San Jose Sharks (96 points, 2nd in Pacific Division, 7th in Western Conference)
Needs: A seventh defenseman, championship experience
Wants: Veteran leadership, a checking forward
Means: $11.1 million in cap space with 15 players already signed
Targets: Unlike the other four teams in the Pacific, San Jose is almost certainly going to feel the squeeze of the salary cap. With 15 players under contract and $11 million in expected cap space, GM Doug Wilson will have to get creative to fill holes -- but the good news is there aren't very many to fill. The defense corps already has its big-ticket items under long-term deals (Dan Boyle and Brent Burns), and any lingering issues with the blueliners seem to have been addressed when the Sharks acquired Brad Stuart's negotiating rights from Detroit this month, and then signed him to a three-year contract. That would seem to mean Jim Vandermeer and Colin White aren't likely to come back, so San Jose will need to add a seventh D-man on the cheap, which may have been taken care of Tuesday when the team re-signed Justin Braun, who showed this past season he can handle a large workload, playing in 66 games.
Up front it's the same old story with an offensively potent group that hasn't managed to carry San Jose to the promised land come April and May. Arguments that the Sharks have been unsuccessful might be misguided -- after all, they reached the Western Conference Finals in two of the past three seasons. But it would be a good idea for San Jose to add someone who can contribute to the offense at a less-intrusive salary while also bringing the intangibles of championship experience. Jamie Langenbrunner could provide the Sharks with what they're missing; he's been a team captain for several seasons, won two Stanley Cups, and brought guidance and leadership to a young team in St. Louis this past season. Langenbrunner also could give the Sharks help in shutting down other teams' top lines as someone who consistently plays on the penalty kill. Steve Sullivan or Mike Knuble also could add veteran experience and two-way versatility to the Sharks lineup.
Considering the Sharks already have Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture on the roster, offense shouldn't be a problem, especially if Martin Havlat can stay healthy. The team will have little wiggle room financially unless it chooses to trade a major piece to shake up the roster, such as Marleau, who earns $6.9 million per season and whose rumored position on the trading block is an annual rite of summer. All of that seems to point to low-cost veteran additions up front as the Sharks look to finally break through and reach the Stanley Cup Final.
12 years brings crosby to 36 years old. Unlike kovalchuks deal which brought him to 42 or 43 years old (if not older).
People need to realize it wasnt that kovys contract was a cap circumventing deal, it was the fact it basically went over the normal age for star players to retire at, and would of made kovy play something like 25 nhl seasons (has happened what 3 times in nhl history?)