NHL rumors: Joonas Donskoi receiving 'strong interest' in free agency

Brian Witt
NBC Sports BayArea

NHL rumors: Joonas Donskoi receiving 'strong interest' in free agency originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

Erik Karlsson has re-signed. Joe Thornton has conveyed he'll do the same. Patrick Marleau wants to return. Joe Pavelski is considering external options. Oh, and then there's Joonas Donskoi.

The NHL free agency period hasn't even begun yet, and already it's felt like an entire offseason's worth of headlines for the Sharks. With so many high-profile players potentially playing elsewhere next season, it seems as if every league rumor has in some way been related back to San Jose.

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Donskoi, obviously, is no different.

After re-signing Karlsson, the Sharks have even less financial wiggle room than they did entering the offseason. If they're going to find a way to retain major contributors like Pavelski and restricted free agent Timo Meier, some tough decisions will have to be made.

In Donskoi's case, it appears like he'll be a casualty of San Jose's salary-cap reality.

While Donskoi tied a career high with 14 goals last season, he struggled with consistency and finished the regular season on a 34-game scoreless drought. He scored the deciding goal in the Sharks' series-clinching Game 7 win over the Avalanche in the second round of the playoffs, but he was in and out of the lineup throughout the postseason.

[RELATED: Sharks won't be thrilled with 2019-20 NHL salary-cap figure]

As a player who has shown a knack for the clutch goal, it's no wonder why Donskoi would be appealing for teams with playoff aspirations. The 26-year-old has had some big moments for the Sharks in the past, but they have some bigger fish to fry at the moment.

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