The San Jose Sharks have added some depth in the first hours of free agency, with their biggest move perhaps yet to come.
Yesterday, the Sharks didn’t qualify, at over $3 million, just-acquired RFA MacKenzie Blackwood, but that decision was made with an eye toward re-signing the goaltender at a smaller contract figure.
That aim was achieved today as the Sharks inked Blackwood to a two-year, $4.7 million contract ($2.35 million AAV). Blackwood looks like he could team with fellow 26-year-old Kaapo Kahkonen, who’s got one year left on his contract at $2.75 million AAV, between the pipes in San Jose.
“MacKenzie is a big, athletic goaltender with a lot of potential and upside,” San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier said in the team press release.
The San Jose Sharks also signed defenseman Kyle Burroughs to a three-year, $3.3 million contract ($1.1 million AAV). Burroughs, 27, has taken the long way to the NHL, but took on a greater role last season with the Vancouver Canucks.
The physical 6-foot-0 defender’s playing time per night jumped from 12:56 in 2021-22 to 17:22, and he took on a regular penalty-killing shift. He also was familiar with the fisticuffs, racking up eight fights in just 48 games.
“Kyle is a high-character, competitive player who brings several characteristics that we are looking for in a Shark,” Grier said.
The San Jose Sharks also inked another tough guy in winger Givani Smith to a two-year, $1.6 million contract ($800K AAV).
Smith, 25, bounced between the Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings, Charlotte Checkers, and Grand Rapids Griffiths last season, with most of his time on the Panthers, totaling a goal and three assists in 34 games. Smith also managed to get into a playoff game during Florida’s Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final.
In 119 NHL games, the fourth-liner has 19 fights.
“Givani is a big, physical winger with high energy,” Grier noted.
The San Jose Sharks also brought back familiar face Ryan Carpenter, giving him a one-year, two-way contract for $775,000.
Carpenter, now 32, was signed out of Bowling Green by the Sharks in 2014. Since then, he’s played for the Vegas Golden Knights, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, and New York Rangers, accumulating 330 NHL appearances.
In the NHL, he’s a gritty fourth-liner who can kill penalties. In the AHL, he’s a scorer, with 21 goals and 23 assists in 51 games for the Hartford Wolfpack last year.
We’ll see after training camp, but Carpenter could have a huge role with the San Jose Barracuda this season, while also being solid NHL insurance.
But the biggest move may be yet to come. There is clear traction on an Erik Karlsson trade, with the Sharks reportedly giving permission to teams to speak with him about waiving his No-Movement Clause.
The latest I’ve heard, a Karlsson trade wasn’t close, but that was much earlier in the afternoon.
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