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Why Did Gambrell Cost Sharks So Much?



The San Jose Sharks have re-signed Dylan Gambrell.

Per Cap Friendly, the 24-year-old RFA has been inked to a one-year, $1.1 million dollar contract.

“Dylan appeared in his first full-time role last season with us and showed he is a reliable player,” San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a press release. “He played in a lot of different situations and utilized his speed to be an effective player.”

Gambrell should fulfill the San Jose Sharks’ expansion draft exposure requirements: They must expose at least two eligible forwards, one eligible defenseman, and one eligible goalie to the Seattle Kraken.

Eligible forwards and defensemen must be under contract for the 2021-22 season and have played 27 or more NHL games last year or at least 54 games over the past two years.

The San Jose Sharks currently have just seven forwards on their roster who meet exposure requirements: Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, Matt Nieto, and now, Gambrell.

San Jose Hockey Now projects that Couture, Kane, Meier, Hertl, and Labanc will be protected, along with unsigned RFA Rudolfs Balcers and prospect Jonathan Dahlen. That leaves Nieto and Gambrell to fulfill expansion requirements up front.

Defenseman Radim Simek and goaltender Martin Jones are the qualified players also expected to be exposed. Seattle may also opt to select unsigned RFA Ryan Donato.

Some are up at arms about Gambrell’s relative cost.

I agree it’s a little bit high, but I have a theory: Besides the aforementioned forwards, RFA Donato and UFAs Marcus Sorensen and Patrick Marleau were the Sharks’ only other qualified forwards.

Remember, if the Kraken pass, you’re stuck with the player.

Donato is coming off a $1.9 million dollar contract; since the San Jose Sharks are probably moving on from him, you don’t want to be on the hook for that if Seattle doesn’t choose him. Sorensen and Marleau also don’t appear to be in San Jose’s plans, and they may not want to be back either — in case you were thinking the Sharks could sign say Sorensen to the veteran’s minimum and bury him with the Barracuda.

Doug Wilson also could’ve swung a trade for a forward outside of the organization who meets exposure demands — like the Dylan Wells deal — but that would’ve cost something too.

So Gambrell had some leverage — you could’ve played hardball with him and shaved $100K or so off his contract if you sign him later — but that wouldn’t help you with this Saturday’s protection list.

You can also apply the same theory to Nieto: He signed for two years, $1.7 million. Perhaps that extra guaranteed year was Nieto’s reward for signing early?

Also relevant to Gambrell and Nieto: I don’t think the San Jose Sharks will mind if they’re back with the organization next year too. There’s a place for both, unlike Donato, Sorensen, and Marleau.

On the other hand, “mid-August” appears to be the deadline to re-sign Balcers — the surest sign that the San Jose Sharks intend to protect the winger i.e. there’s no rush to sign him so they can expose him by this Saturday.

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