Our first Sharks offseason mailbag features the upcoming expansion draft, Micheal Haley, and Jannik Hansen...
Who's going to Vegas? (michael dalsky @rudy7799)
The NHL expansion draft, in case you’ve forgotten, will take place in late June with the Vegas Golden Knights roster set to be announced on June 21.
At this point, I believe it’s more likely the Sharks will lose a defenseman than a forward or a goalie.
It makes the most sense for San Jose to utilize the seven forwards/three defensemen/one goalie option in order to protect the maximum amount of players, rather than the eight skaters and one goalie. There are simply too many forwards on the team that need to be protected, especially if the team agrees to a contract extension with Joe Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau over the next few weeks.
There are two obvious choices for the team to expose at forward in Mikkel Boedker and Joel Ward – the Sharks would likely welcome Vegas choosing Boedker, especially, who has three years and $12 million left on his deal, but I can't imagine Vegas would do that. Ward, who will turn 37 in December, had a significant drop in production this season and probably wouldn’t be an attractive target for the Golden Knights, either (although, it should be mentioned that general manager George McPhee knows the tremendously well-liked and respected Ward from their time together in Washington).
On defense, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are the obvious guys to protect, with Justin Braun likely the third. That would leave Vegas the option of selecting Brenden Dillon or David Schlemko, both of which are under contract for the next three seasons. If I were running the Vegas team, I’d target one of those two (Paul Martin would also be availabe in that scenario, but at 36 years old, he probably wouldn't make sense).
The protected lists are expected to be made public on June 18.
Any news on re-signing [Micheal] Haley? (Nik @niknisj25)
It's my understanding there is mutual interest from both parties about a potential return for Haley, but nothing is imminent. If something does get done with Haley, it would likely be after the expansion draft and after the team determines what is happening with Thornton/Marleau, but it’s still notable that the two sides have at least had some preliminary discussions.
One option, though, might be for the Sharks to re-sign Haley soon and make him available for the expansion draft, if they decide they would rather protect someone like Ward. Every team needs to expose at least two forwards that played in at least 40 games last season, or 70 games in the past two seasons. Haley would qualify.
Knowing what we know now, was the trade for [Jannik] Hansen a good or bad move? (Scott Hansen @SheboyganScottH)
If Hansen were a pending UFA this summer I would say it was a bad move, but this is still a player that has a year left on his contract at a very reasonable $2 million salary. He might not have had the impact that the organization hoped for this season, with two goals and five assists in 15 games and one assist in six playoff games, but he’ll get a full training camp under his belt next season and I still like what he brings to the table. This is a team that needed some more scoring depth than it got this season, and Hansen can still bring that in 2017-18.
Also, it’s not like Nikolay Goldobin showed that he’s ready for the NHL yet in his limited time in Vancouver at the end of the year. It's looking more and more likely that he'll never break through in the best league in the world.