San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks Free Agency: 5 Players Who Should Be On Their Radar

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIJune 9, 2011

San Jose Sharks Free Agency: 5 Players Who Should Be On Their Radar

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    TAMPA, FL - MAY 21:  Eric Brewer #2 of the Tampa Bay Lightning controls the puck in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at St Pete Times Forum on May 21, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (P
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    The San Jose Sharks' inability to get passed the Western Conference Finals has some wondering whether or not GM Doug Wilson will decide to redesign this team for the future.

    The Western Conference runner-ups will have to deal with 23 prospective free agents on their current team this summer.

    No, these free agents will not affect the core of the Sharks. However losing them will alter both the depth of San Jose and which direction they wish to take the defense.

    Notable free agents for the team include Devin Setoguchi, Ian White, Niclas Wallin, Kyle Wellwood and Scott Nichol.

    Setoguchi—a restricted free agent—was involved in trade rumors throughout last season. There is speculation that his time in San Jose may be coming to an end.

    However, many must believe that a primary focus of the Sharks is on their blue line, which is why the spotlight this offseason will be on their dealings with White, Huskins and Wallin.

    Who will stay, and who will go?

    Odds are that they sign one of those three players. This will leave free agency as a great time to pick up a star defenseman.

    The hoopla begins on July 1—the national day of Canada—when the country to the north celebrates both their national holiday and the hectic start of NHL free agency.

    Here are five players that should be on the Sharks' radar when the pandemonium begins.

Brooks Laich

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    WASHINGTON , DC - APRIL 23: Brooks Laich #21 and Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals battle in the crease against Michael Sauer #38 and Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 20
    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    The Washington Capitals' left winger will be highly sought after this free agency because of the fact he does just about everything on the ice. The idea that every team will be going after Laich should not be a reason for San Jose to bow out of the running.

    Laich plays on both the power play and penalty kill. He is a big body that the Sharks could place in front of the net.

    The only thing stopping the Sharks from actively pursuing Laich is the fact that teams will be throwing anywhere from $4-$5 million at him for three to five years. Laich is coming off a year in which he made $2 million.

Eric Brewer

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    TAMPA, FL - MAY 19:  Eric Brewer #2 of the Tampa Bay Lightning controls the puck in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at St Pete Times Forum on May 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Along those same expensive lines comes defenseman Eric Brewer of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Brewer's consistent play during the 2011 NHL Playoffs upped his ante yet again.

    His salary in Tampa Bay last season was $4.25 million and he is looking to get around $5 million this next season.

    This would be a solid defensive pickup for the Sharks, but the price may scare them away for the amount of production they will receive. This is especially true if Brewer's offensive production is not likely to see 40 points in the near future.

Joni Pitkanen

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    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 16:  Joni Pitkanen #25 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 16, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The Sharks have been looking to bolster their offensive production from the blue line. Pitkanen is a viable candidate to achieve just that for San Jose.

    Pitkanen has huge offensive upside for being a defenseman which is something the Sharks will need if Ian White is not re-signed.

    San Jose will have to pay a heavy price for Pitkanen's services though. He made $4 million with the Carolina Hurricanes last season and will most likely fetch around $5 million in free agency.

Anton Babchuk

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    CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 20:  Anton Babchuk #33 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic Game at McMahon Stadium on February 20, 2011 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames defeated the Canadiens 4-0.
    Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

    This move will only work if the Sharks re-sign White, but Babchuk is someone that can really help San Jose put their power play over the top.

    It is Babchuk's bomb from the point that has some teams with an offensive need at defenseman drooling over the possibility of acquiring the young blueliner.

    Babchuk made $1.4 million last season and is expected to make up to $4 million this next season in free agency.

Andy Greene

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    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 18:  Andy Greene #6 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Washington Capitals at the Prudential Center on March 18, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. The Capitals shut out the Devils 3-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Although the odds are in favor of New Jersey re-signing unrestricted free agent Andy Greene. There have been reports of the Detroit Red Wings being interested in the defenseman's services. That would leave the door open for the Sharks to get in there as well.

    Greene will not cure the Sharks' defensive problems but he is a big bang for the buck.

    The 28-year-old made only $750,000 last season. Although his salary will increase in free agency; it should only rise to $2-$3 million.

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