Could the Sharks and Senators make deal at trade deadline?


Could the Sharks and Senators make deal at trade deadline?

When the San Jose Sharks face off with the Ottawa Senators Friday, they’ll play a team in the midst of an eight-month free-fall. In May, the Senators were a Game 7 overtime win away from a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
Entering Friday, they’re 13 points out of playoff spot. 
Ottawa’s lost six of its last seven games, and the rumor mill is abuzz that Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will dismantle his club ahead of the trade deadline. Winger Mike Hoffman is among the players available, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and the low-scoring Sharks should take notice. 
Since 2014-15, only 21 players have scored more goals than Hoffman. He’s only scored nine goals in 38 games this season, but is likely due for some serious regression to the mean.
Hoffman’s only scored on seven percent of his shots this season, compared to 12.3 percent over the last three seasons. He’s actually shooting a career-high 3.37 shots per game, and is due for a scoring spike once his finishing catches up to his shot volume.
He’d also add to an already-lethal power play. Hoffman has 17 power play goals since the beginning of last season, ninth-most in the league.
Unlike most other trade deadline options, Hoffman has significant term left on his contract. He’s signed until 2020, at a cap hit of just under $5.2 million, and would fit into San Jose medium-term salary structure. 
What would it take to get a deal done? As The Athletic’s Craig Custance noted on Thursday, the Senators do not pick until the third round of this year’s draft. 
His colleague, Pierre LeBrun, observed on Friday that the Sharks are without picks in the second and third rounds of the draft. Friedman reported that the Senators are intrigued by the St. Louis Blues forward prospects, while San Jose isn’t willing to part with young players like Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, and Joakim Ryan, and they don’t have an exceptional prospect pool.
There’s also the issue of Hoffman’s no-trade clause, as he can’t be traded to a list of 10 teams he provides to the Senators. Plus, he also has a history against the Sharks, cross-checking Logan Couture in the head last season and prompting Couture to tell reporters  he “[hoped Hoffman] gets suspended.”
San Jose managed to integrate Raffi Torres into their locker room, and he had a much dirtier past against the Sharks than Hoffman. The no-trade clause (if they’re on his list), plus San Jose’s shallow cupboard of prospects, present much realer hurdles. 
They’ll get a good look at Hoffman on Friday night, and a better sense of whether those hurdles are worth overcoming. There’s no question he’d help the Sharks, as long as the price is right. 

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal


Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double


Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.