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What Will Hertl’s Next Contract Look Like?

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What will Tomas Hertl’s next contract look like?

We might have got a sneak peek yesterday when Philadelphia signed Sean Couturier to an eight-year, $62 million dollar contract.

Why is this Flyer’s contract a reasonable comp for the San Jose Sharks star?

Both Hertl and Couturier are number-one centers entering their UFA walk years.

Both are close in age — 2011 first-round pick Couturier is 28, 2012 first-round pick Hertl is 27.

Both entered their scoring prime in their age-25 seasons. Since 2017-18, Couturier has averaged 0.91 Points Per Game. Since 2018-19, Hertl has averaged 0.87 Points Per Game.

It’s not a perfect comp — Couturier won the Selke Trophy in 2020, was the runner-up in 2018, and has five top-10 Selke finishes on his resume. Hertl is a decent two-way center, but he’s definitely more offensively-oriented.

This is reflected in their usage: Couturier has skated 20:56 a game since 2017-18, Hertl 18:54 since 2018-19. Couturier is one of just 18 forwards who have averaged more than 20 minutes a night over the last four years.

So we should expect Hertl to come in at a lower rate than Couturier. Similar age and productivity, but Couturier is an elite defensive pivot, Hertl is not.

Couturier also doesn’t have Hertl’s major injury history.

The question for the San Jose Sharks, do they want to invest eight years and say $56 million in Hertl? On one hand, it’s certainly a reasonable rate — it appears that the pandemic has lowered the going rate on players in general. Before the cap starts going up again, it makes sense to take advantage. On the other hand, the Sharks are locked into a bevy of long, expensive contracts with older players — do they really want to take on another?

Previously, sources had suggested to San Jose Hockey Now that the Sharks view Hertl as a long-term piece a la Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture — that their alternate captain is not just a player, he’s a culture-setter and a leader.

That the San Jose Sharks didn’t move him at the Trade Deadline, when his value was at perhaps its apex, suggests as much:

Could Hertl Be Traded? Teams Are Asking | SJHN+

That said, things are curiously quiet on the Hertl front right now. We’ll see if that changes soon.

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