The offseason inched along on Monday, as the Sharks announced their preseason schedule. San Jose will play six games, two each against a trio of division rivals in the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, and Vegas Golden Knights.
The Sharks’ preseason slate is bookmarked with games against the Sharks’ playoff opponents from this spring. It starts with a first-round rematch with the Ducks at SAP Center on Sept. 18, and concludes with a second-round rematch with the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 30.
The full schedule can be seen below.
The preseason schedule announcement marks the beginning of a busy couple of weeks leading up to the start of free agency on July 1. Here are the important dates to keep in mind as the offseason progresses, courtesy of the league’s collective bargaining agreement and CapFriendly.
Now until June 30 (2 p.m. PT)
All 31 teams are allowed to buy out players’ contracts during this stretch. A buyout is worth one-third of the value if the player is under 26, and two-thirds of the value if they’re older than 26. The buyout amount is paid out over double the remaining length of the contract, and teams are on the hook for a salary cap hit dependent upon the player’s age and the remaining salary.
The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz, citing a league source, reported on June 9 that there’s a “strong possibility” the Sharks will buy out veteran defenseman Paul Martin’s contract. Martin is signed through 2019 with a $4.85 million cap hit. If San Jose buys him out, the Sharks will carry a salary cap hit of $1,416,667 over the next two seasons, per CapFriendly’s buyout calculator.
The NHL will announce home openers for all 31 teams at 10 a.m. PT. San Jose’s opened its home slate against 14 different teams, but will a 15th join the mix this season?
At 5 p.m. PT (NBCSN), the league holds its annual awards show. One of Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman, and P.K. Subban will succeed Sharks blueliner as the Norris Trophy winner, and Hedman is the only potential first-time winner.
The NHL will unveil the full, 82-game regular season schedules for all 31 teams at 2 p.m. PT.
The 2018 NHL Draft begins in Dallas. The first round starts on Friday, June 22 at 4 p.m. PT, while the remaining six rounds begin the following day at 8 a.m. PT.
Currently, the Sharks hold five picks: A first-round pick, a fourth-round pick, a fifth-round pick, two sixth-round picks, and a seventh-round pick. Since the NHL moved to a seven-round format in 2005, San Jose’s made five selections just twice (2009 and 2016).
The Sharks are without second-and-third-round picks, both of which (No. 52 overall and No. 83 overall) were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016. If San Jose doesn’t acquire any additional picks, this would mark the first time in general manager Doug Wilson’s tenure that the team did not draft a player in the second or third rounds.
The Sharks can meet with center John Tavares and other pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs) during this time. On the flipside, that means soon-to-be UFAs Eric Fehr, Jannik Hansen, Joe Thornton, and Joel Ward can start meeting with other clubs as well.
UFAs are not allowed to sign new contracts until 9 a.m. PT on July 1.
San Jose can issue qualifying offers to pending restricted free agents (RFAs) until 2 p.m. PT. Defenseman Dylan DeMelo, plus forwards Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney are the team’s only pending RFAs.
All qualifying offers are for one year, worth 105 percent of the player’s base salary for the previous year if the salary was between $660,000 and $1,000,000 and 100 percent of the base salary for anything above. DeMelo ($700,000 qualifying offer, per CapFriendly) and Tierney ($735,000) fall into the former category, while Hertl ($3.2 million) falls into the latter.
The Sharks can contact DeMelo, Hertl, and Tierney, as well as all other RFAs. RFAs cannot sign a new contract or an offer sheet until 9 a.m. PT on July 1.
A player has not signed an offer sheet with an organization other than their own since Ryan O’Reilly signed one with the Calgary Flames in 2013. This year’s offer sheet compensation is as follows, according to CapFriendly.
San Jose, which signed Niklas Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet in 2010, can issue an offer sheet worth up to $4,059,322 annually. The Sharks cannot sign RFAs outside of the organization to a bigger one since they ultimately traded their 2019 first-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres once Evander Kane signed a seven-year, $49 million extension to stay in San Jose last month.
In addition to the first buyout window closing and the free-agent window closing, the NHL will officially set the salary cap’s upper and lower limits for next season.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final last month that the ceiling will rise to between $78 million and $82 million. The Sharks will have between $10.5 million and $14.5 million in salary cap space at minimum, and at least $2.83 million more if Martin is ultimately bought out.
Free agency officially begins. RFAs and UFAs can sign contracts starting at 9 a.m. PT.
This is also the day that players entering the final year of their contracts, such as Sharks forwards Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, can first sign contract extensions. San Jose signed defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (eight years, $64 million) and goaltender Martin Jones (six years, $34.5 million) to extensions on this date last year.
If they choose to file for salary arbitration, DeMelo, Hertl, Tierney, and other eligible RFAs must file by 2 p.m. PT.
At 2:01, teams can first file for arbitration with RFAs if the player has not accepted a qualifying offer and the team’s made an offer that’s equal or richer than the player’s annual average value (AAV) last season.
The Sharks host their annual prospect scrimmage at SAP Center at 7 p.m. Dylan Gambrell, 2018 AHL All-Star Rudolfs Balcers, 2017 draft picks Josh Norris (first round) and Mario Ferraro (second round) are among the players expected to participate, according to the team.
The deadline for teams to file for arbitration is at 2 p.m. PT on this day.
Qualifying offers to RFAs expire automatically at 2 p.m. PT.
July 20-August 4
Arbitration hearings between RFAs and teams are held during this period. The two parties can agree to a deal at any point before the hearing, but must agree to a one-or-two-year deal at the awarded salary, but the party that didn’t file for arbitration decides on the term.
Beginning three days after a team’s last salary arbitration award or settlement, they will have an additional 48-hour buyout window.