Sharks

Sharks' Game 7 win joins greatest comebacks in Bay Area sports history

Sharks' Game 7 win joins greatest comebacks in Bay Area sports history

Make no mistake: The Sharks' 5-4 overtime win in Game 7 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights was their greatest comeback in franchise history. 

They've been to the Stanley Cup Final, but perhaps no other game compares to this one. After being down 3-0 with slightly over 10 minutes left in the third period, the Sharks rallied to score four goals in the final period of regulation. 

Then Barclay Goodrow made sure he never pays for a drink again in the Bay Area. The winger's game-winner in overtime capped off the comeback and had The Tank rocking

Here's a look at the greatest comeback for each team in the Bay. 

CLICK TO SEE EACH BAY AREA TEAM'S BEST COMEBACK

Sharks free-agency decisions: Will star winger Timo Meier stay or go?

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AP

Sharks free-agency decisions: Will star winger Timo Meier stay or go?

One could argue the 2018-19 season was when Sharks winger Timo Meier "arrived."

The 22-year-old honed his skills as a power forward this past campaign, cementing himself as a staple in the Sharks lineup. His 30-goal regular season was tied with Evander Kane for third-best on the team, and his 15 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs tied for third-best with Tomas Hertl.

Now, Meier is primed to headline a stacked restricted free-agent class generating plenty of buzz this offseason. He also is one of a handful of young Sharks who can become an RFA this summer 

Here's a look at why Meier could stay in San Jose for a long time -- and why he potentially could be on the move.

Why he could stay

There's no secret here. Signing Meier is one of the Sharks' top priorities this offseason. 

Mix Meier's upward in-season progress with the amount of responsibility he has already taken on as a young player, and you have a player any team would want on their roster. The Swiss product has also demonstrated a strong work ethic and drive to continue building his game, as he said on locker-room cleanout day at the end of May that he still has room to improve. 

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said that same day that he had already had a few discussions with Meier's agent. Although the nature of those talks have remained private, Wilson did reference that many of the team's young stars in the past have been signed to bridge deals, which carry a smaller salary-cap hit over a shorter term as a "bridge" to a bigger contract down the line. Tomas Hertl, for instance signed a two-year, $6 million contract as an RFA in 2016 before signing a five-year, $22.5 million contract last summer. 

With that knowledge in mind, the Sharks likely want to reach a similar deal with Meier before the end of the summer.

Why he could go

Before everyone starts freaking out too much -- yes, it's likely that Meier and the Sharks will reach a deal. But San Jose's lack of cap space makes things a little more complicated, and the possibility of an offer sheet can't be ignored. 

A player of Meier's caliber will demand a healthy payday, and the Sharks have just under $14.5 million in salary-cap space according to CapFriendly. If San Jose can't move more pieces around and get some relief under the cap, signing Meier to a second contract that isn't a bridge deal will be difficult.

The Sharks undoubtedly want to avoid what the Toronto Maple Leafs experienced with William Nylander last season. The young forward didn't re-sign until Dec. 1, and struggled to find his goal-scoring touch in 54 regular-season games. 

With conversations underway, there's hope that nothing close to the Nylander situation will take place. An offer sheet doesn't seem realistic either, considering a player has not signed one since 2013. 

[RELATED: Donskoi reportedly receiving 'strong interest' in free agency]

The verdict

The Sharks are going to get a deal done with Meier. Given San Jose's history of signing young players, there's every reason to believe the two sides will find common ground before training camp begins in September.

That, however, could require the Sharks clearing additional salary-cap space to make an offer Meier will accept. It might take a little time and debate before both sides are happy.

By the end of the offseason, however, conversations surrounding Meier should go back to what he can do for the Sharks in the upcoming season rather than his contract. 

NHL rumors: Joonas Donskoi receiving 'strong interest' in free agency

NHL rumors: Joonas Donskoi receiving 'strong interest' in free agency

Erik Karlsson has re-signed. Joe Thornton has conveyed he'll do the same. Patrick Marleau wants to return. Joe Pavelski is considering external options. Oh, and then there's Joonas Donskoi.

The NHL free agency period hasn't even begun yet, and already it's felt like an entire offseason's worth of headlines for the Sharks. With so many high-profile players potentially playing elsewhere next season, it seems as if every league rumor has in some way been related back to San Jose.

Donskoi, obviously, is no different.

After re-signing Karlsson, the Sharks have even less financial wiggle room than they did entering the offseason. If they're going to find a way to retain major contributors like Pavelski and restricted free agent Timo Meier, some tough decisions will have to be made.

In Donskoi's case, it appears like he'll be a casualty of San Jose's salary-cap reality.

While Donskoi tied a career high with 14 goals last season, he struggled with consistency and finished the regular season on a 34-game scoreless drought. He scored the deciding goal in the Sharks' series-clinching Game 7 win over the Avalanche in the second round of the playoffs, but he was in and out of the lineup throughout the postseason.

[RELATED: Sharks won't be thrilled with 2019-20 NHL salary-cap figure]

As a player who has shown a knack for the clutch goal, it's no wonder why Donskoi would be appealing for teams with playoff aspirations. The 26-year-old has had some big moments for the Sharks in the past, but they have some bigger fish to fry at the moment.