Nearly six months after the Sharks last took the ice in a competitive game, their extended offseason reportedly is starting to take shape.
The NHL draft will be held on Oct. 6 and 7, while free agency will begin on Oct. 9, according to multiple reports.
The draft and start of free agency are critical dates for general manager Doug Wilson as he tries to chart the Sharks' path back to playoff contention. San Jose failed to qualify for the playoffs for just the third time this century, and the draft and free agency offer chances to retool a roster that finished last in the Western Conference in 2019-20.
The Sharks have one first-round pick, two in the second, two in the fifth and two in the seventh. San Jose will pick no sooner than 28th overall in the first round, depending on how the Tampa Bay Lightning do in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Ottawa Senators own the Sharks' first-round pick (No. 3 overall) as a result of the Erik Karlsson trade two years ago.
Wilson has traded for roster players at the draft before (See: Burns, Brent), and Cap Friendly pegs the Sharks as having just over $14 million in cap space with 10 forwards, five defensemen and one goaltender on the NHL roster. Unless San Jose plans to fill each of those spots with internal options, the Sharks should be circling the free-agent waters two days after the draft ends.
The Sharks last played on March 11, losing 6-2 to Chicago a day prior to the NHL suspending its season due to the coronavirus. San Jose's season officially ended on May 26 with the league's announcement it was returning to play in a modified 24-team format.
Now, just over four months after that, the Sharks' critical offseason will begin in earnest.