The Sharks are in the middle of one of the longer runs, as one of the top teams in the league, to win any Stanley Cup. Emile's Rangers had been around for about seven years, the French Connection Sabers had about the same number of kicks on the can, last year's Predators less than half a decade, but the Sharks, well, they've been empty every time since Joe Thornton the season 2005/06 to its center.
And after the Blues eliminated the Conference Finals in six games, the Sharks return to all-in, as the new signing of upcoming free agent Erik Karlsson on Monday shows a staggering eight-year deal for $ 88 million. As for the long-term consequences, San Jose moves into the Bay Area Big Three with Karlsson, Norris finalists Brent Burns and Marc-Eduard Vlasic.
Loaded on the back, talented enough in front, even if it looks like there's not enough space under the cap to rebuild the pending free agent center (and captain) Joe Pavelski. The Sharks seem to have a problem area. This is on the net, where the club received below average performance for most of the season and at times during the tournament of Martin Jones.
And so San Jose GM Doug Wilson did what he could to keep the window open a year after the deal. For Karlsson I wonder if he could take the next logical step and try to prop up his port.
In fact, I wonder if Wilson could call the Rangers to ask for Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers do not try to push Lundqvist aside. This is not a message sent by post from Manhattan to Gothenburg (Sweden). Management will not ask the franchisee to waive its no-move clause. Lundqvist has made it clear that he wants to lead the Blueshirts back into the playoffs. There is no wobbling on these fronts, neither from the front office nor from the goalkeeper.
But what if a serious cup winner came after him? What if Wilson could pitch? Lundqvist's sister lives in the Bay Area. And of course, his good friend Karlsson would be on hand to help with the transition. And he would play for a defense that would help shield him for the first time since 201
At best, Kaapo Kakko is ready and contributing to Broadway, just like Vitali Kravtsov and Adam Fox. Filip Chytil makes a notable leap forward, as does Lias Andersson, and Libor Hajek carves a spot on the blue line. Lundqvist, who works with Alexandar Georgiev and / or Igor Shesterkin, will be as good as in the first three months of 2018-2019 throughout the season, and the Rangers will remain in the playoff race at least until March.
But there is a downside. Kakko is not quite finished and spends some time completing an apprenticeship in Hartford, and the same goes for Kravtsov and Fox. Chtyil and Andersson do not make quantum leaps. Hajek needs more work in the AHL. (Why is it so important for the Rangers to hire the right coaches for the wolf pack?) The Rangers are buried until January, and there are fewer and fewer reasons to play Lundqvist games, rather than leaving them almost exclusively to the two kids.
Deadline big goalkeeper trades do not work. There is not enough time to adjust. It is difficult enough for a striker to make a trade date change after a lifelong association with a team. For a goalkeeper it would be basically impossible; for the 37-year-old Lundqvist practically impossible.
So, if the sharks want to escape to Lundqvist, now is the time. San Jose has already swapped its first rounds for 2019 (Evander Kane) and 2020 (Karlsson), so Wilson would probably be shy to sacrifice his first in 2021. Perhaps San Jose could be persuaded to part with Ryan Merkley, the right-back for Peterborough, whom Wilson has voted for 21st overall last June.
Ideally, the Sharks Jones would have to support Lundqvist, who would probably have about 50 launches, and Aaron Dell's Radstrom backup. Wilson, however, may investigate the move by Jones and his $ 5.75 million cap hit, which is between 2023 and 24, to free up space.
Again, this is a hypothetical exercise. The Rangers are not pushing that forward. So far, the sharks are not. Even if Wilson asks, Lundqvist might well decline.
Still, I'm surprised.