The San Jose Sharks are off to a wretched start to the 2022-23 season, and rumor has it general manager (GM) Mike Grier is open to listening to offers on just about anyone on their roster. The Detroit Red Wings need to inquire about a couple of Sharks’ depth forwards.
The Sharks find themselves in ‘salary cap hell’ due to a massive amount of money tied up in a plethora of aging veteran players. The Sharks currently have a Ken Holland-like feel to them. The organization is seeing a reemergence of star defenseman Erik Karlsson, but the 32-year-old defender comes with a cap hit of $11.5 million until the conclusion of the 2026-27 season.
The Sharks also may find it challenging to find a trade partner for captain Logan Couture, 33, who is owed $8 million per season for four more years following this year. Thomas Hertl, 29, is due $8.1 million until 2030, and I’ve saved the worst for last. Veteran defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, 35, carries a cap hit of $7 million until the summer of 2026. Now, if these deals don’t feel Holland-like to you yet, they will. Each agreement contains a no-movement clause built in. Couture’s contract includes a ‘modified’ no-movement clause; the other three possess a full no-movement arrangement.
On average, that is $34.6 million of the $82.5 million tied up in four players, three of which are well into their 30s and one nearly there. Oh, and 26-year-old Timo Meier is a pending restricted free agent currently making $6 million; he will undoubtedly be looking to join the $8 million club this summer, and as it stands, the Sharks don’t have the funds.
The Sharks can certainly create the funds but then have to navigate a way to field the remainder of their roster unless they blow the whole roster up and start over. Something needs to give. The Sharks will certainly be looking to move some salary but will also need to eat some to maximize their return. Meier will be San Jose’s biggest trade chip if, and it’s a big if, they decide to trade him. Although he’d be a perfect replacement for Tyler Bertuzzi in Detroit’s top six, I don’t expect Yzerman to give up the young and proven assets the Sharks will command for Meier’s services.
Two San Jose Sharks forwards the Detroit Red Wings need to inquire about.
The Detroit Red Wings have the cap space to add a high-priced player but also need to be cautious with captain Dylan Larkin needing a contract extension. Plus, Yzerman is surely mindful of the future, balancing the budget for a Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider extension. It wouldn’t make sense to add an aging veteran with a high average annual value at the moment. Still, San Jose does have a few players the Detroit Red Wings need to be interested in acquiring if the possibility arises.
Detroit also has a few players with expiring deals that could be upgraded. Pius Suter, Adam Erne, and Oskar Sundqvist are all also pending UFAs. In addition to Bertuzzi, the Red Wings will get Robby Fabbri back sometime in January, which will feel like a midseason addition, but Yzerman is one to always exhaust all his options to better the roster now and for the future.