The playoffs are still going, but the San Jose Sharks are already locking up their restricted free agents.
Two weeks ago, they inked Joel Kellman to a two-year contract with a $750K cap hit.
Of course, that’s just the beginning: Jonathan Dahlen, Jayden Halbgewachs, Kevin Labanc, Maxim Letunov, Nicolas Meloche, Jake Middleton, Jeremy Roy, Andrew Shortridge, Tony Sund, Antti Suomela, and Manny Wiederer are all seeking new contracts.
I shook some trees today and got some updates about a few of these RFAs — including one RFA that you might be surprised to see back with San Jose Sharks organization next year.
Of course, the Sharks have already made it clear that Dahlen is their future plans. A source tells me that Jonathan himself feels ready to challenge for a full-time NHL spot soon — which suggests to me that his training this past summer has gone well and he’s made a leap physically. We’ll see after Timra IK’s season ends, possibly around April.
Of course, in terms of San Jose RFAs, all eyes are on Labanc, especially after last year’s below-market agreement. Labanc himself told San Jose Hockey Now two weeks ago that he’s excited to come back. There’s no question that Labanc is a quality talent, the question is, how much do the Sharks believe in him? Do they see him more as a core piece or someone who’s relatively fungible in the big picture?
A source tells me that there hasn’t been contact yet between the San Jose Sharks and Letunov. It doesn’t mean, by any stretch, that Letunov is gone. We’re not even in the off-season yet. But it’ll be interesting to see how the Sharks treat this RFA: Is he a surefire NHL player or an NHL-AHL tweener?
Jeremy Roy/Andrew Shortridge/Antti Suomela
No new updates on this trio, but as I reported in July, all three RFAs were recently on the trade block:
Source tells me impending #SJSharks RFAs Antti Suomela, Jeremy Roy & Andrew Shortridge have been on the trade block recently. Nick DeSimone too (contract expires after 20-21).
Doesn't mean they aren't coming back, but fair to say it's an open question.
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) July 10, 2020
I wouldn’t expect any of them back, perhaps Suomela as a shuttle guy. But I don’t think the organization as a whole regards Suomela as a full-time NHL player.
I’m actually surprised that Sund hasn’t signed anywhere in Finland or abroad yet. So he’s still San Jose property at the moment. Regardless, based on what San Jose Sharks scout Tomi Kallio said about Sund in August, there’s no reason to expect him to return.
A source tells me to expect Wiederer back with the Sharks organization. Coming off his entry-level contract, I’d guess Wiederer will sign a contract with the Barracuda. What might have been telling? Two months ago, when San Jose Hockey Now revealed the Barracuda’s Average Time on Ice (courtesy of InStat Hockey), a key observation was that Wiederer’s ice time jumped over two minutes between Roy Sommer’s tenure as head coach and Jimmy Bonneau/Michael Chiasson’s.
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