When the free agent period opens up on Thursday morning, it would not be surprising to see San Jose active in some form as Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson has a track record of being proactive about acquiring what he wants.
There is no question San Jose would like to find someone to pair with Thomas Greiss
to form a strong netminding combination. San Jose has some talented in-house netminding prospects in Alex Stalock
and Harri Sateri
, but they want to let the critical position players develop at the right speed.
Plus, there is an abundance of excellent goalies available this summer according to NHL.com. Even without the amount of goaltenders that could be out there, San Jose should be a strong consideration for any goalie looking to have that breakout season as the team has finished first in the Western Conference the past two regular seasons and just reached the Western Conference Finals. In addition, there is the defensive commitment from the entire team and the coaching staff to go with an offense that will provide plenty of goal support.
When it comes to the forward positions, San Jose looks to be fairly set with the current lineup as most of the players who skated in the last postseason are back. Of the top nine who played against Chicago, Manny Malhotra is the only player who San Jose would not have the rights to on July 1. In addition to the young prospects like Logan Couture
and Jamie McGinn who were up during the playoffs, skaters like Benn Ferriero
, Brandon Mashinter
, Frazer McLaren, Tommy Wingels
, Cam MacIntyre and Andrew Desjardins
, among others, are looking to crack the lineup full time.
On the blue line, the retirement of Rob Blake does open a top four spot, but the Sharks already have six blueliners under contract who played significant time in the Western Conference Finals and aren’t pressed to do anything. Younger players like Derek Joslin, Mike Moore
, Nick Petrecki
and Matt Irwin, to name a few, will all push for time as well.
There is no question the Sharks reserve list is stocked full at this time and the rookie tournament and training camp will have some intense battles for a few spots.
It should be fun for Sharks fans in the next few days to see who the club will look to add to the roster, but the best part is the likes of Joe Thornton
, Patrick Marleau
, Dany Heatley, Joe Pavelski
, Dan Boyle
and other stars will ensure the upcoming season will be at least as exciting as the past one.