With the trade deadline approaching, we will be profiling several players in the weeks ahead that have a good chance to be dealt by February 26th.
The San Jose Sharks find themselves in tough position when it comes to their backup goaltender Aaron Dell. The 28-year-old has only been in the league for two years, but has had quite a bit of success, especially this year. With the struggles of starter Martin Jones, Dell has had to take on bigger resposibities and, at times, has outplayed the veteran. Now, with the trade deadline three weeks away, the team must decide what it plans to do with the netminder.
Dell is in the final year of a two-year, $1.225MM contract he signed with the Sharks in July of 2016. His AAV is $625K.
Dell was brought in two years ago as the backup to Jones and has thrived in that role. However, since December Jones has struggled, which has forced Dell into a larger role this year and he has done quite a good job filling in more often for Jones, often being the preferred starter over Jones. His numbers have been impressive, but more importantly, he has led the team to a 12-4-3 record this year.
His name has come up in trade rumors and the Sharks aren’t likely going to be able to keep the backup next year as Dell may look to seek a starting role or an opportunity to split time evenly with another goalie. On top of that, Dell should receive a significant pay raise from the $625K he is currently making.
22 GP, 12-4-3 record, 2.51 GAA, .917 SV%, 2 SO
Dell’s potential suitors aren’t going to be much different than any goaltender on the market whether it be Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard or Robin Lehner. The New York Islanders are likely looking for a goaltender, while another legitimate possibility could be the Ottawa Senators, who are struggling at that position and might want a fresh face to compete for playing time with one of their veterans. A third option could just be a trade to a elite team like the Pittsburgh Penguins or Tampa Bay Lightning who might want a more dependable backup for the playoff run.
Likelihood of Trade
A weeks ago, it seemed extremely unlikely the Sharks might move Dell as he was the team’s best goaltender. However, Jones seems to have recovered from his struggles as he has played better in his last two games and looks to have coach Peter DeBoer’s confidence again. Dell, on the other hand, hasn’t been on the ice once since the break, suggesting the team wants to make sure that Jones can handle the load if they move Dell. While San Jose is in second place in the Pacific Division, they have a number of teams right behind them and the team might be fighting to make sure they reach the playoffs as opposed to thinking about winning a Stanley Cup this season.
With the team attempting to re-tool as their veterans like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski are aging, the team might want to pick up an asset for Dell before they lose him. The team can ensure they get a veteran back in a deal to fill Dell’s shoes for the remainder of the season.