Paul Martin won’t be last problem contract Sharks will want to trade

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The Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka reports that Paul Martin wants a trade from the San Jose Sharks, seeking an opportunity to play after injuries and shaky work have mostly kept him out of the lineup.

Other outlets have backed up this report, and Martin admitted as much himself in a clip you might enjoy more for the beard-stroking as anything else.

If Martin’s contract was expiring in 2017-18, it would be easy to imagine teams taking a shot at him. Such a mountain becomes tougher to climb when you realize that his problematic $4.85 million cap hit won’t expire until after 2018-19, according to Cap Friendly.

There’s no denying that Martin has an impressive resume, yet that costly contract, his advanced age (will turn 37 in March), and lack of play this season really make it tough to imagine the Sharks getting anything other than an equally ugly – or uglier – contract in return for the very-much-grizzly veteran.

The best news is probably just that his contract expires after 2018-19, so even if this remains a headache they can’t cure with a trade-based painkiller, the discomfort should lift soon enough.

The more worrisome thought is this: it’s easy to picture more headlines about the Sharks wanting to trade bad contracts, particularly for aging defensemen who were once very good, in the not-too-far-flung future.

Brent Burns is already 32, and his eight-year, $64M contract just kicked in this season, so that $8M cap hit runs through 2024-25. Burns turns 33 in March.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic is about to see his ridiculous bargain $4.25M cap hit expire after this season. The Sharks already made a-near-Burns-sized commitment to “Pickles,” handing him an eight-year, $56M extension ($7M cap hit) that expires in 2025-26. Vlasic will turn 31 in, you guessed it, March.

Burns’ yearly salary works out to make him a little bit easier to trade as his deal goes along, but the bottom line is that those contracts are still pretty scary.

The Sharks are making big bets on some aging core pieces remaining difference-makers for the long-term. Martin Jones turned 28 on Jan. 10 and will see his contract extension ($5.75M cap hit through 2023-24) kick in next season.

When you consider how sneaky-old Joe Pavelski is (33 already, only two years remaining on his deal) and Joe Thornton‘s shrinking window either as a difference-maker or as a difference-maker with the Sharks, you could practically hear the ominous music kick in.

Now, sure, some of this comes down to “the cost of doing business.”

That said, the Sharks likely weighed concerns about Martin’s age and dug themselves a hole with his contract, anyway. Such concerns may only become more abundant over the next few years.

For San Jose, the hope is that Father Time merely shows up late.

UPDATE: The Sharks placed Martin on waivers Monday afternoon.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.