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EXCLUSIVE: Ferraro’s Agent Says “Mario Would Like to Stay Long-Term” with Sharks

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Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The San Jose Sharks love Mario Ferraro and Ferraro loves San Jose.

The Sharks named the 23-year-old alternate captain before this season, an impressive feat for a player in just his third season in San Jose.

“Mario is that connector between [the young guys and the old guys],” San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said then. “For a young team, you need a leader like Mario where the young guys feel comfortable going to him with things. It’s just a perfect choice.”

Ferraro also happens be one of just seven 23-or-under defensemen who average over 23 minutes a night. At 23:29, he’s in league with Quinn Hughes, Adam Fox, Rasmus Dahlin, Miro Heiskanen, Cale Makar, and Jakob Chychrun.

That’s a pretty impressive resume for a third-year defenseman who’s about to become a restricted free agent.

So what should the San Jose Sharks pay Mario Ferraro?

Well, first things first: Ferraro wants to stay. Ferraro’s agent Peter Wallen told San Jose Hockey Now today, “Mario would like to stay long-term with the Sharks.”

He also added that the Sharks haven’t opened up contract negotiations yet.

What that contract will look like might be murky.

It’s actually hard to find a comp for Ferraro — there haven’t been a lot of defensive defensemen who have played as much as the impending RFA has in the last season of an entry-level contract. The key word is “defensive” — Hughes, Fox, Dahlin, Heiskanen, Makar, and Chychrun are certainly more offensively-oriented.

So obviously, Ferraro isn’t commanding Fox (seven years, $66.5) or Hughes (six years, $47.1 million) money, for example.

But don’t discount Mario Ferraro’s value either: Interestingly, another Wallen client might provide a framework for a long-term extension that would be fair for Ferraro.

In Oct. 2014, the Minnesota Wild re-signed 21-year-old Jonas Brodin, entering the final year of his ELC, to a six-year, $25 million dollar contract. Like Ferraro, Brodin played a lot (24:10 in the last year of his ELC) and didn’t score much (0.24 Points Per Game for the duration of his ELC). Ferraro, by the way, is at 0.25 PPG for his career right now.

Brodin’s $4,166,667 cap hit was 6.04 percent of the-then $69 million dollar salary cap. So what’s six percent of next year’s 82.5 million dollar cap?

That’s about five million dollars. So does a six-year, $30 million dollar extension sound reasonable for Ferraro? The San Jose Sharks would also be getting two of Ferraro UFA years too, which Minnesota didn’t gain in the Oct. 2014 Brodin pact.

Ferraro’s teammate Marc-Edouard Vlasic might also provide an instructive comp.

In Aug. 2008, the San Jose Sharks re-signed the shutdown defenseman, entering the final year of his ELC, to a four-year, $12.4 million agreement. That was 5.47 percent of a then-$56.7 million salary cap.

That would be, in today’s dollars, roughly a four-year, $18 million dollar extension. If the 23-year-old Ferraro were to sign such a pact, that would take him right up to unrestricted free agency.

Locking up Mario Ferraro will surely be one of the San Jose Sharks’ priorities in the coming months, along with settling impending UFA Tomas Hertl’s situation. Alexander Barabanov and Andrew Cogliano are San Jose’s other significant UFAs, while Jonathan Dahlen and Jake Middleton are the key RFAs.

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