The San Jose Sharks have figured out a hopefully big piece of their blueline next year.
This afternoon, they announced the return of Nikolai Knyzhov, who was set to become a restricted free agent at the end of this year.
Puckpedia had the terms:
The #SJSharks signed 24 y/o LD Knyzhov to 1 year $850K Extension. Missed this season due to injury.
Signing Bonus $100K
10P in 56 GP in 21-22
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) April 1, 2022
This is a prove-it, near-minimum contract, ideal for both sides: The rangy 6-foot-3 Knyzhov emerged as a possible top-four defenseman in his 2020-21 rookie campaign, but he’s been felled by a variety of medical issues this year. He will miss the entirety of the 2021-22 season.
Acting San Jose Sharks GM Joe Will, however, offered a positive prognosis for the 24-year-old rearguard two weeks ago.
“He’s in a pretty good spot,” Will said on Mar. 21. “He went through a lot, and right now is he’s just focusing on his latest surgery, a second surgery, which is classified as a relatively minor procedure. So if everything goes well with that we’ll see when we could get him on the ice. There’s no timetable, but we’re working on that.”
A source tells San Jose Hockey Now that Nikolai Knyzhov should be ready to practice in full as soon as early June, which should put him on target for San Jose Sharks training camp in Sept. 2022.
“Docs are very happy with his current health,” the source noted of Knyzhov’s most recent surgery.
A return to health for Nikolai Knyzhov will be a big boost for a San Jose Sharks blueline that has been wracked by significant injuries this year to Knyzhov, Erik Karlsson, and Mario Ferraro. That’s three of San Jose’s anticipated top-four to start this season.
“Nikolai is a reliable and versatile defenseman who can play in many situations,” Will said in the Sharks press release. “His development through the Barracuda along with his intense work ethic allowed him to matriculate to being an NHL regular.”
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