For NHL teams that arent in on top free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, everything is on hold.
That includes the San Jose Sharks, who signed fourth liner Adam Burish and a number of depth guys and prospects for their AHL affiliate but nothing else since the free agent signing period began on July 1.
With an already thin free agent class even thinner after less than 48 hours, its looking more and more like the Sharks will have to make a bold move via the trade market, if in fact the club is serious about making a significant change or two to its roster after a disappointing and uneven season.
Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash remains in play, and according to the Columbus Dispatchs Aaron Portzline, San Jose has a standing offer and the Sharks remain on Nashs list of acceptable clubs.
You just know San Jose is in the weeds. The Sharks have an offer on the table. It could be sweetened.
Anyone who has been following the Nash-to-the-Sharks saga knows that Logan Couture, whom the Blue Jackets insisted upon at the trade deadline in February, is a non-starter for Doug Wilson. But that certainly doesnt mean the deal is dead. Of course, with Couture unavailable, San Jose would almost certainly have to include Joe Pavelski andor Ryane Clowe, a first round draft pick, and a goaltender or top prospect in order to land one of the leagues best goal-scorers.
At the moment, it appears that the Blue Jackets options with Nash are fairly limited. It's hard to imagine the New York Rangers would be willing to part with young blue-chippers Chris Kreider andor Ryan McDonagh; Philadelphia doesnt seem interested in trading Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn, and there are reports that Nash is unwilling to go to Carolina or Ottawa, two clubs that were interested in acquiring his services.
All that said, at some point the asking price for Nash should come down, especially if Parise lands with one of the teams that is interested in Nash.
But until then, we wait.
The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.
Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.
Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.
Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.
Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.
Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.
Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.
Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.
While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.
Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.
General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.
There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve).
Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.