Plan B – Trade Targets
One of the ways for Doug Wilson to bolster this teams line up is via trade. Now that we have looked at the likelihood of what Sharks would likely be on the table to move, it’s time to look at some potential targets, their benefits, and detriments. Since I have a lack of imagination, I asked for help on Twitter for potential trade targets. They are as follows:
Ryan O’Reilly – Center, 27 Years Old
Despite playing for some pretty bad teams Ryan O’Reilly has put up some respectable point totals through his career. In fact, since 2013-14 he has averaged 59 points a season with 20 or more goals in all but one. He is 30th overall in points scored among the entire league in that time period. Again this is on some pretty terrible teams? What would happen if he was surrounded by better players? It’s definitely a question I would love to see the Sharks try to answer.
The issue, of course, is lightning rarely strike twice and the Sabres are not going to gift wrap O’Reilly like they did Kane. The other major issue with O’Reilly is the structure of his contract, of the $8.5 M he will make this year 7.5 M is due to be paid to him July 1st in signing bonuses. This means that if a team trades for O’Reilly while they will still have his cap hit of $7.5 M AAV count against their cap space they will only have to pay him $1 M in actual money.
The Sharks would obviously not turn to O’Reilly until they were out on Tavaras and the asking price from Buffalo who would have already paid his signing bonus would be quite high. Likely too rich for a team that wants to win now and would not want to part with significant roster players. It should also be noted that the Sabres appear to have a deal in place to move O’Reilly after the first with St. Louis the likely destination.
Artemi Panarin – Left Wing, 26 Years Old
This one is a super long shot. Artemi Panarin has refused to start negotiations on a contract extension to stay in Columbus and wants to test the free agent waters of 2018-19. It at least appears that Jarmo Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets are willing to be patient and see if they can change his mind. If they are unable to do so Panarin could find himself as a big ticket as a trade deadline rental. There would be a lot of risk for the Sharks in order to bring Panarin into the fold. First, he is going to cost significant assets so if Doug Wilson didn’t have an extension in hand to go with the trade it would be problematic, to say the least.
Still, this is a player who has over 74 or more points in his short time in the NHL entering is prime. Not sure the Sharks can win a bidding war for his services via trade though.
Jeff Skinner – Left Wing, 26 Years Old
Another player entering the last year of his current contract is Jeff Skinner. Like O’Reilly, Skinner has never really had a great supporting cast as the Hurricanes have always been on the low end of total team salary. Many will argue that Skinner would be more of a complementary piece than a move to push the Sharks over the top but I’d argue he’d be a significant upgrade over the recently departed Mikkel Boedker. It’s difficult to know what the Hurricanes would want in return but they seem to be definitely open for business since new owner Tom Dundon purchased the team with a very hands-on approach.
Other interesting names to come up included Eric Staal who has had a significant turn around in Minnesota. Josh Ho-Sang a young player with “character issues” but full of talent. Another excellent option is to simply see who the odd man out is if Tavares chooses a team like the Maple Leafs or Lightning. Ultimately none of these moves is as franchise-altering as signing Tavares. They would, however, still give the Sharks a decent boost to their competitiveness both within their division and in the conference.
Next: Free Agency