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NHL Notebook: Flames pausing multiple contract decisions and Sharks on track to becoming worst team of 2023-24

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Photo credit:Lindsey Wasson, AP Photo
Aleena Aksenchuk
3 months ago
The Calgary Flames have been a frequent topic around the league recently as a few key players are sidelined due to injuries, players are still finding their fit in line combinations, and several members have yet to sign new deals with contract expirations on the horizon.
The Flames recently called a timeout on all contract negotiations. Still, as the club falls to a record of 2-6-1, their approach may not be looking to be the most successful. 
Sportsnets, Eliotte Friedman’s recent article of 32 Thoughts, dove into a few key players within the organization that are on the fence about future extension negotiations. 
“They were far along on an extension with Noah Hanifin, likely above Devon Toews’ number ($50.75 million) in Colorado, when things broke off. That was Hanifin’s decision, as I’m not sure he’d want to commit if the Flames embark in a radical new direction.”
Flamesnation examined the estimated market value of the defenceman, who currently has four points in 10 games with the Flames, with his contract expiration set for this coming August. The total came out to around $7 million per season if he were to sign a long-term contract. Hanifin has played 369 games and scored 31 goals and 160 points in Calgary since being traded in 2018.
Hanifin isn’t the only one caught up in the contract gossip, as Chris Tanev also has rumours swirling around, but there’s a certain hesitancy in signing players long-term past their 30th birthday. The defenceman has been with the Flames for four years, scoring nine goals and 54 points across 213 games.
Elias Lindholm is also one of the topics of contract talks after Friedman reported he was asking for more than the Flames were willing to go. The ballpark figure, as mentioned by FlamesNations Ryan Pike, is around an eight-year agreement with an AAV of around $8.5 million per season. 
Despite contract chatter, there are plenty of other issues roaming around the Flames organization as of now.

San Jose Sharks on track to becoming worst team of 2023-24

The 2023-24 season has been bright, shiny, and new for many teams, and the San Jose Sharks are not one of them after underperforming expectations leave the market questioning if the club might be one of the worst teams of 2023-24.
Last season, the Sharks were one of the four teams to finish the year with a .366 points percentage or worse with fellow teams, the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Anaheim Ducks. Each team was expected to improve due to either off-season acquisitions or the re-addition of key players who were sidelined from injury, of course, with the exception of the Sharks.
The only player that may have been a difference maker would have been Erik Karlsson, whom the club traded as a part of a three-way deal with the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins for no actual return in value. 
The team is now nine games into this year’s campaign and has yet to find the back of the net enough times to give themselves a win. Their current record stands just two games away from tying the NHL record for most consecutive losses to start a season at 11.
After nine games, the Sharks currently have a .056 points percentage and last in goals for per game and third to the bottom in goals against per game.
It’s important to note that the analytics so far are based on a small sample size; however, Daily Faceoff’s Scott Maxwell used their underlying numbers to give more to compare with in terms of teams in the analytics era starting in 2007-08. 

Teams with less than a .325 points % (since 2007)

TeamPts%5v5 Expected Goals per 60 minutes (league rank)5v5 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (league rank)
2013-14 Sabres.317%1.81 (30th of 30)2.53 (26th of 30)
2016-17 Avalanche.293%1.86 (30th of 30)2.32 (17th of 30)
2019-20 Red Wings.275%2 (31st of 31)2.6 (26th of 31)
2023-24 Sharks*.056%2.14 (32nd of 32)3.33 (32nd of 32)
 The analytics are interesting to look at. However, the Sabres, Avalanche, and Red Wings were all the worst in their respective seasons within the league at goals for they managed to crawl out of a hole in goals against. Meanwhile, the Sharks have found the bottom in both categories. 
No team in this era has found themselves at the bottom in both areas, but as says they will quickly find themselves the worst in both. 
The only bright side of the Sharks having the possibility of continuing down this path is the possibility of a top-tier first-round draft choice to break them free of their disappointing numbers.

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