Could San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl become an NHL trade target of the Boston Bruins in the offseason?
While the 30-year-old, 6-foot-3, 214-pound center hasn’t made a trade request or expressed a desire to exit what is now a full-out rebuild in San Jose, he left the door open for at least discussing a potential trade with Sharks general manager Mike Grier in the offseason.
“It’s not an easy situation where we are. We know that,” Hertl told the Mercury News recently. “We will see. It’s probably not [time to] talk now, but definitely, after the season, again, what [are] the plans here long-term? Maybe he says the best [to] trade me now and get something?”
Hertl is the second season of an eight-year, $65.1 million ($8.1M AAV) contract that has a full no-movement clause in the first three seasons. During his daily appearance on The Jeff Marek Show on Tuesday, Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman explained how that contract would likely prevent any Hertl trade until the offseason.
“With the cap being where it is right now, it’s a tough move to make in season,” Friedman pointed out. “I don’t know if there’s a lot of teams that are going to be able to handle that in season. So that’s the first question I have, but the one thing I really believe is that San Jose, they’re willing to consider just about anything right? I think if they have prospects who they believe are a big part of their future, they’re not going to do anything with them. They’re obviously not trading away high picks or frivolous picks, but other than that, they’re pretty much, ‘Hey, you got an idea? Give us a call’ and a lot of guys whose contracts are up that they’ll be willing to move for a draft pick or a prospect.
I think the league knows that, and I think if there’s anybody interested in a Hertl or a [team captain Logan] Couture – as you said, they’ve got some (trade) protection – they know to call the Sharks and make their pitch, and we’ll see where it goes. It’s just that in Hertl’s case, I think it’s a really tough one to do in season.”
Citing the likelihood that the Calgary Flames will be losing center Elias Lindholm by the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline, host Jeff Marek then suggested the Calgary Flames as a potential fit in a trade for Hertl in the offseason, with former Boston Bruins goalie Dan Vladar going to the Sharks as part of the return for Hertl. While Friedman agreed with that possibility, he immediately suggested the Bruins.
“I thought you were going to say Boston,” Friedman replied. “When I think about that, it makes a lot of sense to me. The one thing about Boston is – again, I have no idea how they could do it in season; this is just the two of us spitballing – I think Hertl’s got a lot of respect around the league. Again, some of the challenges that players like him face is that – and I hear this all the time – ‘When is the last time that you played a meaningful game?’ and they worry about getting in a place where San Jose was in the Western Conference Final in 2019 and since then it’s turned and people start to say ‘Oh boy! It’s been a while since you played a meaningful game’ and now, that’s not always the player’s fault, and it’s not always a problem, but I know some teams do worry about it.”
Whether Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will be worried about that or not is yet to be seen, but one thing he surely is worried about when it comes to making any major trade is his lack of a first, second, and third round pick at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. That being said, Sweeney could enter the offseason NHL trade and free agents markets with upwards of $28 million to spend.