Sharks

Gustav Nyquist fitting in on Sharks ahead of Stanley Cup playoffs push

Gustav Nyquist fitting in on Sharks ahead of Stanley Cup playoffs push

Gustav Nyquist created plenty of buzz the Sunday night before the NHL trade deadline when the Sharks acquired him from the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, the 29-year-old forward -- who before now had never been traded through his entire hockey career -- has worked to acclimate to his new team.

That work paid off on the scoresheet Tuesday in Winnipeg, as the Swedish winger had two goals in San Jose's big 5-4 victory over the Jets. Nyquist has tallied four points in seven games with the Sharks, and generated some grade-A looks around the net that haven’t gone in.

For a player who’s been with a new team fewer than 10 games after leaving the only organization he's ever known, Nyquist already is gelling quite nicely -- and his contributions are coming in at an important time for the Sharks.

“He’s a puck hound out there,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after the win. “Smart player, fits with our group, and the guys like to play with him.”

You really have to hand it to Nyquist for stepping up at a time when the team is dealing with some adversity. Sure, it might not look like it, given that San Jose currently sits atop the Western Conference standings. But since Nyquist has joined the Sharks, three key players have been sidelined with injuries -- All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson, winger Evander Kane and blueliner Radim Simek, who was hurt in the first period Tuesday. Plus, the Sharks fought off a flu bug that went around the dressing room during their last homestand.

For a new player to mesh with a group despite those obstacles is nothing short of impressive. 

“He’s an established guy, he’s an elite player, he’s great,” defenseman Brent Burns said in short about Nyquist acclimating to the team.

With a number of ailments keeping certain players out of the lineup, Nyquist has bounced around and played with different players over the short span of time he has worn teal. Nevertheless, the winger has looked comfortable in every spot in which he’s played.

When reporters in Winnipeg asked him about fitting in with the group so quickly, Nyquist was quick to compliment the level of talent he’s surrounded with in the Sharks' dressing room. 

“They’re all really good players on this team,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve joined a new team, playing differently. Playing with really good players out there makes it a lot easier, I think.”

Moving forward, that ease should turn itself into more goals. The Sharks have just 12 regular-season games left and are trying to hold onto that top spot in the standings, all while getting healthy and ready for a deep playoff run.

[RELATED: Why one Sharks fan made Karlsson pitch with parody song]

San Jose is lucky to play eight of its last 12 regular-season contests on home ice, where the Sharks have had a lot of success. But they’ll still have to defeat heavy-hitting squads such as the Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames. Those same Flames are only one point back in the standings.

If there’s a good time for a new player like Nyquist to heat up and make big contributions, that time most certainly is now.

Sharks' Tomas Hertl explains funny, simple reason why he wears No. 48

Sharks' Tomas Hertl explains funny, simple reason why he wears No. 48

Tomas Hertl has a huge year ahead of him. As he returns from ACL and MCL surgery, he and his wife Aneta are expecting the birth of their first child in November.

Sharks fans everywhere can't wait for No. 48 to get back on the ice. But how did he pick that number? It’s quite simple.

“They give it to me,” he wrote in a recent NHLPA questionnaire.

Enough said.

But before Hertl was the Sharks’ All-Star center, he had other aspirations.

Believe it or not, he wrote in the questionnaire that he wanted to be an architect if he wasn’t going to be a hockey player. But he was born to play hockey.

His dad, Jaroslav, during the winter in his native in Prague, would create nets (measuring the perfect size) on the frozen ponds near where he lived. Hertl’s dad would even kick off skaters if they were recreationally using the area where he wanted to play hockey.

[RELATED: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in 2020 NHL Draft lottery]

As much as Hertl could have thrived as an architect, his career as a hockey star was destined.

NHL, NHLPA agree to four-year CBA extension through 2025-26 season

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USATSI

NHL, NHLPA agree to four-year CBA extension through 2025-26 season

While MLB and the MLB Players Association spent the last few months bickering, the NHL and its Players Association used the last few weeks to hammer out a new CBA.

On Monday, the two sides announced that they had agreed to a memorandum of understanding for a new four-year extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If ratified this week, the CBA would run through the 2025-26 NHL season, and expire Sept. 15, 2026.

The NHL and NHLPA also were able to iron out details for the season restart, but because the Sharks aren't heading to one of the two hub cities, that part doesn't really affect them.

TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Sunday that part of the new CBA stipulated that the 2020-21 salary cap would be frozen at $81.5 million, and wouldn't rise until the league reached $4.8 billion in hockey-related revenue.

The Sharks have a lot of free-agent decisions to make this offseason, so a salary-cap freeze doesn't help them.

According to CapFriendly.com, the Sharks will enter the offseason with $14,881,667 in cap space. But with Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson, Stefan Noesen, Aaron Dell and three other players hitting unrestricted free agency, San Jose might not be able to bring all of them back.

Additionally, Kevin Labanc headlines the Sharks' four restricted free agents. General manager Doug Wilson is going to have a tough time re-signing everyone.

[RELATED: Could Burns be left unprotected for expansion draft?]

If you're keeping track, that's 11 unrestricted or restricted free agents with just under $15 million in cap space to sign them. A few players probably aren't returning next season.

While the Sharks have their work cut out for them this offseason, the league and the Players Association took care of business well ahead of time.