Plan B – Free Agency
With the Sharks not having a surplus of tradable assets, they could always look to free agency. While Tavares is the crown jewel of this year’s free agent class, there are plenty of interesting names that could help the Sharks. The drawback, of course, is that you will likely be taking on a player who is more close to leaving their prime than entering it so when it comes to term buyer beware.
James Van Riemsdyk – Left Wing, 29 Years Old
It’s no secret that beyond Tavares this will be the player that is on top of every team’s free agent list. It’s not hard to see why a perennial 50+ point player who goes hard to the net to score goals. Coming off a 36 goal campaign in a contract year certainly does not hurt. JVR is rumored to have been contacted by as many as 12 teams during the pre-free agency talking period. In a bidding war, this is a player that is going to potentially get signed to a bad long-term contract. Still, if the Sharks can sell JVR on the teams chance at success and not have to simply spend more money than anyone else in the short term it would be a great addition for team teal.
James Neal – Left Wing, 30 Years Old
After a run to the Stanley Cup Final, it appears the Vegas Golden Knights are set to allow all their pending free agents to test the market. Another older but perennial goal scorer would certainly add to the Sharks offensive punch. The Sharks are often criticized for being easy to play against. Neal along with Evander Kane would certainly address that issue. The issue for me again is the term, James Neal for 2 to 3 years, yes please more… hard pass.
Paul Stastny – Center, 32 Years Old
There is plenty to like about Paul Stastny as a player. As the best free agent center outside of Tavares through the 32-year-old is about to be paid. The question that gets asked when both Stastny and O’Reilly get brought up is how much of an improvement will they be over the Sharks current centers? That, of course, depends on the health of Joe Thornton who will be resigned by the Sharks when the dust settles. You can make the argument that O’Reilly has played on bad teams with a poor supporting cast, not sure I’d apply that argument to Stastny. While he may be a great depth signing I’m no longer sold he’d have the intended impact the Sharks are looking for this offseason.
Next: Plan C