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What’s Next for Sharks After Jones Buyout?



It’s official: The San Jose Sharks have bought out Martin Jones.

Jones had three years at $5.75 million per left in his contract. This is what his buyout, spread over six seasons, will look like:

Martin Jones, Buy-outCap HitCap Savings

The key right now is the $3.833 million dollars of additional cap space that the San Jose Sharks have just gained this off-season. This is what the San Jose’s cap situation looks like, including projected contracts for Adin Hill and Noah Gregor, along with Jones’s buyout cap hit.

This is how I arrived at Hill’s projected cap hit, by the way. So here’s how San Jose is shaping up:

FORWARDS2021-22 Cap Hit
Couture, Logan$8,000,000
Kane, Evander$7,000,000
Meier, Timo$6,000,000
Hertl, Tomas$5,625,000
Labanc, Kevin$4,725,000
NEW 3C??
Balcers, Rudolfs$1,550,000
Gambrell, Dylan$1,100,000
Barabanov, Alexander$1,000,000
Nieto, Matt$850,000
GREGOR, NOAH$750,000
Dahlen, Jonathan$750,000
Karlsson, Erik$11,500,000
Burns, Brent$8,000,000
Vlasic, Marc-Édouard$7,000,000
Simek, Radim$2,250,000
Ferraro, Mario$925,000
Knyzhov, Nikolai$796,667
Pasichnuk, Brinson$925,000
ADIN HILL$2,500,000
Martin Jones BUYOUT$1,916,667

So the San Jose Sharks should have roughly eight million dollars to throw at a new goalie and “a couple forwards.”

In goal, Doug Wilson told us today that he’s looking for “a quality veteran, a stabilizer, you know what you’re going to get.”

He added: “I think having a couple of goalies with bigger bodies and a bigger presence probably fits a little bit right now.”

6-foot-6 Hill certainly fits the bill.

Just bought-out Braden Holtby, Devan Dubnyk, Frederik Andersen, Linus Ullmark, Tuukka Rask, David Rittich, Laurent Brossoit, Brian Elliott, and James Reimer are among the UFA goalies 6-foot-2 or taller, if that’s what San Jose is looking for.

Other veteran UFA goalies of note, if you’re not as concerned about size: Philipp Grubauer, Curtis McElhinney, Petr Mrázek, Antti Raanta, Jonathan Bernier, Carter Hutton, and Jaroslav Halák.

Who Should Sharks Pair With Hill? | SJHN+

The Sharks have obviously been to Dubnyk island. Andersen, Ullmark, Rask, and Grubauer will probably be too expensive.

Rittich, Holtby, Elliott, McElhinney, and Hutton, in particular, performed poorly this season.

The injury-prone Raanta doesn’t appear to be a stabilizer.

Does that leave Brossoit, Reimer, Mrazek, Bernier, or Halak as more likely targets in net? It’s fair to say that they’re looking for a combination of consistent performance, lower cost, and locker room intangibles. This deck of goalies could provide that.

UPDATE: I reported after the Hill trade that the San Jose Sharks had no interest in Holtby. Did that change after Holtby’s buyout?

I’m told no — and that Holtby has never been on San Jose’s radar this off-season.

Four NHL scouts from four different organizations have told me the same thing about Holtby — they don’t trust him in net.

As for third-line center?

“The center role is kind of a man’s role,” Wilson pointed out. “It’s tough to put young guys in those roles and expect them to carry a line. A guy that would maybe take some of the workload off of Logan and Tomas Hertl would really help in that 3C spot.”

In particular, I think that the San Jose Sharks are looking for someone to help take the defensive load off of Couture and Hertl.

We looked at some UFAs up the middle about a month ago:

Scouts on Nugent-Hopkins, Danault, Granlund, Wennberg & More | SJHN+

Scouts on Haula, Stastny, Goodrow, Bonino & More | SJHN+

With San Jose’s likely cap constraints, Phillip Danault, Mikael Granlund, and Alex Wennberg will probably be too expensive. Casey Cizikas, Erik Haula, Nick Bonino, or Tyler Bozak might be more realistic targets. Frankly, Cizikas sounds like he’s getting too expensive too.

Finally, Wilson also has “veteran winger” on his wish list: “I’d also like another veteran on the third or fourth line. A leader type guy, quality guy that can kind of be a mentor for people. You know what you’re going to get, game in, game out in that role.”

I would guess, based on the team’s immediate needs, that the Sharks will allocate more of their cap space to this new goalie and third-line center. They could also fill these roles via trade. A couple of these centers, for example, are still available:

Sharks Can Game Expansion Draft By Trading for One of These Centers | SJHN+

“You start changing it, where you’re pushing guys down in roles. If you’ve got a veteran or two veterans on every line, it’s easier to integrate a younger guy,” Wilson mused. “A guy like Dylan Gambrell [this year], he was playing in a role that was probably over his head. There’s times where having a veteran guy with him or two veterans might have made that easier.”

Expect the San Jose Sharks to spend to the cap this off-season — I’ve heard they have the “green light” from ownership — in their quest to get back to the playoffs.

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