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Sharks Could Use Mike Reilly, But Can They Fit Him In?

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Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

One NHL scout thinks that Mike Reilly would immediately become the San Jose Sharks’ third-best defenseman.

So why did the Boston Bruins waive the 29-year-old yesterday?

“He hasn’t lost a step,” the scout noted.

The Bruins, however, are in cap crunch and are deep on defense, so they waived Reilly (two years left, $3 million AAV), along with forwards Nick Foligno and Chris Wagner yesterday.

Could Boston’s loss be San Jose’s gain?

Since 2019-20, the left-hander has averaged 18:49 a night for Boston and the Ottawa Senators. He’s also taken a regular power play and penalty kill shift.

In some ways, Reilly sounds exactly like the No. 4 defenseman that the San Jose Sharks could use. They could use another rearguard consistently capable of weathering high-leverage 5-on-5 minutes. And after Erik Karlsson, they could use another reliable puckmover on the power play.

“As long as the contract works,” the scout noted.

Reilly’s contract is a little hefty, but it appears that the San Jose Sharks can fit in Reilly’s contract – just barely.

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
Lorentz, Steven1,050,000
Gregor, Noah950,000
Nieto, Matt850,000
TOTAL41,512,500
DEFENSE2022-23
Karlsson, Erik11,500,000
Vlasic, Marc-Édouard7,000,000
Ferraro, Mario3,250,000
Reilly, Mike3,000,000
Simek, Radim2,250,000
Nutivaara, Markus1,500,000
Benning, Matt1,250,000
TOTAL29,750,000
GOALIES2022-23
Kähkönen, Kaapo2,750,000
Reimer, James2,250,000
TOTAL5,000,000
BUYOUT2022-23
Jones, Martin2,416,667
Balcers, Rudolfs8,334
TOTAL2,425,001
INJURED2022-23
Knyzhov, Nikolai850,000
TOTAL850,000
RETAIN2022-23
Burns, Brent2,720,000
TOTAL2,720,000
2022-23 TOTAL82,257,501

That’s 12 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies. I’m assuming that the Sharks waive forwards Evgeny Svechnikov and Jonah Gadjovich, and defensemen Jaycob Megna and Scott Harrington.

I’m still keeping Nikolai Knyzhov’s $850,000 salary cap hit on the books because it provides the Sharks some salary cap benefit. As long as San Jose doesn’t use LTIR, they can continue to accrue cap space on a daily basis.

They can also opt to put Knyzhov on LTIR, which should allow the Sharks to fit in Reilly and a 13th forward.

Another option would be to send Radim Simek to the minors and bury $1.125 million dollars of his $2.25 million AAV ticket in the AHL, then keep Harrington or Megna as your No. 7 d-man. That’s a tough move after promising the Czech defenseman a fresh start in the off-season, but Reilly would be an upgrade.

Whatever the avenue, it’s obviously a tight cap squeeze, so claiming Reilly might not be in the cards for the Sharks.

But Prague certainly didn’t dispel the notion that they could use another solid defender, and in Reilly, there’s a relatively expensive but viable blueliner available to them.

Anyway, we’ll know shortly if anybody puts in a claim on Reilly.

UPDATE:

Special thanks to Puckpedia for his assistance on all cap matters.

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