Sharks

Sharks sign Vlasic, Jones to long-term extensions

Sharks sign Vlasic, Jones to long-term extensions

Doug Wilson’s top offseason priority is done.
 
The Sharks have signed defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to an eight-year contract extension, and goalie Martin Jones to a six-year extension. Vlasic’s deal with worth $56 million ($7 million per season), while Jones’ is worth $34.5 million ($5.75 per season).

Vlasic will earn $7.25 million for each of the first six years of the deal, $7 million in 2024-25, and $5.5 million in 2025-26. Jones will earn $6.75 million for the first two seasons, $6 million in 2020-21, $5.5 in 2021-22, $5 million in 2022-23, and $4.5 million in the final year. Both contracts include modified no-trade clauses.
 
Both players, who will enter the last season of their current deals in 2017-18 and would have been unrestricted free agents next summer, made it known after the season that they preferred to remain in San Jose long term.
 
Vlasic, 30, has played his entire career in San Jose and has developed into one of the league’s premier shutdown defensemen. He has 254 points (53g, 201a) and a plus-129 rating in 812 career games with San Jose over 11 seasons, and was a part of Canada’s gold medal-winning Olympic team in 2014.
 
"We're thrilled we could get this extension done early and ensure one of the League's top defensemen will remain in San Jose for the long term," Wilson said in a statement. "Both Marc-Edouard and Hasso Plattner stepped forward and committed to get this deal done now, and this helps solidify our blue line for years to come. Marc-Edouard has been an integral part of this team, both on and off the ice, and we are excited to have him in San Jose for at least the next eight years."
 
Jones, 27, has established himself as one of the NHL’s better starting goaltenders in his two seasons in San Jose. He was acquired from Boston for a first round pick and a prospect on June 30, 2015.
 
A risk for the Sharks at the time due of the deal to his inexperience as a starter, the move has paid off for both team and Jones, who is 76-42-10 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in his two seasons in San Jose.
 
"We're very happy we could get this extension done with Martin and feel that he is just beginning to hit his peak in terms of growth and prime playing seasons," Wilson said. "He has proven that he is more than capable of excelling in high-pressure situations and big games, and we feel he has become one of the top goaltenders in the League. He is a calming influence in net for our team and we're excited to have him in net for us for the foreseeable future.”

Sharks to open second round Thursday

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AP

Sharks to open second round Thursday

The Sharks know when they'll open the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. T

San Jose will face off against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the second round at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday, April 26 in Sin City, the NHL announced Tuesday. The league also announced start dates for the three other second-round series, but did not announce any games beyond that.

Game 2 will "likely" occur Saturday at 5 p.m, according to Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. 

Game 1 will be televised on NBCSN. Sharks Playoff Central will air on NBC Sports California at 6:30 p.m. leading up to puck drop, with a postgame edition to follow after the final horn on the same channel. 

Red-hot Sharks power play, Golden Knights penalty kill on collision course

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AP

Red-hot Sharks power play, Golden Knights penalty kill on collision course

The Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights were the first two teams to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The former's power play, and the latter's penalty kill were among the chief reasons why. 

This postseason, San Jose's power play (30 percent) and Vegas' penalty kill (92.3 percent) are third-best and best in the respective categories. The Sharks haven't played in nearly a week, but have still scored the second-most power play goals (six) in the first round as of Tuesday. The Golden Knights haven't played in exactly a week, and have still given up the fewer power play goals (one)  than every team, save for the Los Angeles Kings, who they swept in the first round. 

On the season, the San Jose power play and the Vegas penalty kill were among the better units in the league in terms of underlying numbers, but really improved down the stretch. Over their last 25 regular season games and the first round, the Sharks attempted shots (117.15 corsi-for per hour) and generated expected goals (9.13 expected goals-for per hour)) at rates that would have ranked second in each area on the whole season, according to Corsica Hockey.

During the Golden Knights' final 25 regular season games and first four playoff games, their penalty kill suppressed shot attempts (92.8 corsi-against per hour), shots (49.97 shots-against per hour), and expected goals (5.9 expected goals-against per hour) at rates that would have ranked second, fourth, and first, respectively, this past season.

In the first round, the results finally caught up to the underlying numbers for both teams. San Jose converted on only 13 percent of its power plays in the final 25 games of the regular season, while Vegas killed off 80.8 percent of its opponents' power plays. As is so often the case, the improvements were owed at least in part to better finishing and goaltending. 

The Sharks scored on 9.71 percent of their five-on-four shots down the stretch, compared to 14.71 percent in the first round. Marc-Andre Fleury posted a .952 four-on-five save percentage in the first round, compared to the .859 that he and backup Malcolm Subban combined for in the final 25 games. 

San Jose's power play and Vegas' penalty kill are red-hot, but those results are largely deserved based on each group's play down the stretch. Which unit has the edge just may swing the series, considering how tight the Sharks and Golden Knights played each other during the regular season. 

Three of four games were decided by a goal, and two went to overtime. The fourth was decided by two, only because of an empty-netter. 

The margins are so thin, including in the crease, that the outcome of this special teams battle could determine which team advances to the Conference Finals.