San Jose Sharks trade rumors: Big moves seem unlikely

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Is it finally San Jose's year?

The San Jose Sharks are one of the most consistently excellent teams in the NHL, but they've yet to make the Stanley Cup Final in their history. Is it finally the year?

They're in a great position to do damage this season, sitting in the fourth position in the West, and a division title isn't completely out of the cards either despite Anaheim's Pacific dominance. The Sharks are extremely deep at forward, boasting perhaps the best tough minutes duo in the entire NHL in Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, not to mention the ability to ice three first-line centers in Couture, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

The Sharks aren't desperate to add anywhere, so don't expect them to give up on their forward depth unless there's an opportunity to seriously improve their defense on the left side.

Addition by subtraction

Last season the Sharks upgraded their roster by subtracting two players who were dragging them down in Ryane Clowe and Douglas Murray, and they may end up doing the same thing this year with Brad Stuart. Stuart has slipped big time with age, and hasn't been able to solidify the second pairing on defense.

After Marc-Edouard Vlasic, if the Sharks have a weak point, it's on their left side on defense. They don't have anyone in the organization who's ready to take top-four minutes on the left side, but moving Stuart may give them the cap space they need to add.

The targets

With the Sharks being so tight against the salary cap, it's unlikely they make any big moves, but if they do, expect them to clear out space first. A reunion with former Shark Christian Ehrhoff could be a possibility, but he would cost a fair amount and has a long-term deal attached to him that the Sharks may not be too keen on investing in.

A lower-end option from the Sabres as well could be Henrik Tallinder, who is cheaper against the cap, on an expiring contract and far cheaper to acquire.

Other pieces in play

If there is a good offer out there for Martin Havlat, the Sharks may bite on it, but it would have to be a really good offer. The oft-injured winger is making $5 million this season and $6 million the next, which is a lot for any team to fit in, but the Sharks like the way he fits with Marleau and Couture.

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