San Jose Sharks: Free Agents the Team Must Chase This Offseason

John RichardsonCorrespondent IJune 12, 2012

San Jose Sharks: Free Agents the Team Must Chase This Offseason

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    If the San Jose Sharks want to compete next season, the acquisition of free agents to solidify their lines will be crucial.

    In recent years, the Sharks have gained a reputation for being a strong regular-season team, but a flop when it comes to the playoffs.

    They bowed out of this year's Stanley Cup with a whimper, losing a 4-1 series to the St. Louis Blues in Round 1.

    Here are a few of the players who can come in and make a big difference to a team that has really underachieved in recent years.

Brad Stuart

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    According to Sports Illustrated, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart will be on his way back to the Bay Area after a six-year absence.

    The ex-Sharks man has already made 377 appearances for the franchise, after first taking the ice in 1999.

    In an interview with MLive, Stuart made it clear that his family who currently live in San Jose are a big part of his decision to pursue a trade: "My wife has been outstanding throughout the whole thing. She's done a great job throughout the whole thing. I at least needed to see if I could make this better for everyone. This is an opportunity to do that."

    Stuart will add experience and a much-needed goal-scoring threat to this stop-start Sharks team.

Mike Knuble

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    The Washington Capitals see no further use for RW Mike Knuble, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

    According to, his six goals and 12 assists during the 2011/2012 season were not enough to solidify a spot on the team.

    The veteran has shown he can score goals, and his addition to one of the Sharks lower lines would prove a coup.

Zach Parise

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    This would be a dream pickup for San Jose.

    The 27-year-old American scored 31 goals and racked up 38 assists for the Devils in the 2011/2012 regular season.

    While gaining the services of Parise would bolster the Sharks offensive options, it would also come at a heavy price.

    He made $6 million last year, and will likely be looking for more in free agency.

    If the Sharks are to pull off this signing, GM Doug Wilson may have to offload one or two of his more high profile players.

Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

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    Another RW who could help solve the Sharks goal scoring problem is P.A. Parenteau.

    The past two seasons with the New York Islanders have seen him record an impressive 120 points, in only his third NHL season.

    Not bad.

    His salary of $1.25 million is doable for the franchise, and capturing him this summer could significantly strengthen San Jose's second line.

Chris Kelly

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    Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly has been a leader and a prolific goal-scorer throughout his NHL career.

    The 31-year-old receives a $2 million salary, and had his best season in 2011/2012, scoring 20 goals and tacking on 19 assists for good measure.

    It is within the Sharks budget to sign him, so long as they release some of the free agents on their books.