Mario Ferraro

Report: Maple Leafs have trade interest in Sharks' Ferraro, Kunin

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While it already has been reported that the Sharks are open for business ahead of the March 8 NHL trade deadline, it looks like San Jose could get a nice return for a couple of their players on the block.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have interest in defenseman Mario Ferraro and center Luke Kunin, and "are more likely to move a first-round pick" for a player under contract, The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta reported Tuesday. Ferraro signed a four-year, $13 million Sharks contract in 2022, while Kunin remains under team control after this season as a restricted free agent.

"Including a first-rounder in a package could be of interest to both clubs," Pagnotta said of the Sharks and Maple Leafs. "I’d also throw the Edmonton Oilers in the mix for both players, as well. In either Toronto or Edmonton’s case, a contract or two would have to go back San Jose’s way to make the finances work."

In 50 games during the 2023-24 NHL season, Ferraro has tallied 14 points on one goal and 13 assists with a plus/minus rating of minus-22. San Jose's top defenseman leads the team in hits (632) since his NHL debut in 2019 -- but the current state of the Sharks means even stars like Ferraro are on the trade table.

Ferraro said in December that he doesn't want San Jose to trade him, citing "unfinished business."

"This organization has done so much for me, right?" Ferraro told San Jose Hockey Now. "I feel like I still owe them and the fans."

The Nashville Predators traded Kunin to the Sharks in July 2022, in exchange for John Leonard and a 2023 third-round pick. He was the first player trade of Mike Grier's Sharks tenure, and it appears as if the general manager could make quite the return on investment for the center, who is tied for the third-most goals on the team with eight.

But there's no telling if San Jose will be able to hash out a deal for either player, let alone the other four players on expiring contracts Pagnotta expects to be dealt at the deadline -- Anthony Duclair, Mike Hoffman, Alexander Barabanov and Kevin Labanc.

The Sharks' price tags on those players are "steep," per Pagnotta, as none are rentals are thus hold a substantially higher value.

With the deadline just over two weeks away, San Jose fans can expect the smoke around these Sharks players to pick up even more soon.

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