Golden Knights GM reveals when Hertl trade talks with Sharks began

Golden Knights GM reveals when Hertl trade talks with Sharks began originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Sharks shocked the NHL world Friday when they dealt two-time All-Star center Tomáš Hertl to one of their biggest rivals, the Vegas Golden Knights, at the trade deadline.

But it turns out the move actually was in the works for weeks, Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun after the blockbuster trade, with Vegas speaking to San Jose about Hertl since before the NHL All-Star break.

“We had talked to San Jose before Tomáš got hurt,” McCrimmon told LeBrun. “Tomáš was a player with significant term left on his contract. He’s a player that’s played so well against us. We’ve got tremendous respect for the player, and that’s sort of why the conversations began. But it was really complex. These are big decisions for both organizations. There’s a lot of steps you have to go through for a deal like this to happen.”

In return for Hertl, the Sharks received 2023 first-round draft pick David Edstrom and a 2025 first-round draft pick from the Golden Knights. Additionally, San Jose sent a 2025 third-round draft pick and a 2027 third-round draft pick to Vegas while also retaining 17 percent of Hertl’s remaining contract.

Hertl, who underwent knee surgery shortly after the All-Star Game last month to clean out loose cartilage, currently is on Long-Term Injury Reserve and likely won’t play for Vegas until the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in April.

The Sharks re-signed the fan favorite to an eight-year, $65.1 million contract extension at the end of the 2021-22 NHL season, but now they will retain about $1.39 million for each of the next six seasons remaining on Hertl’s deal as he plays for Vegas — putting the cost to the Golden Knights at $6.75 million per year instead of $8.1 million.

“The retention,” McCrimmon continued telling LeBrun. “What’s the additional price that needs to be paid for a team to get retention? Now you’re involving ownership. [The Hertl trade] was the final deal to be completed. It was the one that we worked on the longest. It was great for both organizations that we got it to the finish line because I think it’s a really good trade for San Jose as well with what they’re working at [in their rebuild].

“And we really like what it does for our team — not just for the short term but through his contract.”

The trade, while in the works since at least mid-February, never leaked — something McCrimmon is grateful for.

“I give credit to both organizations that it was kept internal,” McCrimmon told LeBrun. “That’s how deals should be made.”

Trading a franchise icon never is easy, and it’s clear based on the timeline provided by McCrimmon that it’s a move the Sharks took their time in making. San Jose also dealt several other players Friday, including Anthony Duclair, Radim Simek, Nikita Okhotiuk and Kaapo Kahkonen.

While it’s tough to part with players who have become a part of San Jose’s culture, general manager Mike Grier certainly hopes the Sharks’ rebuild is well on its way to paying off.

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