SAN JOSE – Nick Bonino is a Pittsburgh Penguin again. Vladislav Namestnikov is with the Winnipeg Jets.
But after the NHL’s trade deadline Friday, Erik Karlsson and James Reimer both remained with the San Jose Sharks, joined by top prospect William Eklund, who was recalled from the AHL.
While Karlsson staying in San Jose wasn’t a surprise, Reimer, in his 13th NHL season, was disappointed he won’t get a chance this year to compete for his first Stanley Cup.
“Obviously the goal is to win a Cup and it’s been the goal since I was three years old,” said Reimer, a pending unrestricted free agent who turns 35 next week. “So, it’s unfortunate it didn’t come to fruition. Obviously, that’s every guy’s dream in here.”
Sharks general manager Mike Grier said after both Joonas Korpisalo and Jonathan Quick were traded in recent days, there wasn’t a huge market left for other goalies. Reimer, too, has been inconsistent this season, sporting a career-low .892 save percentage in 32 games with a 9-16-6 record. Reimer’s two-year contract with the Sharks, signed in July 2021, has an average annual value of $2.25 million.
“Once (Korpisalo and Quick) went, there was only so many teams that were looking for goalies,” Grier said. “And it’s not so easy for everyone to squeeze salary in at this time of year, too. Add all that in together and it’s tough to make it happen for a lot of goalies.”
“As far as I know, (Grier) made an effort,” Reimer said, “but nothing worked out.”
Grier said there had been interest in Karlsson at times this season. However, discussions never reached a point to where the Sharks considered bringing a trade proposal to Karlsson, who has a full no-movement clause in his eight-year, $92 million contract that expires after the 2026-27 season.
Karlsson earlier this week expressed doubts that the Sharks would be able to quickly get back to being a playoff contender after they traded Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils last weekend. Grier, though, reiterated Friday he feels the Sharks have taken steps, particularly on the defensive side, to be better in the near future. The Sharks acquired defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin, 21, and Nikita Okhotiuk, 22, as part of the Meier deal, and traded for Anaheim Ducks 2019 draft pick Henry Thrun, 21, on Thursday.
“We’ve been able to kind of retool the depth on the defensive side of the prospect pool, and I think that goes a long way to getting us back to where we want to be,” Geier said. “We believe in those prospects.”
Grier said there was also interest from other teams in Bonino, another pending UFA. He added, though, that once that the Penguins got involved, he wanted to do what he could to return Bonino to the organization with which he won Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.
The Sharks, in a three-team trade that included the Montreal Canadiens, ended up with a seventh-round draft pick this year and the rights to rights to defenseman Arvid Henrikson, 25, now a senior at Lake Superior State.
Although the return on the Bonino trade was modest, Grier said he wanted to do right by the veteran forward.
“We have a lot of respect for (Bonino),” Grier said. “What he’s done in here with the group and the young players, kind of helping establish the standard and identity in the room, that he deserved to have a say in where what he wanted to do, whether that was go or stay or which team he wanted to go to.
“We’re happy and I think Nick’s happy, and I think that it worked out for everyone.”
The Sharks got a 2025 fourth-round draft pick from the Jets for Namestnikov, a veteran forward who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday for winger Mikey Eyssimont.
Had the Sharks kept Eyssimont, 26, he could have become a Group 6 free agent at seasons end and would have been free sign with any other team. A player becomes a Group 6 free agent if he is at least 25, has completed three or more professional seasons and has played in less than 80 NHL games. Eyssimont has played in just 40 NHL games, and the Sharks have just 20 games left this season, starting with Saturday’s home date with the Washington Capitals.
With Bonino and Namestnikov gone, the Sharks recalled Eklund, their 2021 first round draft pick who has 41 points in 52 games with the San Jose Barracuda.
Eklund, 20, played nine games with the Sharks at the start of last season before he was returned to Djurgardens of the Swedish Hockey League. He is expected to be in the lineup for Saturday’s game.
“It’ll be like the first time I think,” Eklund said of playing at the Shark Tank again. “It’s one thing that I’ve missed a lot, being able to step on the ice at SAP Center. It’s going to be really fun.”