Aaron Dell glad he remains with San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE — Sharks goalie Aaron Dell took a wait-and-see approach ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

Now with a little more than a month left in the regular season and free agency on the horizon, his stance on what might happen in the future hasn’t changed.

“I haven’t really thought about it. I was kind of waiting to see what happened at the trade deadline first,” Dell said Friday. “Now I guess we start discussing that whenever (general manager) Doug (Wilson) wants to do that.”

Friday marks the two-year anniversary of the two-year $3.8 million contract extension Dell signed with the Sharks, giving him some security after years of toiling in hockey’s minor leagues. His long term future with the organization past this year, though, is a bit more uncertain.

Indications are there have so far been no talks of an extension between Dell and the Sharks. There, of course, remains plenty of time to hammer something out between now and July 1 — the start of free agency — if both sides are amenable.

“I’ve never really done it. You have kind of that unknown there,” Dell said about potentially testing the market. “I don’t really know. I would have to see what (Wilson) thinks whenever he decides to talk to me. After that, I guess I can go from there.”

Asked Monday about his pending UFAs, general manager Wilson said the team wants to “make sure we have guys that fit for next September, so we’re evaluating players that fit for next season. There’s some contracts I need to do and explore with some of those guys.

“That’s kind of where we’re at.”

The goaltending question is one Wilson and the Sharks will obviously need to figure out between now and the start of training camp in the fall, although the tandem of Dell and Martin Jones have played better in recent weeks and months under the tutelage of goaltending coach Evgeni Nabokov.

Even with losses in his last three starts, Dell has a respectable .913 save percentage since Dec. 11. Jones, who has four more years on his contract after this one, has been solid of late as well, with a .938 save percentage in four games this month.

Jones will start again Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins after he made 21 saves in the Sharks’ 3-2 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

But can the Sharks count on their goalies to continue their upward trajectory, or do they seek outside help for a position that’s been problematic since the fall of 2018? The Sharks might be in a cap crunch again this offseason, too, and re-signing Dell might be less expensive than bringing in a experienced free agent.

For his part, Dell sounds like someone who doesn’t want to go anywhere.

“I would do that,” he said. “(Jones) and I have a great relationship. He’s here for a few more years, too. I like him. He likes me. It’s been good.”

The Sharks traded defenseman Brenden Dillon and forward Patick Marleau, but have six other players who are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer, including Dell.

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