The San Jose Sharks made their move in the trade deadline market as they made a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs for F Nick Spaling and D Roman Polak in exchange the Sharks gave up a 2nd round pick in both the 2017 and 2018 drafts and F Raffi Torres. The Leafs immediately loaned Torres to the San Jose Barracuda where we will likely finish out the year although the Leafs could use him as a “Black Ace”.
Roman Polak 29, a native of the Czech Republic has spent most of his ten-year career with the St. Louis Blues before moving on to the Toronto Maple Leafs. His current cap hit is $2.75 M ($3.1 M in real dollars) and is a pending unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season. He is not the most offensively gifted he has been a steady presence on the Maple Leafs this year with a team-high +8. Polak will likely play with Brenden Dillon when healthy although he could be counted on to move up to the middle pair if needed. Shark fans will enjoy Polak’s ability to make some monster hits while being a smart stay at home defencemen while being leery of his injury history.
My belief is that Polak is strictly a rental; while only 29 the wear and tear is a little higher than the Sharks should be looking for when deciding next year’s defense corps.
Nick Spaling 27, a native of Canada is a 6 year NHL veteran who has played for Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Toronto; Toronto acquired him in part of the deal that saw Phil Kessel go to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is a versatile two-way bottom six forward who can play both center and wing and has good penalty killing instincts. He only has one goal and six assists this year but could potentially be counted on for upwards of 20 points in a season. This is a solid fill in during the absence of Tommy Wingels and will hopefully ensure that we never see Mike Brown in teal ever again.
My belief is that Spaling could potentially be a guy the Sharks look into keeping next year for the right price; he could be an upgrade over Wingels on the bottom six.
Overall I think this is a good deal for the Sharks and one that fans should have expected over outlandish rumors about getting a guy like Keith Yandle. These new additions will likely play with new life knowing that playoffs are likely on the horizon. Doug Wilson continues to make small moves that address the Sharks needs as he has since the offseason. While losing two second round picks he didn’t have to move any tangible assets and was able to get out from under Raffi Torres’s contract a player who frankly may not play another NHL game. For the Leafs, they continue to stockpile draft picks that they can use in future trades and on the draft floor as they continue to go through their slow but smart plan to rebuild that franchise. For the Sharks, it shows once again that Doug Wilson has gone all in on this season.