The 2019-20 season didn’t work out ideally for the Sharks. After coming just a few games short of a berth in the Stanley Cup Final the previous postseason, the Sharks finished at the bottom of the Pacific Division standings, and missed out on the NHL’s playoff bubble.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the NHL’s season, the salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million for the 2020-21 season, instead of the typical gradual increases mandated in the league’s collective bargaining agreement. With many teams expecting revenue losses as a result of lost games and not having spectators at any of this year’s playoff games, some organizations might be less willing to spend their entire cap allotment.
But in speaking to the media this week, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson explained that San Jose won’t be limiting spending this offseason.
“We’re very fortunate that we have an owner that allows us to do that,” Wilson said. “It’s not just on the hockey team, building rinks, taking care of our Barracuda team, the importance of developing your young players, having an environment that does that. So it also gives us an ability to do that.
“Going to the cap is something we have the green light to do.”
Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Aaron Dell are among the players with contracts expiring this offseason. Thornton is a franchise icon and is the most likely to return, especially since he probably would be willing to take a team-friendly deal in his age-41 season.
With Bob Boughner officially taking over as the Sharks’ head coach, Wilson will be expected to put a competitive team on the ice after missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
San Jose should be aggressive both in retaining most of the team's potential free agents, but also going out and finding some players on valuable contracts who can contribute right away.