NHL Free Agents 2011: Why the San Jose Sharks Must Make More Moves

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NHL Free Agents 2011: Why the San Jose Sharks Must Make More Moves
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Thomas Greiss, with 19 NHL games played, has qualified as a newsworthy signing for the San Jose Sharks this off-season

The San Jose Sharks signed their first free agents after swapping Dany Heatley for Minnesota's Martin Havlat.

But the players signed are not even projected to make the team's opening game roster. Thus, they will not count against the team's salary cap.

The blockbuster trade opened up cap space for the team, leaving it with $3.9 million in space once they fill out their roster by adding the only three remaining forwards with NHL experience.

This is not even factoring in that anyone signed would replace a contract on the roster. This could free up between $1.1 and $1.8 million without affecting any one who dressed on a nightly basis.

In other words, the Sharks could spend as much as $5.7 million on two players. Sharks GM Doug Wilson himself said the window to win a title could shut in the next three years.

You do not carry a balance of nearly $4 million on that kind of team if you can afford to spend to the cap. Wilson needs to spend the money to upgrade the players who will be dressed, because significant mid-season trades have yet to work for him (see 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010).

In this look at each Sharks unit, it is obvious there are still holes on this team that may hold them back from getting past the elite teams of the Western Conference.

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