Sharks Open To Trading Veterans If They Want Out

The San Jose Sharks are not yet done tearing down their roster. Over the past year, they've dealt cornerstones Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, and Timo Meier. But in order to break down their roster fully and give their young players more opportunity in the lineup, they will have to trade even more top talent.

There is still Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture on the roster centering the top two lines. While Anthony Duclair and Alexander Barabanov are likely trade candidates heading into this season because of their low cap hits and expiring contracts, Hertl and Couture won't be as easy to move.

Hertl has seven years remaining on his deal that sees him have a cap hit of $8.137 million AAV. He has full trade protection for two more seasons, but then it opens up a bit after that. Couture has four more years at $8 million AAV with partial trade protection right now. Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News reported that the Sharks would be open to trading both of them if the veterans want to leave. This will obviously be a challenge as the cap is flat right now. Good news is that it is expected to rise as soon as next year. Hertl will likely not require any retention of cap, but Couture surely will. Either could shore up the top-six down the middle for a team for a few seasons at the very least.

Photo credit: © James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports