Report: Sharks interested in pair of Atlantic Division centers


Report: Sharks interested in pair of Atlantic Division centers

Although Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Joe Thornton's right MCL injury would "probably not" change their approach at the trade deadline, they were reportedly circling the trade waters during All-Star weekend.

They may be doing something to address Thornton's absence, if a recent report is to be believed. 

The Sharks are interested in trading for Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec, Nick Kypreos reported Saturday night on Sportsnet's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. 

"A lot of people are questioning whether Joe Thornton will be back in time from his MCL surgery to play meaningful games down the stretch," Kypreos said. "Plekanec is the type of guy that can at least keep [the Sharks] in the race."

Plekanec scored 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 54 games entering Saturday. With Plekanec on the ice in five-on-five situations, Montreal has attempted 50.94 percent of the shots, according to Natural Stat Trick. 

Montreal sent scouts to the Sharks' Thursday night loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, and to Saturday's contest against the Edmonton Oilers, the Bay Area News Group's Curtis Pashelka noted this week. Last month, The Athletic's Kevin Kurz reported that Montreal was "regularly" sending scouts to SAP Center. 

The 35-year-old Czech native is in the second year of a two-year deal that carries a $6,000,000 salary cap hit. Elliotte Friedman, Kypreos' Hockey Night in Canada colleague, added that it's possible opts to re-sign Plekanec rather than trading him. 

Plekanec is not the only center from the Atlantic Division that the Penguins and Sharks may pursue: Friedman said he "wouldn't be surprised" if either team was interested in Ottawa Senators center Derrick Brassard.

Brassard, 30, is signed through 2019 at a $5,000,000 salary cap hit. He's scored 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 51 games this season, and the Senators have attempted 49.76 percent of the shots with him on the ice in five-on-five situations, per Natural Stat Trick. With Brassard off of the ice, they only attempted 45.32 percent of the five-on-five shots. 

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal


Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double


Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.