How Sharks, Western Conference teams match up as potential trade partners

How Sharks, Western Conference teams match up as potential trade partners originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Sharks could have a lot of dance partners before the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline.

Need a productive center? Since Nov. 25, Mikael Granlund leads the Sharks with 31 points in just 32 games.

How about a speedy scoring winger? A resurgent Anthony Duclair leads the Sharks with four goals, and per SPORTLOGiQ, in Quality Chances since they’ve returned from the All-Star break.

Defensemen are always valuable: Mario Ferraro continues to soak up 22-plus minutes a night.

The Sharks also might have a spare goaltender: Kaapo Kahkonen, according to SPORTLOGiQ, is top-five in the NHL in Inner Slot Save Percentage.

San Jose is a last-place team, but they’ve got players who can help other teams win a Stanley Cup.

So which playoff-bound squads might be good trade partners with the Sharks?

San Jose Hockey Now spoke with over 20 media members to get an idea.

Here are the Western Conference contenders, in alphabetical order, and how they match up with the Sharks.

Colorado Avalanche

Evan Rawal, Colorado Hockey Now

“The Avs are absolutely looking to add, particularly a top-six (or top-nine at the very least) center, as well as a back-up goaltender," Rawal said. “I actually think Kahkonen would be a perfect fit for the Avalanche behind Georgiev. They still need a backup for next season so it could be a longer-term fit as well.

“Granlund would be an interesting fit up front, but that extra year on his contract kind of hurts his value to the Avalanche, in my opinion.”

Dallas Stars

Taylor Baird, Defending Big D

“The Stars have been rumored to be around any right-handed defenseman that might be available as a rental (Chris Tanev, come on down) but could be open to long-term contracts if the fit makes sense in conjunction with their Cup window," Baird said. “They've never looked deeper at forward than they do now.

“I'm not sure that the Sharks have anything that fits the Stars' needs anymore. A left-handed defenseman [like Ferraro] on a three-year deal at that cap hit doesn't solve the Stars' depth needs on the right side. Ferraro's age fits into the youthful core that the Stars are starting to build around, but there's likely better options on the market that Dallas would explore first.”

Edmonton Oilers

Jason Gregor, The Nation Network

“Duclair could interest the Oilers," Gregor said. "He has speed and has scored 23 and 31 goals, and they'd like his speed. They need another top-six winger, but preferably a right winger, but he can play both so that is benefit.

“[Kunin] is an RFA, I doubt they would qualify him at $2.75 million AAV, but maybe offer him a lower salary next year. He could be an option in their bottom-six, as they are looking for a bit more grit. He can also kill penalties, which would allow him to stay in the flow of the game. Edmonton's main PK guys are in the bottom-six except for Nugent-Hopkins, so any bottom-six guy they acquire needs to be able to PK.

“The challenge is his cap hit. [San Jose] would have to retain 50 percent, for it to work, or Duclair, and maybe take an expiring contract back as well. The Sharks only have one salary retention spot available and that could limit them moving out more pieces.”

Los Angeles Kings

Jesse Cohen, All the Kings Men

“Our cap situation is such that adding significant players at the deadline means moving significant cap hits out at the deadline," Cohen said. "The likelihood of executing a swap that doesn’t weaken the team in one position in order to strengthen another position is low in my opinion. ...

“I don’t see any obvious targets [on the Sharks].”

Nashville Predators

Michael Gallagher, Nashville Hockey Now

“I think the Preds will be sellers rather than buyers, but if they were to add a piece, it would be for a young scorer," Gallagher said. “The Preds have been linked to Logan Couture [by David Pagnotta], but at his age, I really don't see that move making any sense for Nashville.”

Vancouver Canucks

Patrick Johnston, The Province

“There's no doubt the Canucks would like to make at least one more trade: They need another [right-handed] defenseman with NHL experience, and they'd probably like to add a forward if they can (That's part of the Kessel story: he's a fallback option if they can't add a current NHL’er.)," Johnston said. “They have about $2.6 million in cap space to work but they're also already in LTIR.

“Before they added Elias Lindholm, you could see them having some interest in a guy like Duclair. Maybe they still do, since they could use another winger in the top-six, but given how much another defenseman probably will cost, that's likely a luxury they can't afford: This team doesn't have much cap space to work with.

Nico Sturm would be a nice upgrade over Nils Åman, but hard to see them having enough cap space to add a defenseman and him.”

Vegas Golden Knights

Ken Boehlke, Sin Bin

“It wouldn't be a deadline without the Golden Knights being major players," Boehlke said. “Even before Mark Stone lacerated his spleen, Vegas needed scoring wingers. Now, with Stone likely sidelined for the rest of the year they need them even more. There's an argument with the way Nic Roy has played up the line-up that they could use an extra center as well, but there's no question the primary focus will be on the wing.

Kevin Labanc is quite interesting for the Golden Knights now that they have massive amounts of salary cap space to use up.

“Obviously, the production has been down significantly, but everyone knows there's still one heck of a hockey player there. I don't think he would be at the top of the priority list, but if there's enough leftover cap, maybe he's a fit because Vegas loves a good reclamation project.

“Otherwise, I could see them looking at Duclair as well. He's spent a lot of time on the wing of excellent centers and could be a nice weapon playing with Jack Eichel. Plus, there's a history on the power play that has to entice Vegas at least a bit considering their PP has struggled for multiple years now.”

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets could be looking for a middle-six winger and a right-shot defender.

Duclair could provide some secondary scoring, while Luke Kunin brings a well-rounded game. Both are pending free agents.

Two-time Stanley Cup winner Jan Rutta offers valuable experience, but he’s got another year on his contract.

Other Western Conference Teams

The Calgary Flames have started selling with the trade of Tanev to Dallas. Trevor Neufeld of Calgary Hockey Now expects that to continue, but he does speculate that a line of Duclair, Jonathan Huberdeau and Andrei Kuzmenko would be a lot of fun.

Joe Smith of The Athletic says that the Minnesota Wild “won’t be real buyers”.

John Barr of Sound of Hockey calls the Seattle Kraken “unlikely buyers,” noting that even last year, safely in playoff position, they didn’t add. He mentioned that Seattle already added a skilled depth winger in Tomas Tatar in December.

Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic says the St. Louis Blues are “probably selling,” and if they buy, “it would be a middle-six forward but very doubtful.”

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