Sharks

Martin's first choice is to stay, but open to trade: 'I just want to play'

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USATSI

Martin's first choice is to stay, but open to trade: 'I just want to play'

Sharks defenseman Paul Martin wants to play hockey again, wherever that may take him.

He's only played in three NHL games all season, and has not played with the Sharks since Dec. 7. The 36-year-old played four games with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda from Dec. 12 to Dec. 17, but has not seen any game action since.

As a result, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson confirmed to reporters Sunday that he, Martin, and Martin's agent are working together "to explore options," according to The Athletic's Kevin Kurz and the Bay Area News Group's Curtis Pashelka. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman first reported on Saturday that San Jose was looking to move Martin. 

“I just want to play,” Martin said on Sunday. “It’s been a long couple months. That’s basically it. We spoke a couple times to figure out what we can do. It’s early.”

Martin will not travel with the Sharks on their upcoming three-game road trip, but told reporters his "number one choice" is to regain a regular role in San Jose. He played at least 78 games in each of the previous two seasons, and skated primarily on the team's second pairing alongside Brent Burns, before finding himself eighth on the team's depth chart this season.

Ben Hankinson, Martin's agent, reiterated to Pashelka that his client's preference is to remain with the Sharks. 

“That’s his first choice but obviously the goal is to play somewhere and help a team win in the NHL. Now we’re going down that path and trying to find a team," Hankinson told Pashelka. "[Martin] wants to play and he’d love to win.”

When could a deal happen? "The sooner the better," Hankinson told Kurz, but he said it may take time for Martin's options to develop. 

San Jose will have time to let that happen, after a pair of transactions. Fellow blueliner Dylan DeMelo was activated from injured reserve on Sunday, and the Sharks loaned winger Marcus Sorensen to the Barracuda in a corresponding move. 

Reports: John Tavares will meet with Sharks, four other teams

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AP

Reports: John Tavares will meet with Sharks, four other teams

New York Islanders captain John Tavares isn't officially a free agent yet, but he will listen to what a handful of teams have to say, Tavares' agent Pat Brisson told reporters in Dallas. That list reportedly includes the Sharks. 

San Jose will reportedly meet with Tavares in Los Angeles on Monday, according to multiple reports. The Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs are also "assured of meetings," according to The Athletic's Arthur Staple, while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights may also meet with the 27-year-old. But, meetings may be as far as any of those teams get, Staple noted. 

The Islanders' No. 1 pick in 2009, Tavares would be the best free agent available should he opt to leave New York, and arguably the best forward to hit unrestricted free agency in years. Since entering the league, Tavares ranks fifth in goals (272), and ninth in points (621), higher than any current Shark in either category. He's won gold with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and made the All-Star Game five times, including in each of the last four seasons. 

This week, the Sharks positioned themselves to acquire Tavares, or another player via trade or free agency by clearing about $7 million in salary cap space. San Jose traded winger Mikkel Boedker ($4 million salary cap hit) to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, and placed veteran defenseman Paul Martin on unconditional waivers with the intention of buying out his contract on Friday. Martin cleared waivers on Saturday, freeing about $2.83 million this season, according to CapFriendly, or around $3.2 million, which the Sharks cited to reporters at the draft on Friday.

Either way, that gives San Jose right around $19 million in salary cap space this summer. Dylan DeMelo, Tomas Hertl, and Chris Tierney remain unsigned as restricted free agents, while pending unrestricted free agent Joe Thornton has expressed a desire to return to the Sharks. 

San Jose reportedly met with a former No. 1 pick ahead of free agency two summers ago, only to see him return to his club. The Sharks were believed to be one of four teams to meet with Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos in 2016, according to SportsNet's Elliotte Friedman.

Sharks Day 2 2018 NHL Draft Tracker

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AP

Sharks Day 2 2018 NHL Draft Tracker

SHARKS DRAFT PICKS
First round (No. 21 overall): D Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (OHL)
Third round (No. 87 overall): C Linus Karlsson, Karlskrona HK / Karlskrona Allsvenskan (SHL/SuperElit)​

Fourth round (No. 102 overall): C Jasper Weatherby (BCHL)
Sixth round (No. 176 overall)
Sixth round (No. 182 overall)

* * *

After the Sharks made one of the biggest splashes of the first round on Friday, San Jose entered the second day of the 2018 NHL Draft with six picks, two each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. 

Here all of the Sharks' pick from Saturday.

LINUS KARLSSON
Position: Center
2017-18 Team: Karlskrona HK / Karlskrona Allsvenskan (U-20)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 179 lbs
Age: 18
Shoots: Right
Selection: Third round (No. 87 overall; Acquired from Arizona in exchange for No. 114 and No. 145 picks)
Scouting report: The Sharks traded a pair of picks, a fourth rounder and a fifth rounder, to select the second-leading scorer from Sweden's under-20 league last season. Karlsson tied for the league-lead in goals (27), and even played 13 games with Karlskrona's pro team as an 18-year-old. He was one of the biggest risers in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, finishing the season as the service's No. 39 European skater, after being unranked at midseason. 

JASPER WEATHERBY
Position:
Center
2017-18 Team: Wentachee Wild (BCHL)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 216 lbs
Age: 20
Shoots: Left
Scouting report: Weatherby led the BCHL with 74 points (37 goals, 37 assists) in the regular season, and in postseason scoring with another 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists) in just 20 playoff games. He was a man amongst boys in more ways than one, as he's the oldest draft-eligible BCHL player and the biggest, according to EliteProspects. He's committed to play at the University of North Dakota this fall.

This story is being updated.