This season has been an interesting one for the San Jose Sharks. Patrick Marleau is off in Toronto, Aaron Dell dominated the beginning of the season as a backup, Joe Thornton was having a resurgence before going down with a knee injury, and slow starts for Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski had people writing off the Sharks yet again.
With the team now back on track and performing well, the Sharks have to wonder if they make a big trade deadline move. The Central division is bound to control both wildcard spots at season’s end, so the Sharks have to hold one of the top three spots within the Pacific division to assure themselves the playoffs. While the Pacific has been relatively weak, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings are only three points behind San Jose’s playoff spot.
General manager Doug Wilson also has to focus on winning now. Thornton, Burns, Pavelski, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are all over 30 at this point. Despite the team having great young players establish themselves this season, the core of the team is at the point where they need to try for a deep run or retool their roster. Judging by the amount of trade rumors swirling around the Sharks right now, Wilson has decided to go for it.
After the New York Rangers asked for Nash’s 12-team trade list, word on who was interested in the 33 year-old power forward began to float around the league. Despite his age and declining ability, numerous teams asked about his availability, including the Sharks. San Jose would love to add a winger that can move up and down the lineup like Nash can, and he comes with proven scoring ability.
The hang-up seems to be whether or not Thornton can return this season. Elliotte Friedman reported that Thornton and Nash’s friendship would definitely put San Jose in the running, but if his injury is too severe, the Sharks would have no reason to go for Nash.
As I mentioned this morning, Sharks' interest in Nash has to be tied to Joe's health. There's zero reason to do this if not to reunite them.
One other note: DAL, NSH, SJS all have their first rounders this year. STL does not. https://t.co/w5KzrWQtfv
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 5, 2018
With the Ottawa Senators having a rough season, several of their players have been added to the trade block. The Sharks are in the mix for two very different players: Hoffman, a skilled offensive winger with a great shot, and Smith, a gritty bottom six winger who can chip in offensively at times. Both players have contracts that extend past this season, so they would not be rentals. Hoffman would require a lot more assets to acquire, but would be a fantastic addition to San Jose’s roster.
The Montreal Canadiens are another team struggling this season, and they have put 14 season veteran center Plekanec on the trade block. The Sharks have shown interest, as they have focused on filling their depth center needs all season. Plekanec has not produced offensively like he has in the past, but if used on the third line he would provide top-notch defensive ability even at age 35. With his age it would be only seen as a rental, but the Sharks have to wonder if getting Plekanec just to center their third line is worth any assets they would give up.
Trading Paul Martin:
The Sharks also have to be on the lookout for a team to sell to. Since being waived in January, defenseman Paul Martin has been playing in the AHL with the Barracuda. The Sharks have promised to search out a trade partner in order to get Martin playing in the NHL again. Maybe by retaining salary the Sharks can get a team to take Martin off their hands, although it might cost the Sharks draft picks just for a team to take his contract.