These might not be the signings that San Jose Sharks fans are looking for, but both Kurtis Gabriel and Jaycob Megna will bring a lot to the organization.
The Sharks have liked Gabriel for a while, so they signed him to a one-year, $700K contract. He’s played 38 career NHL games with Minnesota and New Jersey.
“He is a great teammate who brings an extremely competitive, hard-working attitude on the ice,” San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a press release.
An NHL scout told San Jose Hockey Now: “I like him. He plays with bite, got some toughness, and he’s smart enough on how to use it. He was good whenever I’ve seen him. He skates pretty well, he’s only got average skills, but he can play in the top-12 and you’re not afraid to use him.”
Another NHL scout, however, when asked what 6-foot-4 winger would bring to the NHL level, just commented, “Not much.”
On the balance, Gabriel has a chance to provide solid fourth-line minutes for the Sharks in a pinch and should be a valuable member of the San Jose Barracuda. The 27-year-old also drops the gloves willingly: Per Hockey Fights, he’s gotten into 62 fights over a seven-year professional career.
Anyway, that’s just on the ice.
Off the ice, Gabriel’s willingness to embrace social change is a welcome antidote to hockey’s “monoculture”. Just check out his Twitter, Gabriel hasn’t been the least bit shy when talking about the importance of mental health, racial justice, and LGBTQ advocacy.
Gabriel is also the first NHL player to use Pride Tape in an actual game, as opposed to just in warm-ups, which has been the league-wide norm.
Jaycob Megna has also received rave reviews from outside the San Jose Sharks organization.
“I would have loved to have him back with us,” Chicago Wolves GM Wendell Young told SJHN.
The 6-foot-6 defenseman has played 43 career NHL games, all with Anaheim. This is a one-year contract signed with the San Jose Barracuda, terms were not disclosed.
Last year was Megna’s first year in Chicago under head coach Rocky Thompson — Thompson, now the San Jose Sharks’ associate coach — and the 27-year-old lefty made an indelible impression, earning an “A”.
“He is a top-rate person. One of the best. Low-maintenance, just played huge minutes for us every night,” Young said. “Does everything right without flash, you basically don’t notice him for that reason. Probably our top-minute guy.”
Another scout added: “Megna could end up playing for the Sharks.”
That’s possible — though a little complicated — because the blueliner is signed with the Barracuda.
“Got good size and hockey sense. Sees the ice well to make plays,” the scout offered. “Skating isn’t a problem because of his reach.”
This scout isn’t sure why Megna hasn’t received more of a look in the NHL: “I like him a lot.”