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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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