The Sharks might not need to do all that much before the NHL's trade deadline on Feb. 25.
They entered Wednesday in a tie atop the Western Conference after winning six in a row, and 13 of 16 since Jan. 1. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is back in the lineup, and All-Star blue liner Erik Karlsson is also close to returning. Plus, San Jose has more scoring depth than just about anyone else this season, as statistician Darin Stephens noted on Monday.
— Darin Stephens (@SharksStats) February 12, 2019
There are still just under two weeks until the deadline, but satisfaction with that depth reportedly is a recipe for the Sharks to steer clear of the trade market's bigger names. San Jose general manager Doug Wilson will "look at" adding "a medium piece," The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported on Monday.
"[The] futures [Wilson] gave up for Evander Kane a year ago plus Karlsson before this season this time around at the deadline for San Jose," LeBrun wrote.
The Sharks are currently without a first-round pick in the next two NHL drafts as a result of those trades, and won't have one in 2021 either if they make the Stanley Cup Final and Karlsson is re-signed. San Jose also gave up two of its top forward prospects (Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers) in the Karlsson trade.
Plus, there's the matter of salary-cap space. The Sharks are projected to have just over $5.3 million in cap space at the deadline, according CapFriendly. They're projected to have less space than the Calgary Flames (almost $7 million), Vegas Golden Knights (nearly $16.5 million), Winnipeg Jets (nearly $27.5 million) and Nashville Predators (just over $29 million) when the deadline rolls around, meaning they can't take on as much salary as their peers at the top of the West without sending out contracts the other way.
San Jose is also facing a summer where Karlsson and captain Joe Pavelski will become unrestricted free agents, and promising winger Timo Meier hits restricted free agency. Cap space will be at a premium, as will the ability to integrate prospects with manageable cap hits.
Still, Wilson historically hasn't been one to sit on the sidelines around the deadline, especially when his team is contending. But barring a swoon down the stretch, he likely won't have the same urgency as other years this time around.