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Hertl Wants to Win, Thinks Sharks Want Him Back

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Tomas Hertl just wants to focus on hockey. Of course, that’s not going to be possible this year, with the impending UFA’s contract status hanging over everything.

Hertl, 27, is an almost point-per-game center, strong at both ends and the faceoff circle, who will command a king’s ransom, be it with the San Jose Sharks or from another team. He’s also, by all accounts, a fantastic locker room presence, and among fans, he might be the Sharks’ most popular player.

Hertl spoke to local media for the first time since last May, touching on his recent headline-grabbing Czech language interview, Evander Kane, and whether or not the San Jose Sharks want him back.

Here were some of the highlights — with my takeaways.

Tomas Hertl, on if he’s willing to take less money to play for a contender:

Jumbo was one of the guys, he could take way more money but he takes less because he wants a really good team.

I like that idea. You can go somewhere else, sign the maximum, maybe even too much, but you’re losing for the next eight years. I don’t want to be in this position.

Sheng’s take: I believe Tommy here. I don’t think he’s looking to set the market here or anything. Question is, do the San Jose Sharks look good enough that Hertl would consider staying on? They’ve missed the playoffs for the last two years and are saddled with a host of long-term contracts with aging vets, so probably not. But it’s also not just about this year — can Doug Wilson convince Hertl of San Jose’s long-term plan? Hertl says he and Wilson have yet to sit down and really talk about his contract.

Hertl, on if he feels the San Jose Sharks want him back:

After the end of the season, when I talked with Doug, he likes my game, he wants me to stay here longer. Even my agent said he wants me to stay. So I feel like he likes me and he wants me to stay here.

But we’ll see, end of the day for him, it’s business. He has to make the best decision for his team.

Sheng’s take: This seems to contradict the Czech interview — but is in line with everything that I’ve heard about how the Sharks see Hertl as a culture-driver a la Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski.

Hertl, on locker room issues with Kane last year and whether he’d personally welcome Kane back in the room, if Kane is cleared of sexual assault and domestic violence allegations:

I know guys are talking about it all the time. But what is in our room stays in the room.

He’s still part of the team. It’s up to us to handle stuff, everything in the locker room, so I don’t want to get really deep into it. But everybody wears the same Sharks logo — it’s between 20 guys in the locker room and it’s up to us to be the best for each other.

Sheng’s take: Once again, nobody is stepping up and saying the reports about the internal issues with Kane are untrue.

Hertl, on what gives him hope about this San Jose Sharks team:

I like our young guys. Last year was for a lot of young guys their first couple of games. It wasn’t easy because they don’t have pre-season.

I think Erik feels great. I think everybody in our room right now is healthy, starting with me, Cooch, and Erik. Nobody has an issue — everybody feels great and is ready to go.

We know we can play really good hockey. We still got a lot of good players and now we have to focus.

Sheng’s take: Interesting he mentions Erik Karlsson first — a revived Karlsson would obviously mean the world to this Sharks team. But it’s two years and counting since we’ve seen the artist formerly known as EK65 and he’s not getting any younger.

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dilligaff4444

tommy is super genuine and easy to like type of guy , but a bit naïve imho…. wanting or not wanting a player means very very little. his leadership/ team-passion is valuable in general , but less so on the sharks — we have many guys who are willing to speak up , and ferraro is emerging in the “spirit animal” role… the reason to not sign hertl earlier this year is because of the eichel situation , and if you read between the lines its either tommy gets short term crap money or sign high and long and get… Read more »

whiskerz

Eichel is another guy who doesn’t have the best reputation as a good teammate, not something I want to add to the team long term.
Sharks need to stay the course and see what they have in the roster this season.

Listening to the interviews for the other day, Burns sounds like he’s getting kind of sick of the local media so maybe he will be the first to break and want out if we are bad again

Alicia

I agree. Over the years when I see Brent in front of the media he always seems annoyed – like he wants to just be done with it. That isn’t new, in my opinion. However, he is a professional and he knows that being in front of the media is part of the job. The idea of him in a market like Toronto makes me giggle though! I bet he would HATE that circus!

david barnard

he couldn’t find a softer sports media if he tried. no offense, SP;P

Alicia

I think Eichel would just be another headache that our locker room doesn’t need. Dropping a popular and good player like Hertl for Eichel, who has been battling a shoulder injury and didn’t even bother to try to get on the ice and inspire his team during camp – it just doesn’t seem like a good move to me.

david barnard

JE is 1 bad hit away from a wheel chair.

dilligaff4444

we signed karl (who greatness is/was at least 33% due to skating), after karl admitted his foot would probably never be the same after surgery…and tommy has had his knee problems so not like he can be considered healthy long term either , so not like health has mattered much to doug recently… and locker room wise my guess is the gm will have enough confidence in the cooch+burns+karl+mario core to let them handle it… while clearly not as ideal as drafting a center as a top 8 pick , it is a chance looking at the roster we are… Read more »

Last edited 22 days ago by dilligaff4444
david barnard

they haven’t show a willingness to budge yet. i figure the Sharks have until the TDL to move on Hertl, that would probably be the soonest Eichel could be ready to play IF he even got his surgery right now. i don’t see how the timing works even if they wanted to trade for him.

david barnard

rem when everyone thought that the toxic situation re Matt Duchene in COL meant they’d have to eventually basically give him away for nothing just to clear things up? they dumped Duchene’s 6M contract and picked up: Shane Bowers, Vladislav Kamenev, Samuel Girard, Andrew Hammond, OTT 2019 #4 pick overall (Bowen Byram), OTT 2019 #63 overall (Matt Steinburg), and NSH 2018 #58 overall (Filip Hallander). Byram and Girard are star players for COL. they used Hallander to get two draft picks (Annunen and Zheravlyov). Annunen’s a top goalie prospect with NHL starter upside. Bowers was a former 1st rd pick… Read more »

david barnard

so, DW should pile onto the health ??? and bad bets he’s already made w/JE? Hertl’s been on a value contract since he was drafted, so that’s no great risk. however, the org is at the inflection point with him now. that’s where you have a Bill Walsh moment with yourself as GM. that’s when you make the difficult decision to part ways with player like Hertl and get assets for the future in return. that’s your “sell high, buy low” argument. there are teams that are in “win now” mode, you can potentially trade for not just a 1st… Read more »

dilligaff4444

health is health , ultimately you trust the medical opinion and let it play out .a gm should definitely keep their own opinion on health out of the decision. no ju-ju guesses here for sure. with this sport and concussions always around the corner , long term health is a coin tossup at best . so i am not sure what you mean by “bad bets” , i would say “risky bets” like signing karl with a suspect ankle for way too long and way too much money…. but considering general long term health in hokey , all big signings… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by dilligaff4444
david barnard

well, i guess we can agree Hertl should be traded.

david barnard

just as an example of such a trade, i outlined 1 with Minny last TDL when they looked like they were making a SC push and were thin at top 6 center position (they were using Rask at the time). they could’ve got 2 runs out of Hertl’s current under market deal. they’ve got plenty of assets, incl. 2 young centers in their pipeline that are attractive: Rossi and Khovanov. they also have 3 LW’s: Boldy, Beckman, and Kaprizov. a d-man (Addison) and 2 goalies (Wallstedt and Kahkonen). at the time (last tdl) they also had plenty of high draft… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by david barnard
Michael Trierweiler

Love this guy!

Michael Trierweiler

People that have never been injured to the extent where you can’t do things normally have a hard time seeing that injuries as much as they say they’re ok after one off season can take multiple seasons to get right. Then it takes time to get back to elite levels of play. Barring new injuries I predict a Sharks team that surprises and who knows the subtraction might end up being an addition if you know what I mean.

timorous me

I agree with the sentiment to some extent. The big issue is that the Sharks were already right at the edge of not having enough firepower up front to compete consistently. Take Kane away and the only way, it seems to me, that the team can hang in there is if they play a serious lock-down defending style like what Trotz has set up with the Isles. And considering our defensive personnel, that both doesn’t seem possible nor does it feel like it plays to their strengths.

[…] Tomas Hertl wants to play hockey this season but is still an unrestricted free agent as camp begins. He believes the San Jose Sharks want him back, but would also take less to join a winning team, referencing Joe Thornton and his mindset during free agency. (San Jose Hockey Now) […]

[…] SanJoseHockeyNow: Tomas Hertl just wants to play hockey. The popular Sharks forward will be a UFA at season’s end and he told Sheng Peng that he doesn’t want his future to be a distraction to the present.  […]

[…] Tomas Hertl actually evoked the two-time Norris Trophy winner when talking about the 18-year-old: “He’s one of those guys from Sweden, I think, he has that ability to look left — like Erik — and pass right.” […]

[…] one corner, Pierre LeBrun of TSN said of impending UFA Tomas Hertl: “The Sharks would’ve loved to have extended him this past summer. But my sense is […]

[…] just like our group,” Tomas Hertl said last […]

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