Last week, we took a look at which Sharks are guaranteed to return for next season. Those ten Sharks would be Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Douglas Murray, Andrew Desjardins, Tommy Wingels, and Thomas Greiss.
That said, there are five more Sharks players who are also bound to return. Each of them are more than likely staying in San Jose but for various reasons there is a small chance for each of them to be living elsewhere come next season.
Michal Handzus (C) (99% chance of returning)
It was a tough first season in San Jose for Handzus. Prior to the season the veteran center lost dear friend and long time teammate Pavol Demitra in the Lokomotiv tragedy. It is certainly tough to be at your best after such a catastrophe but Handzus started out of the gates relatively strong. The veteran chipped in 14 points in his first 31 games. However his performance in the second half tailed off. Handzus finished the regular season playing in just 67 regular season games. Some of those games were due to injury and others were referred to as “coach’s decisions” or “healthy scratches.” It was certainly a sharp decline for Handzus who had missed all of just one game in the previous four seasons. With one year left on his deal in San Jose, it is highly likely that “Zeus” will return. Only way he doesn’t is if he decides to call it quits.
Dan Boyle (D) (99% chance of returning)
Boyle had yet another typical Boyle-like year in 2011-12. His 48 points was just two fewer than the year prior and the defenseman played through a broken foot for nearly a month and a half. He remains one of the best puck movers in the game and his defensive capabilities are underrated. There is little chance he is moved with the no trade clause he possesses but the Sharks do have puck moving depth. Brent Burns and Justin Braun could play bigger roles next season if Boyle were to be shipped out.
Ryane Clowe (LW, RW) (90% chance of returning)
Clowe had a down year this past season, there is no denying that. After posting point totals of 52, 57 and 62 in each of the last three years (increasing his total each year), Clowe fell to 45 points in 76 games this past season. That said, one has to wonder if the physical style Clowe plays will cut his career short. Was this season an aberration or a sign of things to come? Clowe will turn 30 this fall, and without a no trade clause, Clowe is easier to move than others. Clowe may be slowing down, but unless he is part of a package for a star like Rick Nash, it’s hard to envision him being traded. He has built tremendous chemistry with Logan Couture and his size and strength are needed on that second line.
Justin Braun (D) (90% chance of returning)
Braun may have registered just 11 points in 66 games this past season but don’t be fooled, Braun has all the tools. He has size, speed, and a knack for getting his point shot through traffic. The 25-year-old defender loves to jump up in the play but is rarely caught out of position. If not for Boyle and Burns blocking him on the depth chart, Braun would be a much more well-known defenseman. The young blue-liner is set to be a restricted free agent and it is possible he’s dealt as part of a package. However, with Boyle getting older, and Jason Demers taking a step back this past season, the Sharks will probably look to hold onto No. 61.
T. J. Galiardi (LW) (90% chance of returning)
It’s been a tough stretch for Galiardi. After jumping onto the scene in 2009-10 with 39 points for Colorado, the 24-year-old winger has tallied just 30 points in 104 games over the last two seasons. After being dealt to San Jose at the trade deadline this past season, Galiardi scored just one goal and added zero assists in 14 games. He was also a healthy scratch in the final two games of the playoffs. While he is a restricted free agent, it is hard to see him being moved. The market is not high for him and the Sharks gave up a decent amount to get him and Daniel Winnik from the Avalanche.