It’s all well and good that the San Jose Sharks today cleared nearly $5 million in cap space by trading defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to Vancouver for a couple prospects.
Immediately speculation began that the Sharks were making room for the addition of either disgruntled Ottawa forward Dany Heatley or Boston Bruins restricted free agent Phil Kessel. But take a glance at the San Jose roster and salary list and try to find me a fit for the Bruins as a trade partner. I don’t see one.
Do you want Jonathan Cheechoo and his $3 million cap hit through the end of the 2010-11 season on the Bruins’ roster? The Bruins went to great lengths to dispose of Glen Murray and Peter Schaefer, so they don’t need to dance with another unproductive winger who’s unwilling to pay the price.
The way Ryan Clowe, signed through the end 2012-13 at a cap hit of a shade less than $4 million, plays screams “Bruins hockey.” But there’s no way the Sharks, trying to shake their reputation as a soft team that folds, could ever sell a swap of the hard-nosed Clowe for the squeamish Kessel to its fan base. Plus a deal like Clowe’s would make life more difficult for Boston next summer when Milan Lucic and Blake Wheeler need new deals.
Could a package centered by Devin Setogucchi ($1.247 cap hit and an RFA after this season) and featuring prospects and picks get the job done. Maybe. I’m not an expert on the Sharks’ farm system, but obviously general manager Doug Wilson likes what he has on the rise. After all, that’s how he’s explaining his salary-dump deal from today.
I think there’s always a chance Kessel to San Jose could become a reality. There are ways to expand deals with other players changing sides and even getting other teams involved. But my gut tells me that either the Sharks are more hot for Heatley or Wilson’s theory about having young guys get an opportunity is more than just spin.