The Sharks will see the newest member of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Forward Matt Duchene, who the Blue Jackets acquired from the Ottawa Senators on Friday for a package centered on two prospects and two first-round picks, will suit up against San Jose on Saturday.
Beyond the immediate implications for their next game, the Blue Jackets trading for Duchene has trade-deadline ramifications for the Sharks -- both good and bad.
The good news for San Jose is that Duchene won't join a contender in the Western Conference.The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets were among the teams linked to Duchene in the lead-up to the deadline. Friday's trade takes one of the best available forwards off the market, meaning those teams -- as well as the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights -- will have to look elsewhere for help up front.
There are still plenty of top-flight forwards available. Duchene's now-former Senators teammate Mark Stone and current Blue Jackets teammate Artemi Panarin come to mind. Beyond them, players like Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds and New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello would figure to make up the next tier of forwards for contenders looking for help at the deadline.
That's where the downside of Duchene's trade comes in for the Sharks, as the timing of the deal could price San Jose out of making an acquisition.
As Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman noted earlier this week, the Sharks' lack of a first-round pick in the next two drafts "[limits] what they can do" at the deadline. Friedman figured trade values for players like Simmonds and Zuccarello would drop the longer Duchene, Panarin, and Stone were still on the market, and that would benefit Sharks general manager Doug Wilson as he reportedly looks to add a winger.
Now, Duchene has a new home and Panarin might not even be on the move. The Blue Jackets reportedly are happy to hang on to the Russian winger in their playoff push, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.
Those notions already seem to be affecting team's asking prices. The Rangers are looking for "high picks or a high pick and a prospect" for Zuccarello, TSN's Darren Dreger reported on Friday.
The Sharks still have second-round picks in each of the next two drafts, but only 10 total selections in 2020 and 2021. Friedman reported on Tuesday that they're telling teams forward prospect Sasha Chmelevski isn't availabe, and defenseman Ryan Merkley is the only former first-rounder in San Jose's system after Josh Norris was included in the Erik Karlsson trade.
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In other words, San Jose probably wouldn't be able to win any bidding wars ahead of the deadline, and Duchene's trade makes the prospect of one more likely.
That's not necessarily a bad thin for the Sharks. They will enter Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets no more than three points back of the Flames for first place in the Pacific Division and the conference.
But, the Sharks' rivals are still trying to improve, and matching any potential moves might've just gotten more difficult.