The San Jose Sharks keeping Tomas Hertl in the fold is a great start to the Sharks offseason. The restricted free agent signed a cap-friendly bridge deal to stay in San Jose. The two-year, $6 million pact will expire within Hertl’s RFA years, a further advantage for San Jose to keep the talented Czech in teal for the foreseeable future.
San Jose Sharks re-sign Tomas Hertl
Hertl, 22, played the second half of the 2015-16 season on the top line, alongside Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. In 81 games he posted 21 goals and 26 assists, both of which were career highs. In Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final Hertl suffered a leg injury and his absence in the remaining games of the series was noticeable. The Sharks struggled to replace the speed and creativity he brought to the line-up.
Sharks Set the Bar Low
The deal is a great one for the San Jose Sharks organization. Signing Hertl for a $3 million AAV will allow general manager Doug Wilson extra spending money in free agency and helps set a salary benchmark for the other young San Jose forwards. Matthew Nieto is an RFA currently and Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson, and Joonas Donskoi will be after the 2016-17 campaign. Each will now have to justify their contract amounts against the Sharks youngest star, and his team friendly deal signed today.
The 2012 17th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Hertl completed his entry-level contract years with 102 points in 200 NHL contests. He also added 16 points in 27 Stanley Cup Playoff games and is perhaps best known for his four-goal performance against the New York Rangers back in 2013.
Where Does Hertl Play?
There is still some debate on what position Hertl will play next season. Wilson repeatedly stated Hertl is a center of the future for the Sharks, but he has been on the wing his entire NHL career. Hertl won’t be putting Thornton out of a job. Logan Couture is only 26 and was the Sharks best performer in the playoffs as the second-line pivot. With a diminishing Patrick Marleau a more likely candidate for the third-line center role, Hertl staying on the wing helps solidify the line-up. Additionally, it is also best utilizes the speed, hands, and underrated passing he brings to the roster.