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Hertl Explains Why He Chose To Leave Sharks for Golden Knights



Credit: Vegas Golden Knights

Even Tomas Hertl’s mom didn’t know, in advance, that he was getting traded.

That’s how top-secret the San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights were able to keep perhaps the surprise trade of the year.

Golden Knights, Sharks Started Talking Hertl Trade Before All-Star Break

But now the cat’s out of the bag, Hertl’s mega-watt smile is also back.

It’s been a tough five years in San Jose for Hertl, since the last time the Sharks made the playoffs in 2019.

“After the season, you’re out [of the playoffs]. It gets every year like harder and harder, especially this year,” Hertl told Vegas media today.

The Sharks have gone from the 2019 Western Conference Finals to mediocre also-rans to one of the worst teams of the salary cap era this season.

Hertl, who inked an eight-year, $65.1 million extension with the San Jose Sharks in Mar. 2022, was hoping for a quick turnaround and not a rebuild.

But it didn’t happen, so Hertl, armed with a full No-Movement Clause, left the only place that’s he’s called home over his decade-long NHL career for the Sharks’ most bitter rivals.

“It, for sure, was tough to leave San Jose, but I couldn’t say no,” Hertl said. “I’m now in my 30’s, I think I still have a lot to bring, and San Jose is just in a different spot.”

That’s obvious enough in the standings, and also when Hertl walked into the defending champs’ locker room for the first time. Hertl, currently recovering from minor knee surgery, says he hopes to hit the ice again in two weeks, in preparation for building himself up for the beginning of the post-season.

“When I met all the guys, I was so used to being the tallest guy. I would come here and everybody’s the same height, even taller,” he said, joking not joking. “When it’s playoffs and when it matters, it’s a big thing, when you have good skill and powerful and big guys.”

It’s not quite Derek Jeter leaving the New York Yankees for the Boston Red Sox in his prime, but for San Jose Sharks fans, it’s got to feel pretty close.

But for Hertl, Vegas should feel like home pretty quick. He played with Golden Knights assistant coach Joel Ward on the Sharks from 2015 to 2018, and his wife Aneta is close to Ward’s wife.

“Things change,” Hertl said, admitting that, human nature, he’s been looking for greener pastures going back to last summer. And who could blame him?

“I think always in my mind that Vegas is such a good team, it would be fun to be a part of it.”

Why Sharks Couldn’t Refuse Golden Knights’ Hertl Offer

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