The San Jose Sharks had to cast off a number of forwards this offseason after they inked star defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92MM contract three weeks ago. The team let Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi off and there continue to be rumors that they may have to trade off Melker Karlsson later on this summer to free up more cap room.
Of course, San Jose is expected to re-sign Joe Thornton and are likely to also bring back Patrick Marleau. Yet, despite those signings, there are likely going to be some holes in their lineup. In fact, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz (subscription required) writes that there could be a major change in the top-six. The scribe writes that San Jose might look to its prospect depth to fill one of the wing positions on the second line this season as Sasha Chmelevski and Ivan Chekovich could be the beneficiaries of that job.
Chmelevski, a sixth-round gem found in the 2017 draft, has scored 70 goals and 151 points in the past two seasons with the Ottawa 67s of the OHL. Chekovich, a seventh-round stud picked up in the 2017 draft as well, scored 43 goals and 105 points last season in the QMJHL, but also gotten some time in the AHL with three goals and seven points in nine AHL games. Kurz writes that the only way they would make the team is if one of them played on the second line. A spot on the bottom-six would make less sense, however, as they could get valuable minutes with the San Jose Barracuda instead.
- The Vancouver Canucks have been quite active this offseason and have added quite a bit of depth to their team. However, Patrick Johnson of the Vancouver Sun writes that the team will have a significant roster jam at the forward position this fall. The team currently has 13 healthy forwards under NHL deals and still have to sign Nikolay Goldobin and Brock Boeser to deals. Throw in the injured Antoine Roussel, the team has a lot of forwards with only 12 spots. That could put the spot of Adam Gaudette, who many people feel deserves a spot as the team’s third-line center, in jeopardy as the 22-year-old is the only player on the team (minus Elias Pettersson and Boeser) who can be sent down without having to pass through waivers. Unless Gaudette can have a dominant camp and beat out some of the others like Brandon Sutter, he could find himself starting the year off in Utica of the AHL.
- The two-year deal that winger Marcus Johansson signed Saturday with the Buffalo Sabres includes a modified no-trade clause, according to CapFriendly. Johansson has the ability to provide Buffalo with a list of 10 teams he cannot be traded to during both his seasons. That’s an improvement on his previous deal where for the past two years he could submit five teams he couldn’t be traded to.