San Jose Sharks GM targets ‘mystery goalies’ for trade

San Jose Sharks GM targets ‘mystery goalies’ for trade

SUNRISE, Fla. – There are goaltenders that are mentioned in the media by name as potential trade targets, like Cam Talbot and Robin Lehner, who both moved during the NHL Draft to Edmonton and Buffalo respectively.

Then there are other goalies. Ones whose names aren’t in the rumor mill. Ones that general managers mull over in conversations, but whose availability isn’t always advertised.

“As we look at it, there are more goalies than teams,” said San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson. “And there are more people available in discussions than you guys hear about.”

Mystery goalies!

“There are teams that are looking to do things for cap reasons or whatever, we’re in all those conversations,” he said.

The Sharks are looking for a netminder for next season, having traded the rights to pending free agent Antti Niemi to the Dallas Stars during the draft. “Dallas approached me, asked for his rights for a couple of days,” said Wilson. “On July 1, he’s a completely unrestricted free agent again.”

Wait, so could Niemi actually return to the Sharks?

“You don’t rule out any options,” said Wilson.

Mystery goalies!

The Sharks have at least one goalie they’re high on: Alex Stalock, 27, who has been gestating in the San Jose system for six years. He played 24 games in 2013-14 and 22 games in 2014-15. Wilson believes he can be a viable part of the Sharks’ goaltending solution.

“Alex Stalock, two years ago, had an outstanding year. This year he had a knee injury and didn’t play all that much after that,” said Wilson.

Even when the Sharks bring in a goalie from outside the organization, Wilson said they need to viable ones to win in this league.

“I believe that you have to have two. Which is why seeing Alex Stalock play more games us really important,” he said.

So the Sharks will press ahead with plans to trade for a goalie -- or sign one, although that less likely -- but the plans don’t end there: The Sharks are after a big-minutes defenseman to add to their blue line. They’ve been linked to the Vancouver Canucks and defenseman Kevin Bieksa this week.

“We had a lot of discussions,” said Wilson on a trade for a defenseman. “Some of them were pretty close to the finish line.”

Instead, the Sharks sat back and watched the Los Angeles Kings acquire Milan Lucic, the Anaheim Ducks acquire Carl Hagelin, the Calgary Flames acquire Dougie Hamilton and the Edmonton Oilers bring on some kid named Connor McDavid along with goalie Cam Talbot.

The arms race in the Pacific is ongoing, but Wilson said he doesn’t believe the Sharks are falling behind.

“We haven’t even started playing games yet. Every team makes additions and subtractions. Last time I looked, it was still June,” he said.

“We move to the next phase. We have lots of assets. Lots of cap space. Lots of time.”