The San Jose Sharks have extended goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to a two-year contract extension. Kahkonen, along with a fifth-round pick, was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Jacob Middleton on March 21st. The 25-year-old played in 36 NHL games this season, split between Minnesota (25), and San Jose (11). Kahkonen was drafted 109th overall by Minnesota in the 2014 NHL entry draft.
Kahkonen's re-signed ✍️
We've re-signed goaltender @KaapoKahkonen to a two-year contract.
More: https://t.co/u5YW5IdiPj pic.twitter.com/OTWwwEM6od
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) July 18, 2022
Kaapo Kahkonen Signs Contract
The Helsinki native has maintained impressive stats throughout his first two full professional seasons. His career .908 save percentage is decent. However, this season’s SV% of .912 (.910 in Minnesota, and .916 in San Jose) was very impressive. The goaltender made NHL history during the 2020-21 season, with a rookie-record nine-game winning streak. With Kahkonen now signed, it is assumed that one of James Reimer or Adin Hill will be traded.
Kahkonen’s two-year contract carries an annual average value of $2,750,000. The deal will pay him $2,600,000 in 2022-23, and $2,900,000 in 2023-24. He will expire as an unrestricted free agent. Kahkonen filed for arbitration Wednesday, however, the two sides came to terms quickly.
What This Means
Sharks general manager Mike Grier has expressed his excitement over the deal: “Kaapo has shown potential to be a number one goaltender in the NHL, and impressed us when he joined our team in the last part of the season,”. Whichever of San Jose’s other two goalies ends up in tandem with Kahkonen, it is likely he will be competing for the starting role. On a San Jose team who is lacking identity, with star defenseman Brent Burns being traded this week, Kahkonen is part of an exciting group of young players San Jose hopes to build around. Having traded the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft to Arizona for picks 27, 34, and 45, there is a lot of new blood entering the Sharks organization. This includes GM Mike Grier who was hired days before the draft.
Whatever the Sharks commit to, Kahkonen fits the mould as a young and talented player. The Brent Burns move does show that the Grier era in San Jose will bring some very impactful moves to the team that has stayed relatively stagnant since a 2016 Stanley Cup Finals appearance.