Latest on the Sharks and Penguins – May 9, 2018

by | May 9, 2018 | Rumors | 26 comments

Check out the latest on Joe Thornton and Evander Kane plus an update on the Pittsburgh Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.

Has Joe Thornton played his final game with the San Jose Sharks? (Photo via NHL Images)

THORNTON AND KANE

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports San Jose Sharks forwards (and pending free agents) Joe Thornton and Evander Kane face uncertain futures. Thornton yesterday revealed he tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee back in January, the same injury he suffered in his left knee last season. He’s expressed his willingness to accept another one-year contract with the Sharks for less than the $8 million he earned this season.

Kurz wonders if general manager Doug Wilson has Thornton in his plans after his club remained competitive during the center’s absence. Wilson sang Thornton’s praises but seemed to sidestep a bit when asked if a deal can be worked out. He did say he’s looking forward to sitting down with Thornton and his agent.

As for Kane, Kurz noted Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer praised the left wing’s on-ice performance and how he carried himself off the ice. With 14 points in 17 regular-season games with the Sharks, the 26-year-old Kane could seek at least $6 million annually on a six-year deal. He also played through a separated shoulder and a strained MCL during the playoffs.

Kane could take a wait-and-see approach to free agency. Kurz noted the Sharks are in a good position to contend for the next several years, have plenty of cap space and are in a good location, factors that could be attractive to Kane.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien also reported the futures of Thornton and Kane are among the key questions facing the Sharks. He noted they have sufficient cap room to re-sign both players.

The club has frequently been linked as a possible destination for New York Islanders center John Tavares if he hits the open market on July 1. If the Sharks believe they have a real shot at signing Tavares, it could delay other decisions. The club also has the opportunity to open contract extension discussion this summer with Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski.

SPORTSNET: If Thornton and the Sharks fail to reach agreement on a new contract, Rory Boylen lists the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens as potential free-agent destinations.

Boylen said Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t noted for making big-splash additions. With his club now among the league’s best and carrying plenty of cap space, perhaps bringing in Thornton as a third-line center could be a shot worth taking. Thornton could be a worthwhile short-term replacement for Tyler Bozak if he and the Leafs part ways this summer.

Thornton’s strong puck-possession numbers could help the Stars and Blue Jackets improve their woeful power play. He could fill a top-six role with the Canadiens, though they’re an unlikely fit if he wants to pursue a Stanley Cup next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sharks are keen to pursue Tavares this summer, Wilson could ask Thornton and Kane to be patient until they know for certain what’s going on with the Islanders captain. If they land Tavares, it could mean Thornton’s days with the Sharks are over unless he’s willing to accept a massive pay cut. While he said he’s willing to accept less money, he didn’t say how much. Kane fit in very well with the Sharks so I wouldn’t be shocked if he signs a long-term deal with them. 

PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey wondered why Derick Brassard wasn’t as good a fit with the Penguins after joining them in a trade from Ottawa this season. It could be due to an injury he suffered late in season. If he simply wasn’t the right guy, Mackey suggests they consider moving Brassard, who would still have value in the trade market. 

Mackay also thinks it might make sense from a business point of view to get out from under the final four seasons of Phil Kessel’s contract. Noting Kessel’s coming off a career-best 92-point season, Mackey believes the winger’s stock has never been higher, making this the best time to move him. However, he also said it not hard to see the Penguins retain Kessel. 

With Carl Hagelin entering the final season of his contract ($4 million cap hit), Mackey suggested GM Jim Rutherford could find a suitor if he wanted to move him to free up cap room. He also wondered about the future of goalie Tristan Jarry and speculated defenseman Matt Hunwick could be dealt or bought out. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins have over $70 million invested in 17 players. While all their core players are under contract for next season and the cap is expected to reach $80 million, re-signing depth players such as Bryan Rust, Riley Sheahan, Tom Kuhnhackl and Jamie Oleksiak won’t leave much room to make additions if necessary during next season.

Rutherford could try to shed some salary this summer, though it wouldn’t surprise me if he opts to keep his current roster largely intact for another Cup run next season. If he does try to dump some salary I don’t see Kessel or Brassard being on the move. Hagelin could be part of a cost-cutting move and Hunwick will likely be traded or bought out. 

 








26 Comments

  1. Lyle please edit your comment on “SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins have over $70 million invested in $75 million. While all their core players are under contract for next season and the cap is expected to reach $80 million, re-signing depth players such as Bryan Rust, Riley Sheahan, Tom Kuhnhackl and Jamie Oleksiak won’t leave much room to make additions if necessary during next season.”

    I don’t understand the 70 million on 75 million comment but I’m interested in it. Thanks pal. Great site

  2. Great news that oil prices are on the rise, The Canadian dollar will follow-this is exciting for hockey fans and any free agents, as the salary cap will continue to increase.

    • Yea Great News Oil prices are on the rise means more money to heat your house and drive your car. Only a Flyer fan can see that as great news. Maybe the Flyers can use a Gas pump as a goalie next year.

      • If you’re from Canada high-priced oil is paying the government bills. Which means it’s funding your lifestyle.

      • you not exactly an econ professor are you?

    • And the Canadian dollar isn’t tied to the price of oil. It’s usually tied to a large rock in the middle of an ocean and I’m with Frank. I just can’t wait to pay more at the pumps yahoo

  3. I thought that Brassard to Pittsburgh and Mcdonagh to either Boston or Tampa would tip the balance in the east.

    Brassard playing injured didn’t help Pittsburghs cause.
    Going forward, having a guy like Brassard center your third line is more than a luxury.

    I don’t see why Pittsburgh should move anyone (for cap reasons) other than Hagelin if they get the chance. And I don’t see teams lining up for Hunwicks services or contract. Maybe Letang if they get someone to bite, although that seems unlikely due to injury/ health issues and that cap hit.

    10 million in cap space seems like more than enough to fill in a few free agents, and bring up 1-2 kids.

    • Yeah you’re right on all counts. Brassard said today at media day he came back too soon from the injury that happened just before the playoffs and he couldn’t get back into rhythm. The whole team was injured except Crosby and Guentzel. It’s hard to win when you’re not getting contributions from the whole roster. Malkin has a knee injury, Kessel a wrist injury. Moving Haglen because of his cap hit is a must as is Hunwick. The only addition they will make is at 3 RD and I still like the idea of chasing after Rasmus Anderson from Calgary to fill that role.

      • And warshington had no Backstrom Wilson etc. injury no excuse this year.

      • Totally agree Deee
        Winning two straight means you have played a ton of hockey. If anything this early exit gives an opportunity to heal up and get ready for next year.

    • Letang & Hunwick to NYI for Leddy & rights to DeHaan?

      not sure DeHaan wants to re-up on the Island

    • I don’t doubt letang is tradable. 7.8 for a top pair guy when Carlson Karlsson blah blah are gonna be near double digits. His mntc is a challenge. But ultimately getting best value now for a guy who played his worst playoff series is tough. Selling low is never good. I have a hard time seeing letang bringing back more value than the value of keeping him and hoping for better

  4. The Jackets didn’t show interest in Thornton last year, so I’d be surprised if they show any interest this year. The power play problems this year may be nothing more than coaching &/or minor injuries as the PP units, save the addition of Panarin, are the same in both years.

  5. If San Jose is going in big on Tavares, they would likely also use that addition to lure Kane back, as that would give them a very good top line. To me that would mean there was no money left for Thornton unless he took a very big discount.

    If that were all to happen, I think Thornton would likely end up in Toronto. The fit makes sense as Toroton would be looking to make up for some lost PP potency in losing JVR, and a 3rd line center in Bozak, and they can afford to give him an attractive one year deal, since the big contracts for Marner and Matthews don’t kick in yet. From Thornton’s perspective, if he is going to leave, Toronto gives him the position he wants to play, has the ability to overpay for 1 year of his service, and has his long time friend in Marleau there as well. I am not saying he would choose Toronto over San Jose, as he has already shown that he wouldn’t, but if he is leaving and still wants to play, I think Toronto makes a lot of sense.

    Because Thornton is likely looking for a 1 year deal, there will be no shortage of teams interested if San Jose decides he no longer fits their needs, but I also think it would be interesting if he returned to Boston. The could be a great fit to create a 3rd scoring line there, he can dominate further down the line up against other teams 3rd and fourth lines, and again, a 1 year deal would be attractive as it doesn’t really hurt their long term flexibility. Not sure if either side has any interest, but it’s at least an interesting thought if he doesnt’ stick in San Jose.

    • Tavares in San Jose makes a lot of sense. They have the cap space, good defensive core, good forwards and the young guys are producing.
      San Jose has shown that their ‘window’ isn’t quite closed as yet. Tavares extends that window by about 4-5 years.
      For Tavares, he gets to live in California, get paid really well and all Cali teams have stable fan bases

  6. Coming off another knee surgery, I wonder how much Joe has left in the tank. Pushing 40 and would think he’d like to stay in SJ. My guess is he returns on huge discount or he hangs them up

    • I don’t believe Joe will give a ‘huge’ discount. It is also left to the imagination what huge means here. If Thornton is signing for one year expect the price to be between 5.5M and 6.5M in San Jose and between 6M and 7.5M for others

      • No contender is signing Jumbo Slow at this point- SJ discount or a one year deal in Vancouver. Maybe one year as JT replacement if he does not resign to the Islanders. It would to be crazy money for him to go to Montreal and be stressed out

  7. Thornton is amazing! Some lucky team will sign him for his 1-2 goals he scores in playoffs and far under his normal number of assists. He is a true winner like Nash.

    • At least they played in the play offs for most of their careers.Can’t be said for everyone

  8. Joe is done put a fork in him time to retire and enjoy life and maybe shave his beard.

  9. Maybe Thornton will follow the Mike Fisher retirement plan.

  10. As much as Thornton is made fun of here, somebody ought to remind everyone that he is 16th all-time in NHL regular season scoring. Just saying he has had a great career. Many players lack the ultimate will, the “take the team on my back” drive that athletes like Crosby and Lebron James have. No doubts here that he sincerely wanted to win and gave it his all, but there was always at least one better team.

    I kind of like the idea that if the Penguins can trade Brassard for an asset or two, Thornton would be a dynamo fit on the Penguins power play.. you wouldn’t have to rely on the top unit so much.

    • This. Foolish to think joe wouldn’t be an asset on rvery team. It’s only cost. Joe at a few mil to be 3rd line center. Sure. Joe at 7 to be a 2? No.

    • Everyone knows he had a great career he isn’t the only great player not to win the cup. Unfortunately Father Time has caught up to him.

  11. Pittsburg should look at Bozak as a UFA then move Brassard. Him and Kessell have chemistry and history. They should then try to move Letang and sign Carlson. That still leaves Haglin and Hunwick plus one of the young goaltenders. These moves would free up some cap space plus bring some assets.

    Toronto should stay away from Thorton. They have a three of options in the system (Altonen, Lindholm, Gauthier) not counting moving Nylander to center but if they don’t work then look for a trade. If JVR doesn’t come back they have Johnsson, Leivo, Brown, Kapenin to fill the wings so the team becomes faster and younger. Their real need is a top four right handed defenseman. With the rise of Dermott and other lefties (Borgman, Hainsey, Rosen?) in the system maybe they could turn Gardner into a trade for Carlo, Dumba, Manson, or Trouba? Gardner is over criticized but if available he would be someone other teams would want.