Doug Wilson

Sharks' Doug Wilson stays quiet on Bob Boughner's status as head coach

Sharks' Doug Wilson stays quiet on Bob Boughner's status as head coach

Sometimes no news is the news.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported Thursday that Rocky Thompson, who had been the head coach of the AHL's Chicago Wolves for the past three seasons, was accepting a position with the Sharks. Included in Dreger's report was the information that interim head coach Bob Boughner had signed an extension to become the permanent head coach in San Jose.

But some local reporting seemed to contradict Dreger's report that Sharks general manager Doug Wilson already had made up his mind on the team's head coaching vacancy.

[RELATED: How Sharks' previous trades, signings would be affected by new NHL CBA]

Boughner took over the helm in December after Peter DeBoer was fired midway through his fifth season with the organization. DeBoer had led the Sharks to the playoffs in each of the past four years, but San Jose got off to a woeful start in 2019-20, going just 15-16-2 before DeBoer's dismissal.

Boughner wasn't able to pull the Sharks out of the bottom of the Pacific Division standings, but San Jose showed some positive signs prior to the NHL's season pausing on Mar. 12.

Wilson could keep things simple and just retain Boughner as the head coach going forward, but the GM understandably doesn't want to leave any stone left unturned in the search process.

Why Timo Meier's Sharks contract extension looks shrewd in new CBA

Why Timo Meier's Sharks contract extension looks shrewd in new CBA

Qualifying offers to restricted free agents are one of many things that will change in the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement, and fewer players will be able to follow Timo Meier's path.

The Sharks winger signed a four-year, $24 million contract last summer, setting himself up with some hefty insurance in case he and San Jose don't agree to a long-term deal when this one expires. Since Meier will make $10 million in base salary during the last year of his deal, the Sharks must sign him to a qualifying offer equal to that amount in order to retain his rights. Thus, $10 million will be the baseline for potential salary arbitration and Meier can just play on said qualifying offer if he wants to get to unrestricted free agency sooner and/or San Jose is unable to sign him to a long-term extension.

Meier was able to do so under the previous CBA, which ensured a qualifying offer to a restricted free agent automatically equaled their salary in the final year of their previous contract. That won't be the case now, as Pro Hockey Rumors' Gavin Lee noted last week.

"Instead, it will be the lower of the salary in the final year or 120 percent of the [annual average value] of the contract," Lee wrote last week. " ...
This change only applies to contracts signed from here on out, meaning Meier [and others] will still receive qualifying offers equal to their final contracted year."

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Were the new rules to apply to Meier's current contract, the Sharks' qualifying offer to the Swiss forward would be $7.2 million. That's still a hefty chunk of change, but $2.8 million fewer than what Meier's qualifying offer will be. That $2.8 million could make a big difference in San Jose's future cap calculations, since the NHL's salary cap will only rise if the league hits certain revenue targets. The coronavirus pandemic and its to-be-determined effects have made that anything but certain.

The Sharks already have $55.5 million in salary commitments lined up for the summer of 2023, but that number could drop depending upon what happens in the expansion draft. As it stands right now, San Jose has $65.5 million committed to eight players ahead of the 2023-24 season if Meier plays on his qualifying offer. That's without including Tomas Hertl, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

[RELATED: How new NHL CBA would affect Kane trade, Karlsson contract]

Neither Meier nor Sharks general manager Doug Wilson could've foreseen a pandemic affecting league revenues (and thus the salary cap's rise) when the contract was signed a year ago, yet Meier looks especially shrewd now for having the security of a $10 million qualifying offer to fall back upon in 2023. San Jose, on the other hand, won't be able to bank on a rising salary cap in the same way, and that $10 million figure should factor into Wilson's decision-making moving forward.

It's a wrinkle that only players signed before the new CBA will have to contend with, but it's a very important one for Meier and the Sharks.

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

The Sharks could be operating under a new NHL collective bargaining agreement soon, and it might have quite an impact on the franchise's future.

The NHL and the NHL Players Association are nearing an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding for a new six-year labor deal that includes guidelines for the return of the 2019-20 season, TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Saturday.

The MOU must be ratified by both sides before it becomes official, but the potential deal includes some notes that surely will affect the Sharks this offseason.

For starters, it appears the league's salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million, and remain there until the NHL's hockey-related revenue gets back to $4.8 billion, which was the initial projection for this season before the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of operations on March 12.

[RELATED: NHL expansion draft: Who Sharks might be forced to leave unprotected]

San Jose ended the season with around $648,000 (per CapFriendly.com) in available space, and with contracts expiring for players such as Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Aaron Dell, a frozen salary cap could make re-signing those the team wants to bring back difficult.

Seravalli also noted that minimum contracts will rise $50,000 for next season, increasing to $750,000. It will stay there for four years, before rising to $775,000 in 2024-25, and $800,000 in 2025-26. So, young Sharks players such as Dylan Gambrell and Stefan Noesen, who played on minimum contracts, now are in line for raises of at least $50,000 going into next season.

The Sharks will look to turn things around entering the first full season of this potential new CBA, as they just finished last in the Pacific Division with just 63 points. But it appears the new labor deal might complicate San Jose's plan in some aspects.