Sharks

Matt Duchene trade: What deal means for Sharks before NHL deadline

Matt Duchene trade: What deal means for Sharks before NHL deadline

The Sharks will see the newest member of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. 

Forward Matt Duchene, who the Blue Jackets acquired from the Ottawa Senators on Friday for a package centered on two prospects and two first-round picks, will suit up against San Jose on Saturday. 

Beyond the immediate implications for their next game, the Blue Jackets trading for Duchene has trade-deadline ramifications for the Sharks -- both good and bad. 

The good news for San Jose is that Duchene won't join a contender in the Western Conference. The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets were among the teams linked to Duchene in the lead-up to the deadline. Friday's trade takes one of the best available forwards off the market, meaning those teams -- as well as the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights -- will have to look elsewhere for help up front. 

There are still plenty of top-flight forwards available. Duchene's now-former Senators teammate Mark Stone and current Blue Jackets teammate Artemi Panarin come to mind. Beyond them, players like Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds and New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello would figure to make up the next tier of forwards for contenders looking for help at the deadline. 

That's where the downside of Duchene's trade comes in for the Sharks, as the timing of the deal could price San Jose out of making an acquisition. 

As Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman noted earlier this week, the Sharks' lack of a first-round pick in the next two drafts "[limits] what they can do" at the deadline. Friedman figured trade values for players like Simmonds and Zuccarello would drop the longer Duchene, Panarin, and Stone were still on the market, and that would benefit Sharks general manager Doug Wilson as he reportedly looks to add a winger. 

Now, Duchene has a new home and Panarin might not even be on the move. The Blue Jackets reportedly are happy to hang on to the Russian winger in their playoff push, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.

Those notions already seem to be affecting teams' asking prices. The Rangers are looking for "high picks or a high pick and a prospect" for Zuccarello, TSN's Darren Dreger reported on Friday.

The Sharks still have second-round picks in each of the next two drafts, but only 10 total selections in 2020 and 2021. Friedman reported on Tuesday that they're telling teams forward prospect Sasha Chmelevski isn't available, and defenseman Ryan Merkley is the only former first-rounder in San Jose's system after Josh Norris was included in the Erik Karlsson trade. 

[RELATED: Sharks were 'happy to olbige' Penguins with scuffles]

In other words, San Jose probably wouldn't be able to win any bidding wars ahead of the deadline, and Duchene's trade makes the prospect of one more likely. 

That's not necessarily a bad thing for the Sharks. They will enter Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets no more than three points back of the Flames for first place in the Pacific Division and the conference. 

But, the Sharks' rivals are still trying to improve, and matching any potential moves might've just gotten more difficult. 

NHL expansion draft: Sharks must decide which goalies to protect, expose

martinjonesap.jpg
AP

NHL expansion draft: Sharks must decide which goalies to protect, expose

Editor's note: This week, NBC Sports California will look ahead to the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, at which time the Seattle franchise officially will join the league as its 32nd team. Every team in the league will be affected, as players from (nearly) every roster will be made available to Seattle for its inaugural roster. We continue with an examination of which goalies the Sharks likely are to protect and expose.

Two summers from now, the Sharks will have a new Pacific Division rival.

The expansion franchise in Seattle is set to officially join the NHL for the 2021-22 regular season, but before it can take the ice, it needs players to do so.

As described in the rules that will govern the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft prior to the start of the 2021-22 season, the rest of the teams in the league (except for the Vegas Golden Knights) will be forced to expose a certain number of players, making them eligible to be selected by Seattle. Each team has the ability to protect a limited number of players on its roster, making those players exempt from selection in the expansion draft.

Those protections are specific to position, and when it comes to goalies, each team will only be able to protect one on its roster. However, all players with no-movement clauses are automatically protected (unless they waive those clauses), and all first- and second-year players -- as well as all unsigned draft picks -- are exempt from inclusion in the expansion draft. 

Based on those restrictions, we can begin to zero in on who the Sharks might expose to the 2021 Expansion Draft, since they (and 28 other teams) will be obligated to expose at least one goalie who is either a) under contract in 2021-22, or b) will be a restricted free agent immediately prior to 2021-22.

Martin Jones enters next season as the unquestioned starter, and he's under contract through the 2023-24 season. He has a modified no-trade clause, but that doesn't afford the same automatic protections as a no-movement clause, so he is eligible to be exposed in the expansion draft. However, with very little in the way of tested netminders behind him in the organization, San Jose might be inclined to protect Jones, assuming he shows further evidence of 'Playoff Jones' between now and then.

Outside of Jones, Aaron Dell is the only other Sharks goalie currently signed to an NHL contract. However, Dell is entering the final year of his deal, and he's due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the upcoming season. If the Sharks decide they want to expose Dell to the expansion draft, they must first re-sign him so that he fills the contract requirement.

In fact, in theory, any goalie who plays for the Sharks this coming season would be eligible to be exposed to the expansion draft, assuming they fulfill both the contract and experience requirements. 

[RELATED: Sharks will miss Pavelski's leadership more than his goals]

The Sharks have multiple netminders in lower levels of the organization that they're high on, and if they're thinking ahead and want to ensure that none of them are made available in the expansion draft, you could see some clever maneuvering on San Jose's part this coming season or next. For instance, they conceivably could sign a backup goaltender with NHL experience to a contract through at least the end of the 2020-21 season, and then expose that player.

If Jones regresses, he's a natural candidate to be exposed, considering he'll still be under contract at that time. Similarly, if Dell gets re-signed to a short-term deal, that's an obvious sign he's destined to be exposed. Regardless of how the Sharks approach their goaltending situation moving forward, clearly they will need to think long and hard about the ramifications of their decisions.

NHL expansion draft: How Sharks will be impacted by Seattle franchise

expansiondraftrulesap.jpg
AP

NHL expansion draft: How Sharks will be impacted by Seattle franchise

Editor's note: This week, NBC Sports California will look ahead to the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, at which time the Seattle franchise officially will join the league as its 32nd team. Every team in the league will be affected, as players from (nearly) every roster will be made available to Seattle for its inaugural roster. We begin with an explanation of the expansion draft rules.

Over the last two years, the Sharks have developed a budding rivalry with the Vegas Golden Knights, who joined the NHL as an expansion franchise prior to the 2017-18 season.

Two years from now, another expansion franchise -- this one in Seattle, Washington -- officially will join the league, and like Vegas, will slide right into the Pacific Division, with the Arizona Coyotes being displaced to the Central Division.

Before the currently unnamed Seattle franchise begins play in 2021-22, it has to acquire its inaugural roster by way of the expansion draft.

The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft will operate under the same rules for Seattle as it did for the Golden Knights back in the summer of 2017. Seattle will select one player from each of the other teams in the league (excluding Vegas) for a grand total of 30. Specifically, those 30 players must include at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies.

Eventually, Seattle will whittle down those 30 players to a minimum of 20 under contract for the 2021-22 regular season, and that inaugural roster must have a cumulative salary that is between 60 and 100 percent of the 2020-21 salary cap's upper limit.

However, it's not as if Seattle can just handpick the best player from each roster. The other 30 teams can protect a limited number of their own players, making them ineligible for selection in the expansion draft.

Those teams have two options for protecting players: Either protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or protect eight skaters (forwards or defensemen) and one goalie. Regardless of which option a team chooses, there are certain conditions it must abide by.

For instance, any player with a no-movement clause at the time of the expansion draft -- and who declines to waive that clause -- must be protected and will count toward their team's protected list. Additionally, all first- and second-year players, as well as all unsigned draft choices, are exempt from inclusion in the expansion draft, and won't count toward their team's protected list.

There are two sides to the protected/exempt coin, though. The other 30 teams can't simply scrape the bottom of their respective barrels and expose those remnants to the expansion draft. There are conditions that those teams must meet that ensure Seattle will receive legitimate NHL players, much like the Golden Knights did before making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in their debut season.

Each of those 30 teams must expose at least one defensemen and at least two forwards who are a) under contract in 2021-22 and b) played in at least 40 NHL games the prior season, or in at least 70 NHL games over the previous two seasons combined.

[RELATED: Sharks will miss Pavelski's leadership more than his goals]

Furthermore, those teams must also expose at least one goalie who is either under contract in 2021-22 or will be a restricted free agent immediately prior to 2021-22. If a team elects to expose the latter option to the expansion draft, it must have already given that goalie a qualifying offer prior to submitting its protected list.

Lastly, any players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games heading into 2021-22, or who have been otherwise confirmed to have a career-threatening injury, cannot be exposed to the expansion draft unless approved by the league.

Traditionally, expansion franchises have taken a long time to find their footing in the NHL, but the Golden Knights bucked that trend and took the sports world by storm. Considering the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft will have the exact same setup as the one that jumpstarted Vegas in 2017, it stands to reason that Seattle could do the same.