Alexander Barabanov has been one of the most valuable and cost-efficient players on the San Jose Sharks over the past two seasons. He broke out to the tune of 39 points in 70 games in 2021-22, and then followed that up with 15 goals and 47 points in 68 games last season. Set to turn 30 in the summer, Barabanov is entering a platform year for a potential trip to unrestricted free agency. When asked about the possibility of extending Barabanov as well as summer trade addition Anthony Duclair, San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier told the media (including Bay Area News Group’s Curtis Pashelka) that “there’s definitely some merit to thinking about extending those guys and having them around here.”
One could question why the Sharks would be interested in extending Barabanov and Duclair, players who will be 30 and 29 in the summer, respectively, and those questions would be reasonable. Committing cap dollars to wingers at or near their 30’s is the kind of move contending teams make, not rebuilders. But despite trading away Norris Trophy Winner Erik Karlsson, the Sharks aren’t yet plunged into a full rebuilding process. The twin pillars of the franchise remain Logan Couture and Tomáš Hertl, and Grier may be interested in fielding as competitive a roster as possible while those players are still in teal.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald told the media today, including team reporter Amanda Stein, that the club is “working towards extending” head coach Lindy Ruff “beyond this year.” Ruff, 63, had a season for the ages in 2022-23, and very well could have taken home the second Jack Adams award of his career had Jim Montgomery not led the Boston Bruins to a historic 65 regular-season wins. Ruff’s Devils went 52-22-8 and defeated their arch-rival New York Rangers in the postseason, so it’s easy to see why Fitzgerald would want to keep the veteran coach moving forward.
- The Florida Panthers announced changes to their hockey operations department, and the biggest-name addition to the team’s front office is that of Patric Hornqvist as a scouting and development consultant. Hornqvist recently officially retired, ending a playing career that saw him appear in 901 regular-season NHL games. The 36-year-old was a widely respected leader and locker room presence for the Panthers, and will now be able to contribute his services to the organization off the ice.