With so many teams up against the salary cap this season, the trade deadline is going to largely be about clearing out money. Some of the teams with surplus cap space don’t appear to be willing to use it but as Pierre LeBrun reports in his latest piece for The Athletic (subscription link), the Sharks are letting teams know that they’re willing to take on money as long as it comes with another asset or two in the process.
San Jose isn’t a typical buyer in terms of their placement in the West Division where they sit tied for sixth place and are six points out of the final postseason spot which is currently held by St. Louis. However, with the team having the ability to add more than $8MM in contracts per CapFriendly, they could certainly pick up a player or act as a third-party facilitator in which they acquire a player and retain part of the contract before flipping him to a third team.
The Sharks have more than $68MM tied up in payroll commitments for 2021-22 already to just 13 players which is going to limit what they can do. In order to keep what little space they have available, GM Doug Wilson would be wise to restrict himself to taking or retaining on expiring contracts. It’s worth noting that they have not used any of their three salary retention slots for this season.
As a result of several win-now moves made in recent years, San Jose’s prospect pool has been weakened and they don’t have a full complement of draft picks in either the 2021 or 2022 drafts. While teams technically can’t buy draft picks, it certainly seems as if the Sharks may be willing to get creative to ultimately accomplish just that.