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Don’t Expect Will Smith To Sign With Sharks This Season



Credit: Boston College/Meg Kelly

Don’t expect Will Smith to sign with the San Jose Sharks before the end of this season.

There’s no real reason for him to rush.

If Smith were to sign with the Sharks now and appear in their last regular season game on Mar. 18 against the Calgary Flames, his entry-level contract would “slide” into next season.

Because he’s 19, he’s too young to “burn” a year off his ELC, unlike older NCAA counterparts who just signed, like Boston College teammate Cutter Gauthier, 20, with the Anaheim Ducks, and future San Jose Sharks teammate Collin Graf, 21.

So the only real reason for Smith to sign right now is to get his NHL debut out of the way, that’s about it. But that should be coming anyway for the fourth-overall pick of the 2023 Draft, who just enjoyed a dominating freshman campaign with the Eagles.

Coming off a tough 2-0 loss in the NCAA championship game to the University of Denver on Saturday, and with just one contest left in the San Jose Sharks’ calendar after tonight, it’s understandable for Smith to instead take the time to decide his next step.

There’s recent precedent for this: NCAA stars Trevor Zegras and Logan Cooley, then 19, both took their time before signing with their respective NHL squads.

In 2020, Zegras’s year with Boston University ended on Mar. 7. And while he signed with the Anaheim Ducks just three weeks later, he didn’t start playing for the Ducks organization until the next season.

In 2023, Cooley, like Smith, lost the national championship game in April. The University of Minnesota star, who fell short to Graf’s Quinnipiac, didn’t sign with the Arizona Coyotes until July.

Now this doesn’t mean that Smith will sign with the San Jose Sharks in the coming weeks, like fellow freshmen Zegras and Cooley did with their respective NHL sides.

But point is, there’s no hurry.

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