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Sharks Back in Time: The Most Notable Trades of the Decade

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San Jose Sharks fans haven’t had much to root for in 2023-24. They rank last in the league in points and goal differential. However, they aren’t far removed from a postseason window, capped by a Stanley Cup appearance in 2016. Trades played a role in that window, and trades will play a role in the next one, so let’s take a quick look at the five notable trades of the last decade. 

Martin Jones Trade

Everybody likes trades that directly lead to winning, and the Martin Jones trade is one of those trades. San Jose isn’t winning right now, so if you are waiting to read about the current team, go ahead and check out the latest scores here. The Sharks traded a 2016 first-round pick to bring Jones to San Jose, looking to secure the goalie position. During his first season, he more than paid off the trade. Jones played in 65 games with the Sharks and finished with a 2.27 goals-against average, good for seventh best among goalies. He also recorded six shutouts, the second most in the league that season.

His performances improved in the postseason, catalyzing the Sharks’ first Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history. He logged three shutouts in 24 games, leading the entire postseason field in saves. He shut out the Blues in games 2 and 3 of the Western Conference Finals, a crucial stretch of games after going down 1-0 in the series. The Sharks rewarded Jones with a six-year, $34.5 million extension in 2017, a season that saw him make his only All-Star team. Jones wasn’t one of the elite goalies in the league. However, he was a key cog in the greatest season in franchise history, making the trade well worth it. 

San Jose Sharks’ Joe Pavelski, left, talked to teammate Evander Kane during an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday, March 1, 2018, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Evander Kane

Few players are more controversial and embattled than Evander Kane. Legal and personal problems have marred his career, including unsubstantiated allegations that he bet on his games. He was suspended for using a fake COVID-19 vaccine card and has had run-ins with officials. However, when on the ice, he brought an edge to the Sharks, especially early in his tenure.

After the Sabres benched him ahead of the 2018 trade deadline, the Sharks bought low on the Canadian as they looked to return to the Stanley Cup Finals. 

While he led the league in penalty minutes in both of his first two years with the Sharks, he also scored 56 points his first season in San Jose and earned a new seven-year, $49 million contract. While the trade helped the Sharks in the short term, reaching the Western Conference Finals again in 2018-19, the contract proved to be the wrong choice. After his suspension, the fake COVID-19 vaccine card, and his teammates wanting him out of the locker room, the Sharks placed Kane on waivers and ultimately terminated his contract due to violation of COVID-19 policies. 

Brenden Dillon Trade

Another key cog in the Sharks’ Stanley Cup Finals run was defenseman Brenden Dillon, acquired via trade on November 21, 2014. The Canadian began his career with the Dallas Stars and set new career highs across the board in 2013-14, including points and a plus-minus rating that ranked 4th among defensemen. After the trade, Dillon signed a five-year, $16.35 million extension and was a breakout performer during the Sharks Stanley Cup run. Dillon is known for his honesty and thoughtfulness with the media, winning the Sharks “Media Good Guy Award” in 2018-19.

Erik Karlsson

Nobody said all these trades would be fun. San Jose finds themselves in the wilderness after a long run of postseason success, and the best way to get out of that situation is to trade current assets for future assets. That’s precisely what the front office did with Erik Karlsson, the best remaining player on an uncompetitive 2022-23 team. Karlsson had a career year for that squad, scoring 101 points on a career-high 25 goals. At 33, the offensive defenseman still had value, even with his expensive contract.

This move gave the Sharks an extra first-round pick and cleared up cap space. However, many experts saw this as an underwhelming trade, considering what they could have gotten back. 

Timo Meier

Another less fun trade, Timo Meier played a significant role in the recent postseason runs. However, as the window closed, Meier headed to the chopping block like Karlsson so the Sharks could move into the future. This trade was better than the Karlsson trade. It wasn’t universally loved, but the Sharks received four players and three draft picks for Meier, including potentially two first-round selections. One of those picks turned into Quentin Musty, one of the top-ranked prospects in San Jose’s system. 

San Jose Is Looking To The Future

The Sharks haven’t made a ton of blockbuster trades over the last decade, or at least not sexy ones. Neither the Karlsson or Meier trade makes for great hockey at the moment in San Jose, but both show a clear direction for the franchise moving into the future. The Sharks will have another top pick in the 2024 draft and look to continue collecting young talent for their next competitive window. 

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