NHL trade deadline: If Sharks deal Tomas Hertl, what could they get?

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What could Sharks get back if they trade Hertl at deadline? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

What could the Sharks get for Tomas Hertl at the NHL Trade Deadline?

If they deal him, they're going to get a lot -- players like Hertl aren't often available around the deadline.

The Sharks' centerman is 28, has averaged 0.87 Points Per Game since 2018-19, is adept at both ends of the ice, and is currently on pace for a 40-goal campaign.

So, a 20-ish two-way pivot who scores enough to skate on your top line?

Actually, there isn't anybody like that who's been dealt at the deadline in the last five years.

Matt Duchene might be the most similar -- he was 28 when Ottawa traded him to Columbus in Feb. 2019, after averaging 0.91 points per game as a Sen -- but Duchene wasn't the penalty-killing staple that Hertl is.

Let's also not forget about Hertl's intangibles: He's an alternate captain and well-liked in the locker room. So if you're trading for Hertl, you’re adding a model player on and off the ice.

All that said, there have been star forwards dealt at the trade deadline in recent years who offer hints at what a Hertl could command.

Of course, this thought exercise could all be for naught -- every indication is that the Sharks are about to present the impending UFA with a contract offer. It's no surprise, as the Sharks are winning games, Hertl is enjoying a career season, and the organization views the popular Hertl as a culture-driver and leader a la Joe Pavelski.

In other words, he's a keeper.

But what if Hertl doesn't want to stay? I looked back at recent trade deadlines (and beyond) to see the typical price for 20-ish first-line forwards, set to become unrestricted free agents like Hertl.

That’s an important factor: We’re trying to figure out how much a team will trade for an impact forward who might only play a couple dozen or so games for you.

Keep in mind that I'm not looking at how the trades turned out, but the value at the time.

Matt Duchene

Ottawa sent center Duchene and Julius Bergman to Columbus for Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, a conditional 2019 first-round pick, and a conditional 2020 first-round pick. The 2019 first-round pick was sent to the Senators, while the 2020 first-round pick wasn't transferred (this condition was contingent on the Blue Jackets re-signing Duchene).

At the time, Bergman, a former Sharks draft pick, was a throw-in, while Abramov and Davidsson were credible mid-range NHL prospects.

So could the Sharks acquire two potential first-round picks, along with a couple decent prospects, for Hertl? There appears to be a precedent here.

Mark Stone

A couple days after parting with Duchene, Ottawa sent Mark Stone and Tobias Lindberg to the Vegas Golden Knights for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg, and a 2020 second-round pick.

The 26-year-old Stone was a two-way winger who had averaged 1.06 points per game in his two seasons leading up to this trade.

Brannstrom was the Golden Knights' top prospect at the time and a top-25 prospect league-wide.

Tobias Lindberg was a throw-in prospect, while Oscar Lindberg was a depth forward.

In retrospect -- and not just because Brannstrom appears to be a bust -- the Senators didn't get a lot for Stone, considering they picked up two potential premium assets for Duchene. That, and Stone signed an eight-year extension before his first appearance in Vegas.

You would think a locked-up Stone should've attracted more than one premium asset in Brannstrom. The second-rounder was nice, but ended up as the No. 61 pick.

My guess is that Hertl, if traded, isn't signing an immediate extension anywhere. That would, in theory, raise his value.

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Marian Hossa

This is a reach: The 29-year-old Hossa was a Hall of Famer still in the prime of the career when Atlanta traded him to Pittsburgh, along with Pascal Dupuis, for Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito, and a 2008 first-round pick.

From the 2000-01 campaign to the Feb. 2008 trade, the two-way winger was a model of consistency, averaging 1.01 points per game.

Dupuis was no throw-in, who would become a solid middle-six citizen for the Penguins in the years to come. Armstrong and Christensen were up-and-coming forwards that the Thrashers hoped would become middle-six fixtures. Esposito was a 2007 first-round pick, but his star had fallen some when he was dealt.

Regardless, that was an upcoming first-rounder and a recent first-rounder for Hossa.

This underscores the difficulty of this exercise though: Hertl is no Hossa, but it's rare that a 20-ish impending UFA forward even in the Hertl-Hossa range becomes available at the Trade Deadline.

Regardless, what can the Sharks learn from the Duchene, Stone, and Hossa deals?

Expect at least one premium asset for Hertl -- a first-rounder, a top prospect -- and maybe another. Definitely push for a premium conditional asset if Hertl re-signs with the team that you trade him to.

After all, who wouldn't want to re-sign Hertl?