Pierre LeBrun reported today that the San Jose Sharks have re-signed RFA Kevin Labanc to a four-year, $18.9 million dollar contract. That’s a 4.725 million dollar cap hit.
“Kevin brings a rare level of offensive skill and creativity to our line-up and has established himself as a top-six forward in our league,” San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a press release. “His Game 7 playoff performance last season is one of the most iconic moments in Sharks history and is a perfect example of the impact he can have on a hockey game. Kevin has shown a consistent ability to perform at a high level in both the regular season and the playoffs and he will be a big part of our club in the coming years.”
“Banker adds some important ingredients to our lineup, especially with how we want to play going forward,” San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said. “His creativity makes him a player that other teams have to be aware of and we’re excited to see that on display at both five-on-five and on the power play.”
From what I understand — and you can guess based on the size of this contract — the San Jose Sharks are rewarding Labanc more for his breakout 56-point 2018-19 campaign, and calling something of a mulligan on his tough 2019-20 season. In fairness to Labanc, the entire Sharks team struggled this year.
This contract is probably also something of a “make up” for the record-setting low contract that Labanc signed last summer. The 24-year-winger himself has called the one-year, $1 million dollar deal a “big favor”:
More on this story as it develops. Both Wilson and Labanc should be available to the media shortly.
Agent on UFA Gridlock, Gambrell & Kellman on Jumbo’s Departure
The free agency gridlock is real — and according to an agent, there’s no end in the sight.
It’s not just the money being handed out, or lack thereof, it’s also the rush, or lack thereof, to sign guys.
To illustrate, 19 days into free agency, six of TSN’s final top-20 free agents are still on the board: Mike Hoffman, Erik Haula, Corey Perry, Mikael Granlund, Anthony Duclair, and Sami Vatanen.
Last summer, just two of TSN’s top-20 were available after 12 days of free agency: Ben Hutton and Jake Gardiner.
“The length of time until the season starts is probably affecting [this off-season’s free agents],” an agent told San Jose Hockey Now. “There’s not much rush right now since who knows when NHL camps even open?”
This is on top of revenue concerns that every organization is facing.
So the teams are in no rush to commit — and in some cases, the players aren’t either.
This particular agent agreed that players might see better offers once there’s more certainty with when the 2020-21 season will begin.
So while we know there are multiple teams in on the likes of Hoffman, Haula, and Conor Sheary, it might be a while yet before all these dominos fall.
No Conor Sheary Update
Speaking of Sheary, San Jose Hockey Now broke last week that the San Jose Sharks were talking to his camp.
At the moment, however, SJHN doesn’t have an additional Sheary update.
That’s no surprise. It is, after all, an unusually stagnant market.
Gambrell, Kellman on Thornton
A week and a half ago, when Joe Thornton left the San Jose Sharks for Toronto, San Jose Hockey Now reached out to a few Sharks to ask them about Jumbo’s departure.
Kevin Labanc was quick to reply; over the last week, a couple more Sharks have responded.
Dylan Gambrell texted: “Huge loss, big presence, and has been such a key piece for the Sharks for a very long time. Someone I looked up to very much and learned a ton from.
“I wish him nothing but the best and you can ask just about anyone how much he’ll be missed. With that said, it’s up to us as a team to step up and make up for that presence going forward and I know we have the guys in the locker room to do that.”
Gambrell, who the San Jose Sharks hope can step up to help fill Thornton’s void on the ice, has spent most of the last half-year in Denver. The 24-year-old forward plans to be in San Jose in about a week, to join the likes of Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, and Labanc, who have been skating together.
Meanwhile, over 5,000 miles away, Joel Kellman won’t be back soon — he’s playing for Allsvenskan’s Kristianstads IK right now.
Kellman messaged SJHN about the San Jose Sharks legend: “I was so happy I got to play with him for a couple months! He was just a true professional, always working hard on and off the ice. That’s why he’s been good for so many years.”
Meeting Mr. Robins
Erik and JD look into the second of the San Jose Sharks’ two second-round draft picks, Tristen Robbins. We review his statistical profile and where he lands on some draft models. Then, we look at his tape to determine his strengths and weaknesses (8:00) as well as why his numbers exploded over the second half of the season. We finish by looking at his timeline for making the NHL (18:00). Check out the podcast on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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