Recent internet speculation linking Tomas Hertl to the Ottawa Senators raised some questions about the 27-year-old center's future with the San Jose Sharks. That rumor was dismissed but the conjecture over where he'll play next this season isn't going away.
Hertl wondered if the Sharks want to sign him and if he wants to stay during a recent interview in the Czech Republic. “I'll start the season and see how it turns out,” he said.
Hertl is in the final season of his four-year, $22.5 million contract. The Athletic's Kevin Kurz believes the two sides should take a “wait-and-see” approach to this season.
How much Hertl seeks on his next contract could be a key factor. Kurz suggested he could seek something comparable to Sean Couturier's new eight-year, $62-millon extension with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Cap Friendly shows the Sharks already have $26.5 million annually invested in defensemen Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and another $21 million tied up in forwards Logan Couture, Timo Meier and Evander Kane. Kurz felt they cannot afford to take on another expensive contract.
Speaking of Kane, Kurz cited multiple sources claiming Hertl was among the Sharks players unhappy over the club's handling of the embattled winger flaunting team rules last season. Unless the culture improves it could push him into next summer's free-agent market.
As training camp approaches there's no indication the Sharks are peddling Hertl or that he wants a trade. That could change near the trade deadline if he and management aren't on the same page by then.