Sharks trade F Tommy Wingels to SenatorsSan Jose Sharks' Tommy Wingels (57) vies lunges for the puck next to Winnipeg Jets' Paul Postma, center, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Wingels had been a key contributor to the Sharks over the years but his role had diminished this season with the emergence of rookies like Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier and Ryan Carpenter, who have made the case for more consistent playing time.
''These young players are knocking on the door and ready to play and ready to make a difference,'' general manager Doug Wilson said. ''We're very fortunate to have those players that have already come up and there are some more of them who are also ready and will probably get an opportunity in the near future also.''
The Sharks also expect to get forward Tomas Hertl back from an injury very soon, leaving little opportunity for Wingels to crack the lineup.
Wingels has five goals and three assists in 37 games this season, playing mostly on the fourth line. Wingels' most productive seasons came in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He had careers highs with 16 goals and 22 assists in 2013-14 and 15 goals and 21 assists the following season, before his production dropped off the past two seasons.
Wilson said he had been working with Wingels' agent for a while to try to find a place where he would have a better chance to play.
''When you have a player who has done everything that Tommy has done for this organization, if there's not going to be a fit you want to explore the opportunity that works for everybody,'' Wilson said. ''That's how this really came together.''
The deal made Tuesday helps clear up salary cap room for the Sharks if they want to make an addition before the trade deadline. Wingels is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.475 million this season. San Jose will retain 30 percent of Wingels' remaining salary.
The Sharks entered the day with 62 points, one behind Pacific Division-leading Anaheim. San Jose has two games in hand on the Ducks.
The Sharks acquired Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, who will report to the team's AHL affiliate.
The 25-year-old Robinson had seven goals and five assists in 33 games for Binghamton of the AHL. He has one goal and one assist in seven career NHL games.
The 31-year-old Stortini has two goals and one assist in 22 games with Binghamton. He has appeared in 257 career NHL games with Edmonton and Nashville, posting 14 goals and 27 assists.