The San Jose Sharks just signed star defenceman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million contract. Let the cap problem for them begin!
They have five unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents. The Sharks just moved their available cap space from just $12.542 million to $16.342 million by trading away defenceman Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers.
That is if the NHL doesn’t decide this week to make the cap below the expected $83 million limit. Then, some teams including the Sharks will be in a worse fix than they already are.
Sharks Cap Problem Means Players Will be Available
So who could other teams like the Arizona Coyotes be targeting to acquire due to the Sharks cap problem?
The winger is a 27-years-old Raahe, Finland native and is coming off a $1.9 million contract. He will more than likely want an increase. Joonas Donskoi had 14 goals, 23 assists in 80 games this season and one goal, two assists in 12 playoff games.
Although he’s not a prolific scorer. He is a winger and the Coyotes will most likely not be re-signing Richard Panik, so Donskoi can fill that role very well.
Another more likely winger who would decrease the Sharks cap problem is Gustav Nyquist. He reigns from Halmstad, Sweden and will be 30-years-old by the time the season begins. He carries a $4.75 million cap hit and would probably require a raise to get signed. Nyquist has scored 20 or more goals four times in his NHL career, so he fits better into the Coyotes search for a scorer on the wing. He had a combined 22 goals, 38 assists in 81 games this season. That could really help the deflated offence that the Coyotes presently put out on the ice. He’s a proven NHL player and would definitely fit in well in Arizona.
Other Options For Sharks Cap Problem
Every Sharks fan knows that they will do all they can to keep Joe Pavelski, their captain, and leader on the ice. He displayed great courage and fortitude by playing hurt in the playoffs and eventually came back from being hit in the face with a puck. He also was thrown to the ice and suffered a head injury. That just didn’t dissuade him from getting back out there and fighting the fight.
It’s got to be considered that with his $6 million cap hit that the team may be thinking of trading him to get something in return. The Coyotes do have a good supply of young players but would they want to trade them for a soon to be 35-year-old player? He can still play and that was demonstrated by his 38 goals, 26 assists this year.
It would need to be some kind of trade for the Sharks to move Pavelski. And it doesn’t seem to be in the cards that they will allow him to just walk to free agency either. The only condition the Coyotes may consider paying Pavelski what he deserves if they felt they were definitely a playoff team. Pavelski’s experience would be invaluable for any team.
The Coyotes are also looking to stay younger. Signing or trading for Pavelski in the twilight of his career may not be advisable. The Arizona club is looking more for the likes of a Matt Duchene to add to their success than an older player.
Coyotes Should Have a Choice of Good Players to Choose From
This year there is an unprecedented number of players out there in free agency or trades for teams to choose from. Depending on what the salary cap final number is, the Coyotes could have about $14 million to work with. That could get this team to the level of making the playoffs.
The other situation is with prospective new ownership on the horizon, the team should be more competitive in acquiring players. That, in turn, will help them be more successful. For now, either Donskoi, Nyquist, or ideally Duchene would do nicely in that endeavour. Another couple of names thrown out there has been Ryan Dzingel or even Patrick Marleau. Don’t forget that Anders Lee of the New York Islanders is still available as of this writing as well.
If the Arizona Coyotes can take advantage of the Sharks cap problem it might just see them enter the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
And wouldn’t that be special?