie” scorer (WAR exceeds points) up until he went to NSH. his OZS cratered in NSH (30% yikes!).

too bad the Sharks couldn’t get Kulak.

Last edited 21 days ago by david barnard
david barnard

correction: arbitration hearings start July 27th thru August 11th.

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