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.
The #SJSharks signed RFA F Luke Kunin to 2 year 2.75M Cap Hit deal.
On expiry will be RFA and one year from UFA eligibility.
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 18, 2022
The #SJSharks signed 25 y/o RFA G Kahkonen to 2 year $2.75M Cap Hit Deal:
Yr 1 2.6M
Yr 2 2.9M
Will be a UFA on expiry
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 18, 2022
“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:
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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