Tomas Hertl Appears To Be On San Jose's Trade Block... And Every Contending Team Should Be In On Him
Hey guys! After recent reports that Tomas Hertl and the San Jose Sharks have not begun contract talks, his rumoured unhappiness with the locker room situation *cough, cough Evander Kane* and insider Kevin Kurcs' leaking of his potential trade cost on The Athletic, it is safe to say Tomas Hertl will likely be traded before the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. But why should your team go after him?!
Even from looking at basic stats alone, people can already see Tomas Hertl is a fantastic player. Despite just coming back from knee surgery and playing for one of the worst finishing teams in the entire NHL (San Jose was bottom-five in Expected Goals minus Actual Goals in the 2019-20 season and were dead last this past season), Hertl managed to average 0.75 points per game (or a 62 point pace) in the past two years. Imagine what he could do on a better team, at full health! We already got a taste of it back in 2018-19 when he tore it up with 74 points in 77 games... maybe he could finally hit that coveted point-per-game mark with a change of scenery!
Advanced Stats and Regularized-Adjusted Plus-Minus:
Hertl's advanced stats should make him even more enticing to teams. When he is on the ice, the Sharks create quality scoring chances (Expected Goals For) at a rate that is 2.5 standard deviations above the mean. That essentially means that Hertl is somewhere within the 97th percentile of NHL players at play-driving and creating quality scoring chances offensively. He also does pretty solidly for himself on the defensive side of the ice, despite being a -18 +/- player not too long ago. Crazy how much your goal differential can deteriorate when you have Martin Jones as your starting goalie, eh?!
Shortcomings and Player Tendencies:
Like all players however, Hertl does have his shortcomings. While he is extremely effective at generating scoring chances once inside the offensive zone, Hertl is not the most skilled transition guy. In fact, according to Corey Sznajder's micro-stats, Hertl is below league average when it comes to controlling zone entries. Therefore, his production is at least partly reliant on his teammates' ability to maintain puck possession entering the offensive blueline. Timo Meier was the Sharks' go-to guy in transition this season with 16.04 controlled entries per 60 minutes and a carry-in percentage of 61%. I also feel it is important to note that Tomas Hertl is much more of a passer than a shooter, although that is more of a stylistic observation than anything.
Where I Feel Hertl Would Fit Best:
In my opinion, the team that would be the best fit for Hertl (and vice versa) is the Boston Bruins. Looking to maximize the last few years of their cup contention window, the Bruins acquired scoring middle-six center, Erik Haula. That being said, you and I both know he is not the second-line center of a Stanley Cup-winning team. Depending how the standings shake out in the Atlantic, I wouldn't be surprised if Don Sweeney found a way to flip a first-round pick and either John Beecher/Jack Studnicka for Hertl.
For Boston, Hertl is a huge upgrade on Haula (or even on Krejci) at 2C, and he would be the perfect player to play between Taylor Hall and Craig Smith. Hall and Smith are two of the higher volume shooters in the league (with above average finishing) who would greatly benefit from Hertl's playmaking ability. In addition, where Hertl falls short in transition, Hall excels- (20.15 entries per 60 minutes with a 65% carry-in percentage). On paper, everything just seems to fit together so perfectly! I'd absolutely love to see it!
🏆🔥 What do you guys think of Tomas Hertl?! Would you like to see your team go after him this Trade Deadline?! Make sure to let me know in the comment section below! 🔥🏆