Kaapo Kahkonen showed why the San Jose Sharks traded for him on Tuesday night.
Kahkonen stopped 40 of 41 shots, but it wasn’t enough as the Sharks dropped their seventh straight in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators.
“I wish we could’ve generated a little more, got that win for him,” Rudolfs Balcers said. “He hasn’t won a game for a while too.”
San Jose’s last victory was on Mar. 26 against Anaheim; Kahkonen’s was on Feb. 20 versus Edmonton.
Kahkonen is currently on an 0-8-2 winless streak.
At the Trade Deadline, the Sharks acquired Kahkonen and a 2022 fifth-round pick from Minnesota for Jake Middleton.
This added a third starting goalie to San Jose’s depth chart, along with James Reimer and Adin Hill.
Hill is hurt now, but how will the Sharks solve this three-headed monster in the off-season?
Mike McKenna of The Daily Faceoff chose to keep Kahkonen and Reimer on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast last week. In his opinion, Kahkonen has the highest ceiling of the trio, while Reimer has had the best season.
Where does that leave Hill? The 25-year-old, signed for one more year at a $2.175 million AAV, has had an up-and-down campaign. If the San Jose Sharks trade Hill this summer, they will be letting him go at a loss – they won’t be recouping the second-round pick sent out for him last off-season.
There’s also a question of how much the RFA Kahkonen will command this summer. The 25-year-old, currently coming in at a $725K cap hit, also has arbitration rights.
So what kind of raise should Kahkonen expect?
Historically, RFA back-up goalies who are considered future starters or at least a 1A/1B goalie receive sizable raises.
Per Puckpedia, here are all the post-pandemic RFA goaltender signings who fit this mold – and like Kahkonen, have zero or minimal NHL starting experience when signed.
|GOALIE (AGE)||NHL GAMES||Save %||AHL GAMES||OLD CAP HIT||NEW CAP HIT|
|Kaapo Kahkonen (25)||60 (as of 4/12/22)||0.907||73||$725,000||?|
|Ilya Samsonov (24)||45||0.908||41||$925,000||$2,000,000 (1 yr)|
|Adin Hill (25)||49||0.907||138||$800,000||$2,175,000 (2 yrs)|
|Mackenzie Blackwood (24)||70||0.916||88||$697,500||$2,800,000 (3 yrs)|
|Linus Ullmark (27)||93||0.911||127||$1,325,000||$2,600,000 (1 yr)|
|Alexander Georgiev (24)||77||0.913||48||$792,500||$2,425,000 (2 yrs)|
|Tristan Jarry (25)||62||0.914||141||$675,000||$3,500,000 (3 yrs)|
|Ilya Sorokin (24)||0||N/A||0||$925,000||$2,000,000 (1 yr)|
|Elvis Merzlikins (26)||33||0.923||2||$874,125||$4,000,000 (2 yrs)|
|Joonas Korpisalo (25)||127||0.908||46||$1,150,000||$2,800,000 (2 yrs)|
Save for Blackwood, all these goalies were arbitration-eligible at the time of their signings.
So it looks like we have a general guideline for Kahkonen’s new contract: One to three years, $2 to $3 million AAV.
Add that to Reimer’s $2.25 million AAV and Martin Jones’s $2,416,667 buyout cap hit, and the San Jose Sharks are spending about $7.5 million dollars on two goalies.
More performances like last night, and the gifted Kahkonen will be worth every penny.
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