SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Sharks hope they’ve taken a major step in eradicating their goaltending woes, acquiring Adin Hill from the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday for goalie Josef Korenar and a 2022 second-round pick.
The Sharks also received a 2022 seventh-round draft pick from the Coyotes, who were one of a handful of NHL teams looking to put themselves in a better position for next week’s expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken.
General manager Doug Wilson said the Sharks scouted a handful of goalies who they thought might become available through the expansion draft process, in which 30 NHL teams could only protect one netminder. Saturday was the deadline for teams to submit their protection lists for the expansion draft.
The Sharks were impressed with Hill, who Wilson said is the right age and has the necessary size (6-foot-6) and experience to play a major role for the team going forward. In his fifth season as a professional, Hill, 25, had a 9-9-1 record with a .913 save percentage in 2021.
“We exhausted and explored every age group, every guy who could potentially be available ... and (Hill) hit on all the boxes we were looking for: age, experience, size, compete,” Wilson said. “If you’re going to give up an asset to get a player like that, you want it to be somebody that fits for both now in the future.”
Finding an upgrade in net was arguably the Sharks’ biggest offseason priority as their goaltending statistics in 2021 ranked among the worst in the NHL for a third straight year.
The combined save percentage for Martin Jones, Devan Dubnyk, Korenar, and Alexei Melnichuk this season was .891, tied for 29th in the NHL with New Jersey and only ahead of Philadelphia (.880). Fourteen of the 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs had a team save percentage above .900.
Jones is the only goalie to help lead the Sharks to a Stanley Cup Final, as he started 60 playoff games from 2016 to 2019. He has a career .907 save percentage in six seasons with the Sharks, but finished this year with a sub-par save percentage of .896. Like Hill, Jones, six years ago, came to San Jose in a trade as a 25-year-old with his NHL experience mainly coming as a backup.
In May, Wilson would not rule out a buyout of Jones’ deal, which has three years remaining and carries a cap hit of $5.75 million per season. With Saturday’s deal for Hill, the Sharks almost assuredly have exposed Jones for the expansion draft, which takes place Wednesday.
Asked Saturday what the trade for Hill means for Jones, Wilson wouldn’t specify, saying, “we haven’t made any decisions on that. We needed to have a different look and a different approach to our goaltending and we think that Adin certainly brings that to us.”