The San Jose Sharks have signed depth forward Matthew Nieto to a contract extension for two more seasons through 2022-23. San Jose has not been particularly active as of late, but this could be the first of several offseason moves. Beat writer Curtis Pashelka reported the extension on Monday afternoon.
#SJSharks announce they have re-signed forward Matt Nieto to a two-year contract.
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) June 21, 2021
Sharks and Matt Nieto Agree Extension
2020-21 was easily the worst season of Nieto’s career. He skated in just 28 games while contributing five goals and seven points. The raw production wasn’t down much relative to his career marks, but some of his peripheral stats took a nosedive even from their already-lowly levels. Nieto’s Corsi For fell for the third straight year to 37.9 percent with a -12.6 relative Corsi. However, it is hard to separate the drop in Nieto’s impact from the fact that the Sharks were among the league’s worst teams.
The Sharks originally drafted Nieto in the second round of the 2011 Draft and he debuted in 2013-14. His best stretch as an NHL skater occurred from 2017-18 to 2019-20. That is when the California native posted three consecutive seasons with at least 21 points while skating for the Colorado Avalanche. Overall, Nieto has appeared in 500 regular-season games with 67 goals and 158 points. He also has over 240 hits and blocks.
What This Means
This deal doesn’t do much by itself, but it is one of the few things San Jose can do that doesn’t cost much money for next year. The roster is still extremely bloated and top-heavy, so retaining players like Nieto is vital just to have something resembling a competitive product on the ice. The good thing is that the bottom-six grinder has a chance to do much more than he did in 2020-21 if he can return to full health. He may not bring a scoring punch, but he has been an energetic, penalty-killing skater for his entire career. This could be a savvy move if the team can fill in some of its other holes over the offseason.