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Team Reset

Sharks don't make splash after missing out on Tavares

Unable to sign top free agent, lose Boedker, Fehr; potential for Suomela

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the San Jose Sharks:

The San Jose Sharks tried but failed to sign the biggest prize on the free agent market.

The Sharks, who lost out on center John Tavares when he signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, spent most of the offseason retaining their players. Forward Evander Kane, who was traded to San Jose by the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 26, signed a seven-year contract extension May 24. Center Joe Thornton, who hasn't played since Jan. 23, when he tore two ligaments in his right knee, signed a one-year contract July 2. He is expected to be ready for training camp.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

Center Logan Couture signed an eight-year extension July 1; forward Tomas Hertl, a restricted free agent, signed a four-year contract July 2; defenseman Dylan DeMelo, an unrestricted free agent, signed a two-year contract July 7; and forward Chris Tierney, a restricted free agent, signed a two-year contract July 18. 

The only departures from the regular lineup were forwards Mikkel Boedker and Eric Fehr, opening a spot for Antti Suomela, San Jose's one addition outside of the 2018 NHL Draft this offseason.

Here is what the Sharks look like today:

 

Key arrival

Antti Suomela, F: The 24-year-old forward, who signed as a free agent July 6, could become the fourth-line center, where Fehr played last season. Suomela, who played the past two seasons in Finland's Elite League (Liga), lead the league in scoring last season with 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 59 games and could compete with 21-year-old forward Dylan Gambrell, a second-round pick (No. 60) in the 2016 NHL Draft, for that spot.

 

Key departures

Mikkel Boedker, F: The 28-year-old forward, who had 63 points (25 goals, 38 assists) in 155 games over two seasons with the Sharks, was traded to the Ottawa Senators on June 19, with defenseman prospect Julius Bergman and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft for forward Mike Hoffman, defenseman prospect Cody Donaghey and a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft. The Sharks traded Hoffman that day, with a seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft, to the Florida Panthers for a fourth-round and a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft and a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. ... Paul Martin, D: San Jose bought out the final year of the 37-year-old defenseman's contract. He had two assists playing 14 regular-season games last season, his third with San Jose. ... Eric Fehr, F: Signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Wild as an unrestricted free agent July 1. Fehr, 32, had four points (three goals, one assist) in 14 games last season as the fourth-line center after he was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 20 in a trade for a seventh-round draft pick in the 2020 draft. ... Joel Ward, F: The 37-year-old unrestricted free agent is not expected to return to San Jose. He was slowed by a shoulder injury and had 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 52 games last season. ... Jannik Hansen, F: An unrestricted free agent, Hansen had 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 46 games last season and is not expected to be re-signed.

Video: SJS@VGK, Gm5: Boedker scores amid scramble in front

 

On the cusp

Dylan Gambrell, F: As a junior at the University of Denver last season, Gambrell had 43 points (13 goals, 30 assists) in 41 games. The 21-year-old center played three games for the Sharks after signing an entry-level contract March 26 and could compete to replace Fehr. ... Radim Simek, D: The 25-year-old defenseman had 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 67 American Hockey League games after signing as a free agent May 23, 2017. He signed a two-year contract April 27. ... Rudolphs Balcers, F: The 21-year-old had 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists) in 67 AHL games last season. San Jose selected him in the fifth round (No. 142) of the 2015 NHL Draft.

 

What they still need

The Sharks could use another veteran forward after the departures of Boedker, Fehr, Ward and Hansen.

 

Fantasy focus

Kane integrated nicely with the Sharks' top six after being acquired at the trade deadline with 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 17 games and five points (four goals, one assist) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games. He is a highly coveted asset in fantasy hockey every season because of his category coverage and physical game (159 hits last season), which makes him one of the top skaters in hits leagues. Kane, who turns 27 on Aug. 2, will be on the deepest offensive team of his NHL career and is a prime breakout candidate considering his career high in points is 57 with the Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12. It's feasible to expect 60 points if he sticks on the top line with forward Joe Pavelski, who finished among the top 60 players on Yahoo last season. -- Rob Reese

Video: VGK@SJS, Gm3: Kane goes top shelf on Fleury 

 

Projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Joonas Donskoi

Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc

Marcus Sorensen -- Dylan Gambrell -- Melker Karlsson

Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

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