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Ring in the New?
The Sharks roster could be in for some big changes
12/30/16 - By Paul Krill -

While the Sharks are having a good run lately, an issue percolating in the background is – who exactly will be with the Sharks in coming months and on into next season?

For starters, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who have both been around for years – nearly two decades in Marleau’s case – are both unsigned for next season. For sentimental reasons, we’d probably like to see both come back next year. But will they still have the skills to make them worth expensive roster spots? We could be saying goodbye to at least one of them after this season.

Brent Burns, meanwhile, is signed for eight years. Eight years. I appreciate everything he’s doing for the Sharks but eight years? What kind of play will he be capable of during the latter years of that contact?

I hope GM Doug Wilson knew what he was doing giving a contract of that length. Of course, Wilson also is the guy who brought in Martin Jones, a roster move that helped change the face of the franchise and got the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final last season.

When it comes to new players, we’re already seeing Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc getting lots of quality ice time. These two players come from the opposite ends of the draft spectrum, with Meier drafted ninth overall in 2015 and Labanc drafted 171st overall in 2014. Right now Labanc has six goals and two assists in 22 games to Meier’s one goal in five games.

While these guys look to stay around at least for the time being, we have to wonder what’s up with the Sharks’ 2014 and 2013 first round draft picks – Nicolay Goldobin and Mirko Mueller. Neither has been able to earn a full-time spot with the Sharks, At what point do we start asking if it’s simply not going to happen for them?

Also hovering over next year is the upcoming expansion draft. Which Sharks will be left exposed to this draft? Which Shark will end up in Vegas? So while we see the Sharks forge onward to what should be another playoff spot, we have to wonder what the roster might look like next fall?

It could be the usual cast of characters with a few tweaks. Or will we see some heartbreaking departures and a bit of a roster remake? The drama should begin not long after the playoffs, if not sooner.


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