The San Jose Sharks have re-signed RFA Josef Korenar.
Per Curtis Pashelka, Korenar’s one-year contract is a two-way deal, worth $750,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level, $125,000 guaranteed.
This was expected: The 23-year-old performed competently in his debut NHL season, going 3-5-0 record with an .899 Save %.
“Josef took a big step in his development last season, showing his athleticism and awareness in net while appearing in the NHL for the first time,” San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a press release. “He also delivered a strong performance in the AHL’s Pacific Division playoffs, leading AHL goaltenders in goals-against average and helped the Barracuda to the semifinals.”
What are the expansion draft implications? Maybe nothing. The San Jose Sharks have to expose just one goalie under contract in 2021-22, or an RFA, like Korenar, with an expiring contract.
Before re-signing Korenar, Martin Jones was already eligible for exposure. Clubs aren’t required to protect a netminder.
Bringing Korenar back now, however, opens up the door for the San Jose Sharks to buy Jones out immediately, instead of waiting until after the expansion draft on July 21st. This off-season’s buyout period ends on July 27th at 2 PM PT.
This would also mean exposing Korenar to the Seattle Kraken, but it’s unlikely the Kraken would select him.
That said, it probably makes sense to expose Jones to Seattle, protect Korenar just in case, then buy out Jones after the expansion side passes on Jones’s three years at $5.75 million per remaining on his contract.
As for the rest of the San Jose Sharks’ expansion draft protected list, they probably still need to re-sign one more qualified forward to meet exposure requirements. All franchises except for the Vegas Golden Knights have to expose at least two qualified forwards, one defensemen, and one goalie.
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.
Currently, six San Jose Sharks forwards meet exposure requirements: Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, and Matt Nieto. Unless Doug Wilson has a surprise up his sleeve, I’d expect the first five names protected. That leaves Nieto and another forward for Seattle.
The San Jose Sharks have until this Saturday at 2 PM PT to turn in their protected list. Ryan Donato, Dylan Gambrell, and Rudolfs Balcers are the RFA forwards who meet the games played cut-off; Marcus Sorensen and Patrick Marleau are the UFA forwards.
My guess is they’ll sign Gambrell this week and expose him to the Kraken.
Why Gambrell? Remember, if Seattle passes on your exposed player, you’re stuck with his contract. Balcers is in San Jose’s future plans, so they’ll protect him, while Donato, Sorensen, and Marleau probably aren’t. Gambrell can go either way, and he won’t be as expensive as the qualifying offer on Donato’s $1.9 million contract, so he makes the most sense. You don’t want to be on the hook for Donato’s cap hit if the Kraken pass on him.
Meanwhile, on defense, Radim Simek seems likeliest to be exposed.
So who does Seattle take from Gambrell, Nieto, Simek, and Jones? Or do they grab Donato’s rights? We’ll see soon.
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