The San Jose Sharks fell just a bit short of winning their first ever Stanley Cup title as they lost the championship series in six games to Pittsburgh. It was still their most successful postseason in their 25 year franchise history as they made it to the final for the first time.
With less than three weeks until the beginning of free agency, GM Doug Wilson will have to put together his offseason plan in a hurry. One area that won’t need to be looked at is the coaching staff as Wilson confirmed today that all coaches would return next season. Here is a closer look at their free agent outlook.
Key Restricted Free Agent: W Tomas Hertl – Hertl had the best year of his NHL career in 2015-16, picking up 21 goals and 25 assists in 81 regular season games while adding six goals and five helpers in 20 postseason contests before missing most of the Stanley Cup Final with a right knee injury (that will not require surgery). He is coming off his entry-level contract which saw him earn $925,000 per year plus another potential $425,000 per season in bonuses. Wilson will have to decide whether or not to lock Hertl up long-term or to pursue a short-term bridge contract instead.
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: The Sharks acquired D Roman Polak and G James Reimer in separate deals from Toronto in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Polak played a regular role down the stretch and in the postseason, bringing some physicality and shot blocking to the table on the third pairing. Reimer, meanwhile, provided more reliable insurance in goal behind starter Martin Jones and gave them someone capable of taking over should Jones get hurt or struggle. San Jose has already added youngster Mantis Armalis this offseason but may still prefer a veteran behind the 26 year old Jones.
Other NHL UFA’s: C Nick Spaling, D Matt Tennyson, W Dainius Zubrus
Cap Space: Just over $10.5 million, according to Cap Friendly (estimates based on the 2015-16 salary cap). San Jose must add at least three more forwards and one more goaltender to meet the NHL’s roster minimums.