Mike Grier wasn’t lying.
“We don’t have a ton of money to throw around,” the new San Jose Sharks GM admitted of free agency, set to begin at 9 AM PT on Jul. 13.
However, the Sharks have more money available than you might think.
At the moment, with Rudolfs Balcers’s buyout, and keeping Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Radim Simek, San Jose Hockey Now is projecting that the Sharks have about 11 million dollars of cap space. This is leaving two forward spots open, but before retaining RFAs Mario Ferraro, Kaapo Kahkonen, Luke Kunin, and Noah Gregor.
Here’s how I get that figure. The salary cap, by the way, is $82.5 million for 2022-23:
— San Jose Hockey Now GIFs (@sjhockeynowGIFS) July 13, 2022
I know the San Jose Sharks have other RFAs to ink like Sasha Chmelevski and Jonah Gadjovich. Neither is 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 when it comes to constructing a roster of 13 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies.
Kahkonen’s cap hit is projected to be similar to James Reimer’s, so let’s assume Reimer is dealt and Kahkonen takes his contract slot. It could be Adin Hill traded as well. And let’s say Ferraro, Kunin, and Gregor come in at about $7 million AAV combined.
Of course, this doesn’t account for how the Evander Kane grievance will resolve itself. Also, my best guess still is that Simek gets dealt before the beginning of training camp. Brent Burns could be traded at some point too. It’s also worth noting that you can go 10 percent over the salary cap in the off-season.
But for now – by my reckoning, the San Jose Sharks will have about $3 to $4 million dollars to play with in free agency tomorrow. And more if you can swap out Simek for a lower-cost depth defender.
That’s not a lot, but you can still improve your team with that much cap space. Safe to say, the Sharks aren’t fishing for the big free agency catches like Johnny Gaudreau and company. But can the Sharks lure some good help on the cheap?
I spoke with two NHL scouts about 20-plus forwards and a handful of defensemen, skaters like Mason Marchment and Dylan Strome and Max Domi and Dominik Kubalik and Brendan Lemieux and more.
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