NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Tomas Hertl could be game-changer if moved
The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET. As we get closer to the deadline we will take a look at some individual players who could be on the move. We continue today with San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl.
The most intriguing situation as we approach the trade deadline might be Tomas Hertl and the San Jose Sharks.
San Jose is rapidly falling out of playoff contention in the Western Conference, almost certainly making them sellers. Hertl is in the final year of his contract, is a top-line player, and would be one of the biggest names available on the market and almost certainly the most significant rental. If he gets moved, he could be a game-changer for a Stanley Cup contender and make a major impact in the middle of any lineup.
That is if he gets moved.
The Sharks have said all of the right things about wanting to re-sign him, Hertl has expressed a desire to remain in San Jose, and the team is reportedly set to make an offer in the very near future. Whether the Sharks make the playoffs this season or not there is still very good reason for them to want to re-sign him. He is still only 28 years old, should have several high level years ahead of him, and he has been one of their best players for the past four years.
The question is whether or not Hertl gets a deal he likes from the Sharks, and if he sees an opportunity to win there in the coming seasons.
What the return might look like
If the Sharks decided to move him they would get a fairly significant return, even as a rental. Think first-round pick and a fairly good prospect, or a top prospect and a second-round pick.
A couple of years ago Ottawa traded Mark Stone for Erik Brannstrom (a top prospect in Vegas and a recent first-round pick), Oscar Lindberg, and a second-round pick. The Senators also traded Matt Duchene as a pending free agent for a first-round pick, a conditional first-round pick (dependent on Duchene re-signing in Columbus; he did not) and two mid-level prospects. Taylor Hall as a pending free agent was traded by New Jersey to Arizona for a first-round pick, a conditional third-round pick, and three players. A year ago, in the middle of a really down year in Buffalo, he was traded for a second-round pick and Anders Bjork. Hertl is having a significantly better season and would command much more.
Those are just some examples of comparable trades in recent years. The Sharks would probably expect something along those lines.
The most logical landing spots
• Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild Re-signing in San Jose
Re-signing with the Sharks is a very real possibility, and one that should not be discounted. It could easily happen. But in the event that it does not happen, the Bruins and Rangers are two teams to keep an eye on.
Boston has a definite need for a second-line center to play behind the Bergeron line, and the Rangers simply have a need for more scoring depth. Zibanejad, Hertl, Strome down the middle would absolutely make them a formidable opponent.
The Wild would be intriguing because they are one of the best teams in the league but are facing the very real possibility of a second-round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche to get through the Second Round. Another impact player at center could really help, as well as some extra offense.
Wild Card team: St. Louis Blues
If the Blues are going to make a major move they could probably use an upgrade on defense, or maybe some added security in net. But like the Wild, if they are going to make a deep run they are going to have a pretty daunting challenge in the Central Division with both Minnesota and Colorado looming. Ryan O’Reilly is a great top line center, but dropping Hertl onto the second line would make an already potent offense that much better.
Spot I want to see just for fun: Colorado
This is completely nonsensical, but I just like the idea of a powerhouse team going over the top and just trying to push all of its chips to the center of the table and going all in for a championship. Imagine a lineup with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, and Hertl at forward and Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Sam Girard on defense.
NHL Trade Deadline prediction
This is probably the “boring” result for fans outside of San Jose, but I am going to say Hertl and the Sharks get a deal done before the deadline and he stays right where he is. The Sharks are going to have to sell him on the fact they can still win in the short-term (I am not sure they will win in the short-term, but that is a different discussion for a different day) but there should be enough mutual interest to make it work long-term on a $7-9 million per year contract, which would be a fairly significant raise over his current contract that carries a $5.65 million salary cap number. They can make it work.