- Tim Kavanagh, Fantasy and Insider
With a vast majority of unrestricted free agents having found a home for 2014-15 in the opening days of the summer shopping season, the primary way for teams to improve between now and opening night is via trade.
While it will be less frenzied than at the trade deadline and the draft, it's worth taking a look at the top trade targets by position. Cap hit information provided is from CapGeek.com, and advanced stats are via ExtraSkater.com. Ages are current as of July 11.
Age: 30 | 2014-15 cap hit: $3,800,000 | UFA: 2015-16
Call it a rebuild, call it a re-tooling, the end result is largely similar: The Sharks need a change of direction heading into 2014-15 after another early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs. And some are pointing to the goaltender in order to start that change:
"Antti Niemi had his moments in Game 7, but in the first five games of this postseason he had a save percentage of .882," our Craig Custance wrote following the Sharks' elimination. "In 61 career playoff games, Neimi has a save percentage of .907, which isn’t going to get it done for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations."
The Sharks don't necessarily have a brilliant fallback option on hand if they move Niemi, but perhaps this is a case where a goalie-for-goalie deal would make sense, as it would give each man a chance to get back on track after wearing out his welcome with his incumbent club.