Sharks mailbag: Where would Doan fit?

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Sharks mailbag: Where would Doan fit?

Wading into some Sharks mailbag questions in the middle of what has become a fairly busy July for the club.

If the Sharks do get Shane Doan, where do you think he would be slotted? And who is moved down to the third line?
Wesley Johnston

If the Sharks are somehow able to acquire Shane Doan theres a report out now that the club has formally offered him a contract I would envision him taking the place of Ryane Clowe on the right side of the second line, with Logan Couture and Marty Havlat. I dont foresee the coaching staff breaking up the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski combo on the top line, after Thornton had another productive season and Pavelski reached a career-high with 31 goals. Doan is also an effective power play player, and had five goals and 14 assists on the man advantage last season.
RELATED: Doan interested in Sharks ... at least four other teams, too

Thats all contingent upon the team not making any other major moves, though. That being said

Should Doug Wilson be able to land Doan, what moves would you anticipate would be done in terms of salary cap space?
Andy Germond

Signing Shane Doan would not be cheap, and right now, the Sharks have 11 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies signed next year to the NHL roster for 64.6 million. That leaves just about 5.5 million under the cap.

I would expect the 35-year-old Doan will want nothing less than a three-year contract for between 4-5 million annually, and although that would keep the Sharks under the cap, its always good to have some wiggle room during the season in case you want to make any further improvements in the coming months. Also, does Sharks ownership want to reach the ever-increasing cap once again, after losing upwards of 15 million last season? We cant be sure thats the case.

Adding Doan could very well mean the end of Clowe (3.625 million cap hit) or Douglas Murray (2.5 million cap hit) in a Sharks uniform, unless the team somehow finds a way to move Michal Handzus and his 2.5 million (Handzus has one year left on his deal and a no-movement clause). After an unproductive season, though, its doubtful the Sharks would even be able to find a taker for the aging veteran.

Besides Shane Doan, who would be the best player left in free agency for the Sharks to target?
Chris Nor

The best player left, skill-wise, would be Alex Semin, but I dont think hed be a good fit for the Sharks. Sure, he can put the puck in the net, but Semin carries with him the reputation that hes not a team-first kind of guy. I dont think thats the kind of player the Sharks want at the moment, as evidenced by their reasoning behind adding Adam Burish on July 1.

One name that fans are familiar with is Kyle Wellwood, who put up 47 points (18g, 29a) with the Winnipeg Jets last season after the Sharks allowed him to leave at the end of the 2011 campaign. The club clearly would have been better off with Wellwood as their third line center last season rather than Handzus, who was scratched from the lineup at various times down the stretch and in the playoffs. Of course, bringing back Wellwood would essentially be admitting the Sharks made a mistake in the first place by allowing him to walk.

The bottom line? There isnt much left on the free agent market, and Im a little surprised the Sharks werent more active after the Burish and Brad Stuart signings. This team still lacks forward depth, and a core group that hasnt been able to take the next step, remains untouched.

Right now Jamie McGinn is currently in arbitration with the Avs. If he doesn't sign with them, do you think there's any chance he would resign with the Sharks?
Erik Nelsen

Well for one thing Jamie McGinn will either sign a contract with Colorado before arbitration or it will get settled that way. Hes not an unrestricted free agent, nor will he be. The Avalanche consider him a part of their impressive young nucleus of forwards, and with San Joses disinterest in re-signing Daniel Winnik, that trade is looking worse and worse.

I know its only July, but the Avalanche, who missed out on the postseason last year, could be a real sleeper team next season. Some late-season changes last year gave them a boost, and theyve signed some good players this summer, including former Islanders winger P.A. Parenteau.

Were the coaching staff changes made by Todd McLellan or GM Doug Wilson?
Jason Brinn

My impression is that the changes were initiated by Wilson, but McLellan was absolutely part of the process.

While were on the topic, I have to admit I was a little surprised that it was Matt Shaw who was let go while Jay Woodcroft was retained. Shaw was in charge of the Sharks power play for the last three seasons, and it finished in the top five in each of those years, including second overall in 2011-12. Woodcroft led the teams penalty kill strategy, which, as we all know, was the teams weakest link.

Do you hear anything more about Rick Nash joining the Sharks or has that door closed?
Craig Larsen

Nothing new on that front, but the door is certainly not closed. As Ive said before, the Sharks wont include Logan Couture in a deal for Nash, but I do believe they would consider moving Pavelski for the Blue Jackets captain.

Like many others, I still believe the New York Rangers are the heavy favorites to land Nash, especially after they struggled to score goals in the playoffs and with Marian Gaborik out until December following shoulder surgery. Furthermore, the Rangers have many more prospects to offer up than do the Sharks and most other clubs thought to be in pursuit of Nash, like Philadelphia.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

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.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

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.