In recent days the popular trade rumors regarding the San Jose Sharks have centered around Washington Capitals winger Mike Knuble (former teammate of Joe Thornton) and Phoenix Coyotes winger Ray Whitney (former Shark).
Each couldn’t be different in terms of how they are playing this year. Whitney is having yet another great season, already having surpassed the 50 point plateau. Knuble on the other hand was recently a healthy scratch and has just 11 points on the season.
Both players will turn 40 this year and while each could be ideal fits for the Sharks, there are some question marks regarding their acquisitions.
Whitney will be highly sought after given his consistent dominance—think Teemu Selanne-esque—as he’s still playing at a top level despite nearing retirement (well one would think nearing retirement). Trading for Whitney without giving up current NHL talent might simply cost San Jose too much out of their prospect barn which is already thin.
Outside of goaltending prospects, and outside of the name Freddie Hamilton, the Sharks don’t have much in the way of highly thought of young talent.
Knuble on the other hand could be a good fit reuniting with Thornton (and would cost less than Whitney) but Joe Pavelski has found a spot at home on the right side of San Jose’s top line. While they have been split up at times, it’s hard to see the Sharks not going with Thornton, Pavelski and Patrick Marleau as their number one trio come the postseason.
Certainly Knuble could fit on a line with Ryane Clowe and Logan Couture, but how much does the 39-year-old have left in the tank? Last season his 40 points were his fewest since the 2001-02 season, and at his age drop-offs can be quick.
Now some may say the market for this year’s trade deadline is slim, but there is another winger (in fact another former Shark) that would be extremely intriguing.
His name? Brad Boyes.
The former 40 goal scorer and two time 30 goal scorer, has eclipsed the 65 point mark three times in six full seasons in the NHL.
However, Boyes has fallen on tough times in Buffalo and this season he has just three goals and 13 points through 42 games.
Needless to say, Boyes has been a huge disappoint with the Sabres and a change of scenery might just be what the doctor ordered.
As Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News points out, Boyes once thrived alongside Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya in St. Louis.
Couture may not have the pure speed that Kariya did, but he has similar playmaking and shooting skills and Clowe’s power forward ways are similar to that of Tkachuk’s mold. Perhaps Boyes fits in with Clowe and Couture on San Jose’s second line? It’s a possibility.
With just how lousy Boyes has been this season, his cost should be relatively cheap and he has a higher upside than Knuble as he is 10 years younger.
Boyes is on the last year of a deal that pays him $4.0 million this season and he would certainly be motivated to finish strong going into free agency.
If Boyes delivers that strong final push with a solid playoff performance and the Sharks get deep into the playoffs (and perhaps win the Stanley Cup) then the trade would obviously be a win for the Sharks. If he continues his struggling ways, then he should be cheaper to re-sign in the offseason if San Jose elects to go that route.