2011 Offseason: Free Agency Preview

By Gabe Myles

The free agency period starts at noon eastern time tomorrow. The Sharks have just over $7.7 million left in cap space.

Here’s what they have:

Dany Heatley: $7.5M
Joe Thornton: $7M
Patrick Marleau: $6.9M
Joe Pavelski: $4M
Ryane Clowe: $3.625M
Torrey Mitchell: $1.366667M
Logan Couture: $1.241667M
Jamie McGinn: $680K
Andrew Desjardins: $540K

Dan Boyle: $6.666667M
Brent Burns: $3.55M
Marc-Edouard Vlasic: $3.1M
Douglas Murray: $2.5M
Jason Demers: $1.25M
Justin Braun: $875K

Antti Niemi: $3.8M
Antero Niittymaki: $2M

Key free agents:
Ben Eager
Kyle Wellwood
Benn Ferriero (RFA)
Ian White
Kent Huskins
Thomas Greiss

The Sharks will need to sign three bottom six forwards and possibly one defenseman. If they feel Justin Braun is ready, he will start the season in the lineup. If Braun is not ready, the Sharks will need a defenseman, preferably one with a left-handed shot that can play on the penalty kill. The Brent Burns acquisition pretty much ends Ian White’s tenure in San Jose. Thomas Greiss is unlikely to re-sign with the Sharks after they shipped him off to Sweden on a loan. Will the Sharks re-sign Kyle Wellwood, Ben Eager and/or Kent Huskins? The loss of Devin Setoguchi takes away almost all of the speed the Sharks have in the top six. With Scott Nichol and Jamal Mayers gone, they also need a penalty killer.

The Sharks have three very important players that will be free agents after this season: Logan Couture, Brent Burns and Jason Demers. They cannot afford to give out high priced multi-year deals unless they’re willing to let one of those players go.

I honestly don’t see the Sharks doing much. They may fill some empty spots from within, whether it’s John McCarthy, Benn Ferriero, or others. They might wait to fill some needs until late in the free agency period. Some player will probably slip through, or some player will be willing to take a cheap one year deal to revive his career. Or, maybe, someone would want to sign with the Sharks for a chance to win a Cup.

There will be a mock CapGeek roster coming up with what I think the Sharks should do.

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