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NHL trade deadline: What Sharks fans need to know before February 25

NHL trade deadline: What Sharks fans need to know before February 25

We’re five days away from the NHL Trade Deadline, and the silly season is underway. 

Teams are already sitting possible trade targets, seemingly to avoid risking injury. Well, unless you’re asking John Tortorella, that is.

With Monday’s noon PT deadline right around the corner, what are the Sharks in position to do? Who are the best players available? We set out to break it all down, FAQ-style.

When is the NHL trade deadline?

Monday, Feb. 25 at noon PT. Did you read the previous paragraph?

No comment on that one. So, what’s the Sharks’ salary-cap situation?

Before claiming enforcer Micheal Haley off waivers Wednesday, San Jose was projected to have just under $5.4 million ($5,374,870, to be exact) in cap space on at the deadline, according to CapFriendly. 

That projection shouldn’t change much, however. Haley’s cap hit is $100,000 lower than rookie center Dylan Gambrell, who was sent down to the Barracuda on Wednesday to make room for Haley.

How does that compare to other Western Conference contenders?

As it stands right now, the Sharks would have less cap space ahead of the deadline than the team they’re chasing (Calgary Flames) and the teams chasing them (Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, and Vegas Golden Knights). 

There’s still space to add a player, but San Jose doesn’t have the cap room or assets to compete with its peers for some of the bigger fish. 

Speaking of assets, what picks do the Sharks have?

Great segue, nebulous question-asker! 

Here are the picks San Jose has in each of the next three years, with a round-by-round breakdown as things stand right now.

2019: Five (second round, third round, fifth round, sixth round, seventh round)
2020: Five (second round, third round, fourth round, two in fifth round)
2021: Seven (first round, second round, third round, fourth round, fifth round, sixth round, seventh round)

The Sharks’ first two picks in 2021 are in flux, depending upon what happens with Erik Karlsson. If the defenseman is re-signed, the Ottawa Senators receive San Jose’s second-round pick. Should the Sharks make to the Stanley Cup Final, that pick becomes a first-rounder. 

What other trade chips can they work with?

Kevin Labanc has been mentioned as a trade possibility, and has heated up offensively in February alongside Joe Thornton on the third line. Gambrell has become San Jose’s preferred forward to call-up over the last month, but it’s worth noting that former prospects Nikolay Goldobin and Danny O’Regan were on the NHL roster in February before being traded in 2017 and 2018, respectively. 

Fellow rookie centers Rourke Chartier and Antti Suomela have not suited up with the Sharks since November and December, respectively. They’ve become mainstays with the Barracuda in the AHL, and are the only Barracuda players to suit up in the NHL this season other than Gambrell and defenseman Jacob Middleton.

As for who won’t be traded, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Tuesday that the Sharks are shooing away teams asking about forward Sasha Chmelevski. Chmelevski starred for the United States at the World Juniors, and has 65 points in 46 games with the Ottawa 67s. It’s also hard to imagine San Jose parting with 2018 first-round pick Ryan Merkley.

Where might the Sharks try to improve?

San Jose reportedly is looking to make a move up front. Nine Sharks forwards have scored at least 10 goals, and the Sharks’ top three lines have found a groove lately. But coach Peter DeBoer continues to rotate options on the fourth line, and Friedman also reported on Tuesday that the Sharks “will try to add a winger.”

How about in net? 

It’s a fair question. San Jose ranks dead-last in 5-on-5 save percentage (.897) per Natural Stat Trick, while Aaron Dell (.907) and Martin Jones (.881) are 55th and 67th among the 68 goalies who played 500 minutes at full strength this season. 

The Sharks aren’t committed to Dell beyond next season, but Jones is the franchise goalie playing in the first of a five-year extension he signed two summers ago.

While a trade for a netminder seems unlikely, it was reported on Thursday that the Sharks are talking to the Ducks about Ryan Miller.

We shall see ... 

Let’s say they make a move elsewhere. Who are the names to know? 

Without a first-round pick, the Sharks probably won’t be in contention for bigger names like Matt Duchene and Artemi Panarin. Friedman reported on Tuesday that the Sharks “have checked in” or are “looking at” a trio of pending free-agent wingers from the Metropolitan Division: Marcus Johansson, Wayne Simmonds and Mats Zuccarello. 

Johansson is the youngest of the bunch (28 years old), and the New Jersey Devil is generating 5-on-5 attempts, shots and chances at career-high rates, according to Natural Stat Trick. 

Simmonds has struggled working his way back from offseason surgeries. But, the Philadelphia Flyers winger on pace to score 20 goals for the seventh straight season. 

Zuccarello continues to drive play in a positive direction, and the diminuitive New York Rangers fan favorite is picking up primary assists at full strength at the highest rate of his career. 

Friedman also floated out a reunion with Minnesota Wild center Eric Fehr as a possibility. Fehr was a key cog in the Sharks’ fourth line last postseason. 

[RELATED: Sharks looking to cut down trips to penalty box]

Who are some other available names that might interest Sharks fans?

That’s an oddly specific question, but I do like where your head’s at. 

Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals LW: The former first-rounder is having a down year, his age (24 years old) and contract ($3 million cap hit) make him an intriguing candidate for the Sharks to take a flyer on. 

Micheal Ferland, Carolina Hurricanes LW: The longer the ‘Canes are in the race, the less likely they are to trade Ferland. Still, he was the bottom-six forward du jour in trade rumors for much of the season, and general manager Doug Wilson has never been afraid to add size. 

Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings RW: Nyquist has always been a strong possession player, and his versatility makes him a fit just about anywhere among the Sharks’ top-nine forwards. 

Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings G: If the Sharks don't land Miller, Howard (.931 5-on-5 save percentage) is the best option available in net outside of Sergei Bobrovsky, who the Columbus Blue Jackets might or might not trade. 

We know what the Sharks have. We know what they might want. Will they make a trade?

Wilson’s history would indicate it’s pretty much an inevitability. The 2013-14 season was really the only time San Jose was in contention in Wilson’s tenure that he didn’t add a piece at (or around) the trade deadline.

Still, the Sharks are within striking distance of the top seed in the West as things stand right now. Wilson said last month the team was happy with its depth, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him stand pat on Monday. 

NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams

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AP

NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams

The market for Brenden Dillon is heating up. It's sounding like more of a "when" rather than an "if" the Sharks' defenseman will be moved.

In a season where very little has gone right for San Jose, Dillon has been one of the few, consistent bright spots. He has appeared in every game while averaging over 19 minutes of ice time, and he leads all Sharks' defensemen in plus-minus. According to TSN Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, the closer the NHL gets to the trade deadline, the more teams reportedly are inquiring about the blue-liner who is on pace to lead the Sharks in hits for the fourth straight season. 

"Most definitely the Winnipeg Jets are in the market for a specific top-four defenseman," Dreger reported Tuesday. "Now, it could be a rental player, it could be a player with some term. They're not ruling out anything at this point."

Dillon is in the final year of his contract and is due to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, so he would fall into the rental category. Given the price Dillon is likely to command, that might not be ideal for Winnipeg, but Dreger noted that the Dustin Byfuglien situation -- as well as Bryan Little and Adam Lowry's respective recoveries from injury -- could force the Jets' hand.

LeBrun agreed that Dillon would make plenty of sense for Winnipeg, but didn't stop there.

"I don't think he would be on the top of their list, but certainly on the list of players that the Jets would have compiled already, I think Brenden Dillon would be on there somewhere," LeBrun said. "Pending UFA, he's a defenseman that's going to be dealt by the San Jose Sharks. He's a No. 4 for some teams, a No. 5 for others. I can tell you half-a-dozen teams so far have shown interest, including, I'm told, the Boston Bruins. Obviously a rugged, defensive defenseman in Brenden Dillon would be a nice fit there in Boston. Carolina Hurricanes, who just lost Dougie Hamilton, have also been among the teams that have shown interest." 

"It will not be an issue moving Brenden Dillon," LeBrun summarized. "The question is what can San Jose get out of it? I think it's probably going to be a second-round pick, and maybe a prospect."

[RELATED: If Sharks' Marleau doesn't pick goal song, his wife will]

The Sharks are still holding out hope for a playoff push, but whether or not they are successful in that pursuit, Dillon might be of more value to them elsewhere.

Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks

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AP

Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks are ready to spice up their goal celebrations. In a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, San Jose brought the heat, but the SAP Center DJ failed to bring the expected flavor.

It wasn't his or her fault, though. It's sort of hard to play the right song when there is no song to be played.

Before being robbed of a much-deserved All-Star Game MVP award over the weekend in St. Louis, Tomas Hertl broke the news to Sharks fans that he and his fellow teammates would each have their own goal songs when the team returned from the All-Star break. Each player's song was supposed to be kept a surprise until they scored a goal, so when Stefan Noesen lit the lamp less than two minutes into the game Monday night, it came as a surprise to many -- Noesen included -- when the team's default goal song came on over the loudspeakers.

A few minutes later, Patrick Marleau scored to make it 2-0 San Jose. Again, 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" played. In the second period, Marleau scored his second goal of the night. Same thing. So what gave?

It turns out that it was part operator error, part old-fashioned procrastination.

Noesen had actually picked a song out, and lucky for the Sharks, the SAP Center crowd would get to hear it before the night was over. Marleau, on the other hand, is still deliberating.

"Still working it out to see what it is," Marleau said of his yet-to-be-decided goal song after San Jose's win. "Probably leave it up to my family. They'll pick it."

Last week, Marleau's wife took to Twitter to ask Sharks fans for suggestions as to what his goal song should be. Apparently, none were to his liking, but his better half won't allow him to go without one for much longer.

After he scored his first goal of the night, Marleau's wife threatened to choose "Wheels on the Bus" on his behalf if he didn't figure one out soon. The couple has four boys between the ages of 5 and 13 so one would imagine Marleau has heard plenty of that song over the last decade.

Chances are, he has heard plenty of Noesen's song, too.

Early in the third period, Noesen ripped a slapshot from the slot into the back of Anaheim's net after receiving what he called an "all-world" pass from Erik Karlsson. The goal increased San Jose's lead to 4-1, and as fans rose out of their seats to celebrate the goal that put the game out of reach, their ears were greeted by the unmistakable sounds of "Hakuna Matata."

"I had something else picked out and then somebody else was watching 'The Lion King,' and I thought that would be kind of funny to put on and maybe get a little reaction from the crowd, too," Noesen said of his song choice. "And they seemed to enjoy it. It was fun."

[RELATED: Would Sharks really trade Thornton or Marleau this year?]

While Marleau still needs to come to a decision, Noesen plans to stick with his.

"Yeah, unless someone tells me otherwise," he said with a laugh following his first two-goal game with San Jose. "I thought it was good. They messed it up on the first one, and I wasn't sure if I'd ever have another chance to hear it.

"It was a good thing I got that nice pass."