Wednesday, June 8, 2011

San Jose Sharks Free Agency: 5 Players Who Should Be On Their Radar

The San Jose Sharks' inability to get passed the Western Conference Finals, yet again, has some wondering whether or not GM Doug Wilson will decide to redesign this team for the future.

The Western Conference runner-ups will have to deal with a flurry of 23 free agents on their current team this summer.

No, these free agents will not affect the core of the Sharks, but it will alter both the depth of San Jose and which direction they wish to take the defense.

Notable free agents for the team include Devin Setoguchi, Ian White, Niclas Wallin, Kyle Wellwood and Scott Nichol.

Setoguchi (restricted free agent) was involved in trade rumors throughout this last season, and speculation is that his time in San Jose may be coming to an end through a possible trade.

However, many must believe that a primary focus of the Sharks is at their blue line, which is why the spotlight this offseason will be on their dealings with White, Huskins and Wallin.

Who will stay, and who will go?

Odds are that they sign one of those three players, leaving free agency a great time to pick up a star defenseman.

The hoopla begins on July 1, the national day of Canada, when the country to the north celebrates both their national holiday and the hectic start of NHL free agency.

Here are five players that should be on the Sharks' radar when the pandemonium begins.

Brooks Laich

The Washington Capitals' left winger will be highly sought after this free agency because of the fact he does just about everything on the ice. But the idea of every team going after Laich should not be a reason for San Jose to bow out of the running.

Laich plays on both the power play and penalty kill, and is a big body that the Sharks could place in front of the net.

The only thing stopping the Sharks from actively pursuing Laich is the fact that teams will be throwing anywhere from $4-$5 million at him for 3-5 years. Laich is coming off a year in which he made $2 million.

Eric Brewer

Along those same expensive lines comes defenseman Eric Brewer of the Tampa Lightning.

Brewer's consistent play during the 2011 NHL Playoffs upped his ante yet again.

His salary in Tampa Bay last season was $4.25 million, and he is looking at around $5 million this next season.

This would be a solid defensive pick-up for the Sharks, but the price may scare them away for the amount of production they will receive. This is especially true if Brewer's offensive production is not likely to see 40 points in the near future.

Joni Pitkanen

The Sharks have been looking to bolster their offensive production from the blue line, and Pitkanen is a viable candidate to achieve just that for San Jose.

Pitkanen has huge offensive upside for being a defenseman, something the Sharks will need if Ian White is not resigned.

San Jose will have to pay a heavy price for Pitkanen's services, though. He made $4 million with the Carolina Hurricanes last season, and will most likely fetch around $5 million in free agency.

Anton Babchuk

This move will only work if the Sharks re-sign White, but Babchuk is someone that can really help San Jose put their power play over the top.

It is Babchuk's bomb from the point that has some teams with an offensive need at defenseman drooling over the possibility of acquiring the young blueliner for a decent price.

Babchuk made $1.4 million last season, and is expected to make up to $4 million this next season in free agency.

Andy Greene

Although the odds are in favor of New Jersey re-signing unrestricted free agent Andy Greene, their have been reports of the Detroit Red Wings becoming interested in the defenseman's services. That would leave the door open for the Sharks to get in there, as well.

Greene will not cure the Sharks' defensive problems, but he is a big bang for the buck.

The 28-year-old made only $750,000 last season, and although his salary will increase in free agency, it should only rise to $2-$3 million.

No comments:

Post a Comment