The San Jose Sharks are exploring the goalie market with the intention of upgrading their depth at the position through either a free agent signing or a trade, general manager Doug Wilson said Friday.
The NHL free-agent signing period begins at noon ET on Oct. 9 and the market for goalies is expected to be active.
The Sharks also have Martin Jones, who has four years remaining on his six-year contract. Aaron Dell, who was Jones’ backup, is expected to become an unrestricted free agent.
Jones was 17-21-2 for San Jose this season with a 3.00 goals-against average, .896 save percengage and two shutouts in 41 games (39 starts).
“Ideally, and it depends on the acquisition cost, is getting a guy that’s been a No. 1 that is a veteran and wants to come in and compete for a spot,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of guys out there, whether it be potential UFA, trade potential. We’ve explored all of those, doing a lot of background work as to who would fit and complement our group.”
Wilson wouldn’t specify if he was looking for a goalie to replace Jones as the No 1 or looking for someone to work in tandem with him, similar to what the New York Islanders did this season with Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss.
There are a plethora of goalies scheduled to become unrestricted free agents who would fit into what the Sharks are looking for. The list includes Robin Lehner (Vegas Golden Knights), Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals), Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver Canucks), Corey Crawford (Chicago Blackhawks), Anton Khudobin (Dallas Stars), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers), Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators), Mike Smith (Edmonton Oilers), Cam Talbot (Calgary Flames) and Greiss.
There are also goalies who could potentially be traded, including Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Wilson said he has assigned Sharks goalie coach Evgeni Nabokov to explore the market and determine who might be the right fit.
“He’s worked his tail off evaluating the guys who have been No. 1s and are highly competitive people,” Wilson said. “Having the tandem of two goalies is certainly something we talked a lot about and yes we’re certainly exploring.”
Wilson, though, said he’d prefer not to trade one of the Sharks picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, which includes three in the first two rounds (Nos. 31, 34 and 56), to acquire a goalie.
“This one is a deep draft, we’re going to get some real good players with 31, 34 and ,” Wilson said. “Would I listen to it if somebody came to me with something that fit for now and for the future? Absolutely, I’d listen, but this is a pretty good draft for what we’re looking for.”